Take a Walk!
Did you know that taking a simple walk outdoors is a form of preventive medicine? Exercising in nature supports mental, emotional, and physical health benefits. Throughout Alabama, there are hundreds of miles of beautiful trails ranging from wide, urban and suburban, paved walking trails, to more challenging and remote wooded trails that are ideal for hiking. No matter your age or fitness level, there is a trail for you and your family to enjoy and explore.
In the Birmingham area, many are part of the Red Rock Trail System, which has almost 120 miles of paths and trails throughout Jefferson County. Check out this interactive map, or scroll down for a few of our favorite Birmingham-area walking and hiking spots.
If you have limited mobility or are just looking for an easy stroll, Birmingham has lots of beautiful parks with accessible parking and bathrooms, curb cuts, and a smooth and low grade:
Avondale Park offers a paved trail around the lake and two playgrounds. Afterwards, treat yourself to a healthy lunch at one of the area’s many nearby restaurants, or take the short path to the Avondale Library, which has free check-outs to all Jefferson County residents.
Railroad Park, Birmingham
Aldridge Gardens has nearly completed its multi-year plan to make the Gardens fully accessible. This beautiful little oasis in Hoover has lots of shade, an accessible lakeside dock, and amazing trademark Hydrangeas.
Botanical Gardens has nearly 70 acres, 30 thematic gardens and more than 12,000 plants. Although not all trails are fully accessible, most are, and all facilities are ADA compliant.
Railroad Park is slightly more challenging, but still offers 19 acres of green space in downtown Birmingham with an accessible bathroom and water fountains. The park has mostly paved paths, including a ¾ mile elevated trail with beautiful views of the city. From Railroad Park, take the Rotary Trail to Jones Valley Trail, which will soon connect Birmingham to Avondale.
Jemison Trail in Mountain Brook offers an easy wooded path that is delightfully shady in the summer. It’s a short distance from the Lakeshore Trail, which fully paved and mostly shady. Parking is available in many areas along the trail.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to dust off your hiking boots, check out Red Mountain Park and Ruffner Mountain, which both offer many miles of shady trails that are ideal for an easy stroll, or a full day of hiking.
If you’ve tried all of these and are still looking for something new, check out this list of less traveled trails in Jefferson County.
Of course, there are plenty of other paths and trails for those who live outside the Birmingham area, including dozens of old rail lines that have been converted into walking trails throughout the state and 21 state parks with virtually unlimited walking and hiking opportunities for all fitness levels.
Whether you’re looking to burn calories, spend time with friends or family, or just clear your head, a walk or hike offers a fun, free, and relaxing opportunity to exercise for virtually anyone, anywhere. The only rule is to enjoy yourself!
Red Mountain Park