It’s a lovely time of year for taking in the great outdoors, and we live in one of the finest states to do so. Aptly named “Alabama The Beautiful”, the land we live on contains scenic beaches, rolling hills, magnificent waterfalls, and streaming riverways that double as homes for some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. Birminghamians don’t have to go far to take in any of these wonders. My backyard in Roebuck is a testimony to the many beautiful birds that pass through on any given day, and East Lake Park a short drive away has some of the finest lake reflections found this side of the Mississippi. Fortunately, there are many nearby hikes to take in miles of these beautiful sights and sounds. Here are a few we’d recommend.

Ruffner Mountain

Ruffner Mountain has long provided some of the finest views near the Magic City. Image from Ruffner

Nestled in the hills of East Birmingham is Ruffner Mountain, a gem of a park that provides multiple hiking choices and the perfect view of the Magic City. Their wonderful pavilion (complete with a beautiful mural), educational signs, and other fun features make it a great day out for the whole family. If you happen to take a saunter down Lizard Loop, an interesting tidbit to know would be that clearing out the trail was part of this writer’s Eagle Scout project (I wanted to name it Timmy’s Trail but I’ll admit the current name makes more sense). Over a decade after that project, the park has grown to be one of the finest you’ll find in the country with some great staff as well.

Oak Mountain State Park 

There are many great trails to be found at Oak Mountain State Park. Image from OMSP.

Oak Mountain State Park has it all. A beach, golf course, great fishing, and the option to paddle boat. Even with all these fun adventures, the hiking trails are still a standout feature of this nature-filled treasure. The right walk could take you to Peavine Falls, King’s Chair, or other famous Alabama sites. Many of the trails intersect, so there’s always new adventures to find and new paths to take at the great State Park. While our childhood selves miss the old dip coming in from the 119 entrance, improvements like restoring the old cabins in Camp Tranquility make for great hiking adventures to witness.

Red Mountain Park

If you need a break from hiking excitement, Red Mountain has the perfect park to relax with your best friend. Image from Red Mountain Park.

Red Mountain Park is another Birmingham area masterpiece that contains multiple incentives to visit. This includes the state’s largest dog park and aerial adventure courses, but once again it’s the trails that emphasize the magnificent beauty that is Alabama. The Butler Snow Sensory Trail is an exceptionally cool concept that caters to those with developmental differences such as low vision and hearing. No matter which path you choose, you're sure to have a wonderful walk.

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve 

A short walk leads to a lot of adventure at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. Image from Gerry Daniel Photography

Just outside of Birmingham in Pinson is this wonderful testimony to the great outdoors. The Turkey Creek Nature Preserve contains many wonderful opportunities for hiking and taking in the beauty of our state. Today is also the preserve’s Spring Native Plant Sale, which takes place until 3pm. If you’re looking for a reason to visit, this is it! You might just find your next favorite hiking spot.

Alabama has thousands of scenic options to enjoy our unique collections of plants, animals, bugs, and humans. Whether you want a hike to a famous waterfall or a stroll on the path less traveled, we have it all. What matters most is that you’re enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, and a day in the great outdoors.

Image from unsplsash