Your ultimate guide to 17 Birmingham walking and hiking spots


birmingham walking and hiking trails
Get outside + explore! (Elise Zimmerman)

Birmingham walking and hiking spots are our favorite way to maintain physical and mental health. Read on for some of our top recommendations for getting that blood pumping, brought to you by our friends that know a thing or two about staying healthy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

17 Birmingham walking and hiking spots you need to visit

1. Oak Mountain State Park

oak mountain
Red-headed Woodpeckers love Oak Mountain, too! (Bham Now)

Oak Mountain State Park is home to multiple trails featuring beautiful sights like waterfalls, wildlife, creeks and picture-perfect views. King’s Chair is especially popular for those seeking gorgeous views of Birmingham.

We also recommend you check out Peavine Falls Trail on Oak Mountain State Park’s Green Trail. It’s another great hiking destination within the park that can be reached via the dedicated parking lot. Most notably, it’s home to a 65-foot tall waterfall (shown below).

2. Moss Rock Preserve

Moss Rock
Don’t go chasing waterfalls…or do. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Want to chase waterfalls? Head to Moss Rock Preserve, where you’ll find a series of small waterfalls and over 12 miles of hiking trails.

Love to climb? You’ll want to check out Boulder Field while you’re on your hike, it’s ideal for climbers of all levels!

3. Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park
On the main trailhead at Red Mountain Park. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Like a little history with your exercise? Then Red Mountain Park is for you. It’s one of the nation’s largest industrial archaeological sites, and in 2021 they opened a 147-year-old mine.

Not a history buff? Never fear. You’ll enjoy Red Mountain Park’s lush greenery, with 15 miles of area to hike and wildflowers in the springtime.

4. Rotary Trail

There’s always lots of activity on the Rotary Trail. (Matthew Niblet / Bham Now)

For all you city slickers out there, don’t miss the Rotary Trail. It’s a unique spot that winds through downtown Birmingham and offers an interesting view of the city.

So, grab a coffee (or two) from one of the city’s many cafes, and hit the trail!

5. Ruffner Mountain

Birmingham Mountain High Hikers at Ruffner Mountain. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Ruffner Mountain is a wonderland of native plants, wetlands, a quarry and variety of terrains to entertain even the most avid hiker. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for indigenous animals like raccoons, foxes, birds, bats and salamanders, too.

6. Desoto State Park

Labor Day Weekend excursions
Amazing views. (Miranda Shaffer / Bham Now)

Up for a road trip? Head to Desoto State Park, roughly two hours from downtown Birmingham and home to one of the tallest waterfalls in Alabama.

With multiple trails and plenty of room to explore, it’s perfect for hiking, mountain biking and admiring wildflowers.

7. Aldridge Gardens

United Ability
Aldridge Gardens—a fun walk for the whole family. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Aldridge Gardens is a 30-acre property with some of the most gorgeous plant life that Birmingham has to offer. It was the former property of famed horticulturalist Eddie Aldridge and his wife, Kay, after all.

We love the walking trail for family strolls, couples walks or even a solo venture.

8. Birmingham Botanical Gardens

birmingham botanical gardens
For the flower lovers. (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

Speaking of gardens, there’s nothing more romantic than a stroll through Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Catch seasonal blooms, bird watch and walk around special features of the gardens, including the Japanese Gardens and Conservatory.

Looking for more outdoor fun? The Birmingham Botanical Gardens also hosts events, classes and volunteer opportunities.

9. Railroad Park

Just look at that skyline. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Railroad Park is a personal favorite for a few reasons. The gorgeous city views, urban trail and, of course, close proximity to local hot spots Hero Doughnuts and Red Cat Coffee House.

On any given day, you’ll find the park bustling with children playing, runners, skateboarders, walkers and plenty of dogs. It’s also home to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s annual FREE outdoor workout classes in the summertime.

10. Avondale Park

Miss Fancy is back on her pedestal in Avondale Park! Hurray! Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.
The former Miss Fancy on her pedestal at Avondale Park. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Avondale Park has made headlines over the past few years, thanks to the ongoing saga of Miss Fancy. Spoiler alert: a new, larger Miss Fancy is on her way to Avondale Park soon.

Aside from its iconic elephant statue, the park is also popular for its walking trails and had a major renovation in 2011.

11. Highland Parks (Caldwell, Rhodes and Rushton)

caldwell park
Caldwell Park is gorgeously green! (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Three great parks, plus some of the tastiest restaurants and wine bars in Birmingham? Highland Park is doing it right.

Head on over for plenty of space for outdoor walking and taking in the sunshine.

12. Hugh Kaul Ecoscape 

birmingham walking
Birmingham-Southern College Campus. Photos by Jacob Blankenship via Bham Now

Make the trip to Birmingham-Southern’s campus to explore their Hugh Kaul Ecoscape, established in 1996. You’ll have the chance to admire giant sculptures and wildflowers, and even sample edible plants.

Not familiar with this unique, outdoor teaching tool? Learn more about ecoscapes.

13. Jemison Park Greenway

Jemison Park 33 Your ultimate guide to 17 Birmingham walking and hiking spots
Taking it all in. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Jemison Park Greenway, located in Mountain Brook, offers everything from a walking and jogging trail to picnic tables, dog stations and fishing, swimming and rafting.

You’ll also be able to observe nature at its finest, including birds and native plants.

14. Vulcan Park & Trail

vulcan trail
Some of the best views in the city are found on the Vulcan trail. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

It wouldn’t be a true Birmingham walking and hiking spots round-up without featuring Vulcan himself. At Vulcan Park, you’ll find sweeping views of the city, in addition to interesting Birmingham history at the Vulcan Museum.

Continue through the park and you’ll find Vulcan trail, a 1.7-mile trail that’s dog-friendly and perfect for all levels.

15. Altamont Park Trail

birmingham walking
Another great Birmingham skyline shot, seen from Altamont Park. (Birmingham Sunrise Rotary Club)

A favorite among the Bham Now team, this trail is a great spot for walking in nature with views of the city along the horizon. Keep your eyes peeled for local birds!

16. Homewood Forest Preserve

Birmingham Alabama
Homewood Forest Preserve is fun for all. (Freshwater Land Trust)

Located between Old Montgomery Highway and Homewood High School, you’ll find the Homewood Forest Preserve.

It’s the perfect hike for nature lovers, as it’s home to a number of plant species, including northern red oak, white oak, beech, shag bark hickory, green ash, dogwood, hop horn beam, loblolly pine, sugar maple, black cherry and long leaf.

17. Lakeshore Trail (Homewood Shades Creek Greenway)

Just across the street from Samford University, you’ll find Lakeshore Trail. Popular among college students and beyond, the trail runs 5.1 miles and is dog friendly (must be on a leash).

The paved path is open to cyclists, runners and walkers, and is sure to be PACKED on a sunny weekend.

Wheelchair accessible

Looking for wheelchair accessible trails in Birmingham? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best.

For more tips on staying healthy and active, visit Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s website.

Contributors: Miranda Shaffer, Carla Jean Whitley and Irene Richardson

Sponsored by:

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