Ruffner Mountain Nature Center is a 1,000-acre nature preserve, is just five miles from the city center. In this urban forest, 10 miles of hiking trails traverse the ridgetop and valleys; one trail ends at a spectacular overlook with a view of the city. The forest provides a home for native plants and animals; a small nature center houses educational exhibits and a gift shop. A covered picnic pavilion is available. (205-833-8264).
At Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama’s largest state park, visitors enjoy all the outdoor pleasures of a great public facility, including some of the finest mountain biking trails in the country. The park offers vacation cottages, golf, improved camping, picnicking, tennis, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, backpacking, a demonstration farm and horseback riding facilities. Call the park at 205-620-2520. The park is also home to the Alabama Wildlife Center. Contact AWC at 205-663-7930.
Hoover’s Moss Rock Preserve is a perfect balance of nature and community. This beautiful 250 acre nature preserve is abundant with trees and plants, rock outcroppings, streams, waterfalls, wildlife and other unique natural features. Currently Moss Rock Preserve is home to four rare species of plants and a rare variant of Little River Canyon Sandstone Glade – one of only 35 occurrences known around the world! Call 205-739-7141 for more information.
Red Mountain Park consists of 1,200 acres, stretching four-and-a-half miles between the cities of Homewood and Bessemer, along the ridges and hollows of the mountain from which it takes its name. Red Mountain was the primary source of the rich iron ore deposits that-along with vast coal fields and abundant supplies of limestone-prompted the founding of Birmingham in 1871 as the first industrial city of the “New South”. Today, more than a generation removed from the closing of the last ore mine on its slope, Red Mountain is the site of one of the most ambitious, exciting and historically significant new park projects in America. Currently, the park contains seven visitor destinations within a 10-mile trail system open for hiking, walking and biking: the Red Ore Zip Tour Zip Line Tour, three Historic Iron Ore mines, two Overlooks, and the SkyHy Treehouse.
Alabama’s Sipsey Wilderness Area, at 25,000 acres, is the third largest national wilderness area east of the Mississippi. Located in the Bankhead National Forest, Sipsey offers visitors a primitive recreation experience about 90 miles northwest of Birmingham and within a day’s drive of a great portion of the Southeast. Hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and horseback riding are allowed amid numerous streams, lush canyons and bluffs from 50 to 200 feet high. There are trails created by Native Americans who once lived here and an incredible number of waterfalls.
Trek across Birmingham at six different locations. Visit TrekBirmingham.com for maps and more!
Air Alabama (205-567-9800) offers hot air balloon flights, aerial advertising and hot air balloons for special events in the greater Birmingham area.