9 of the best running spots in Birmingham

Jemison Park
Is there a place more peaceful than Jemison Park? (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

I’m an avid runner, but I understand—it can be so hard to motivate yourself to get outside and move, especially in this Alabama heat. My fingers may be crossed that Alabama will somehow cool down to fall temperatures in September. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my runs by taking in the beautiful views of Birmingham. Here are nine of my favorite spots to sweat it out—from sidewalks to dirt trails.

1. Jemison Park

Jemison Park
Serene. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Nestled in Mountain Brook, this wooded trail may be my favorite place to run in town. I love having the option of running on both dirt trails and sidewalks. Since the trail is surrounded by trees, Jemison Park is a perfect spot to run in the shade.

2. Shades Valley Greenway

Shades Creek Greenway
We’ll catch you on Lakeshore. (Bham Now)

Along Lakeshore Drive, this greenway isn’t only perfect for runners, but also bikers due to its paved trail. You can also look forward to taking longer runs on this trail due to its upcoming 1.5 miles extension. It’s a convenient location for Homewood locals and a quick hop-off Highway 31.

3. Moss Rock Preserve

Moss Rock
The perfect nature escape. (Matthew Niblett / Bham Now)

If you’re looking to feel like you’re in the great outdoors without driving far, Moss Rock Preserve near Bluff Park is one of the best places to take a run. I love being able to run on dirt trails and take in the beautiful scenery. Even better, you can carb load after at Vecchia Pizzeria Mercato.

4. Edgewood neighborhood

Some of the cutest shops, restaurants and homes are in Edgewood. (Matthew Niblett)

Is there anything better than running through the quaint neighborhood of Edgewood? With wide sidewalks, it’s easy to forget you’re running while admiring the beautiful homes in this residential area. Plus, I’m always more motivated to run when tacos and queso from Taco Mama are promised after.

5. Railroad Park

Railroad Park
A running spot for downtown runners. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Downtown dwellers, stretch out your legs at Railroad Park. Known as “Birmingham’s Living Room,” you can admire the over 600 trees and abundance of flowers while you run the 0.75-mile jogging trail.

6. Vulcan Park

Vulcan Park
The most breathtaking views of Bham. (Bham Now)

If you’re looking for an iconic Birmingham spot, then Vulcan Park is the place for you. You can stop to see the Vulcan himself. If you’re more like me and heights really aren’t your thing (my legs do in fact shake while going up the Vulcan), then you can admire some of the most scenic views of downtown Birmingham while running the trails here.

7. Oak Mountain State Park

Oak Mountain State Park
It’s time to explore the outdoors. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Are you looking for a challenge? Oak Mountain State Park, a 940-acre park, has dirt trails that are no easy feat. The fresh air and beautiful scenery make it worth running up these hills.

Plus, there are so many other outdoor activities you can do with friends at Oak Mountain State Park if running isn’t really your thing, such as:

  • Archery
  • BMX
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
  • Horseback riding
  • Swimming

8. Hugh Kaul Trail

Run in Avondale on the Hugh Kaul Trail. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Part of Freshwater Land Trust’s red Rock Trail System, this newest urban trail brings you some of my downtown favorites, including:

Catch me running to Red Cat Coffeehouse in Pepper Place for a caffeine fix.

9. Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park
Dirt trails = the best. (Matthew Niblett / Bham Now)

The 16 miles of multi-use trails at Red Mountain Park are perfect for you to sweat it out. Once a place of active ore mines, you can discover the history of our city’s industrial origins while spending time outside at this park.

Did we miss your favorite place to run in Birmingham? Tag us @BhamNow on social to let us know!

Selah Vetter
Selah Vetter
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