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Local Hiking and Camping in Alabama

 

Alabama is built for Adventure. With endless river ways, 22 million acres of forests, and topographic shifts from Gulf beaches to Appalachian cliffs, it is the 3rd most biodiverse state in the U.S. With choices like hiking, boating, rock climbing, biking, fishing and bird watching, it's hard to know where to start.


Here are some of the natural places you won't want to miss:                       

 

  • The Bankhead National Forest is located in northwest Alabama. The 180,000 acres of the Bankhead offer scenic beauty, tall trees, flowing streams, picturesque rock bluffs, and abundant wildlife. The Sipsey Wilderness is located in Bankhead.Bankhead National Forest (photo courtesy of NPS)

  • Bartram Canoe Trails - The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is our nation’s second largest river delta. It encompasses a 10 mile wide marsh, cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood ecosystem. The Delta has over 50 rare and endangered plant and animal species known to inhabit its wetlands and waterways. The region encompasses 250,000 acres of which 100,000 are publicly owned and managed. To view the trail system and reserve a floating camping platform click here.

  • "A botanical wonder", Bibb County Glades Preserve is home to 61 rare plant species. The Little Cahaba River, which flows through the preserve, harbors dozens of rare aquatic creatures. This breathtaking site is truly a "lost world" of species.

  • Buck's Pocket State Park is a 2,000-acre park in northeast Alabama is secluded in a natural pocket of the Appalachian Mountains chain. The park's picnic area offers a canyon rim natural vista into the pocket below. The pocket itself, on an upstream tributary of Lake Guntersville, hosts an improved campground, complete with tables, grills, shelters, laundry, comfort station, playground and hiking trails. The Park is located two miles north of Grove Oak in northeast Alabama. Park office: (256)659-2000

  • Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nation's newest national wildlife refuges, located in West Blocton. The refuge attracts many migratory birds, including Kentucky, hooded, and prairie warblers in the uplands adjacent to the Cahaba River and prothonotary and yellow-throated warblers in the hardwood forests. The largest known stand of the Imperiled Shoals Lily – known locally as the Cahaba Lily – is also here. Visit during the summer months for a spectacular display. Public use is still limited, but you can access the refuge to watch and photograph wildlife from the land as well as the river. (256)848-7085

  • Cane Creek Canyon Preserve is a 413-acre, privately-protected scenic natural area located in the Little Mountains area of Colbert County, Alabama. Deep valleys create an unusually cool, moist environment that can support plants and wildflowers you'd normally see hundreds of miles to the north. The overhangs in the sandstone cliffs shelter rare ferns and once served as rock houses for Native Americans.

    Bartram Canoe Trails
  • Cheaha State Park - The 7,245-acre Cheaha Wilderness in the Talladega National Forest offers high elevations, with numerous overlooks for panoramic views of east-central Alabama. Cheaha is the highest mountain in the state and offers some of the best biking trails, and several hiking-only trails. Centrally located in the Talladega National Forest, the park is home to the Cheaha Trailhead of the Pinhoti Trail, a 107-mile trail connecting to the Appalacian Trail, accessing trails like the Odum Scout Trail or the Chinnabee Silent Trail where there are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area. (256)362-2909

  • Cherokee Rock Village (Sandrock) Located in Cherokee County, Cherokee Village offers traditional rock climbing, bolted sport and top rope climbing, rappelling and bouldering.

  • Conecuh National Forest - At one time, the Long Leaf forest stretched across the East Coast, forming the world’s largest ecosystem. Today, it is limited to South Alabama and is preserved in the Conecuh National Forest. Amazing rare species live here: the red cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoises, and pitcher plant bogs .Join the forest service in an outdoor program on critters, trees and pitcher plant bogs.

  • DeSoto State Park near Fort Payne, Alabama has approximately 15 miles of hiking trails and several seasonal waterfalls. Wildflower Season usually ranges from March-November.

  • Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is located on Spring Creek, approximately 6 miles northeast of the University of Montevallo. Ebenezer swamp consists of sixty acres of wooded wetlands and is home to numerous species of fungi, plants, and animals. The forest is dominated for the most part by Tupelo Gum, with occasional Red Maple, Loblolly Pine, Sweet Bay, Tulip Tree, and Sycamore. The dominant animal life form is the Beaver; water impounded behind several beaver dams along Spring Creek has a pronounced effect on the ecology of the preserve. Other animal inhabitants include the American Woodcock, Turkey, Great Blue Heron, Timber Rattlesnake, Water Moccasin, Copperhead, Raccoon, Opossum, and various species of freshwater clams.

  • Fishing in Area Lakes - Sitting smack dab in the middle of the best fishing the Heart of Dixie has to offer is Birmingham, the hottest fishing destination in the South. Whether you love is hard-fighting largemouth and spotted bass, monstrous gear-destroying striped bass or just the solitude of fly-fishing for rainbow trout in gently tumbling waters, it can all be found in the Birmingham Area Lakes. fishing

    Area Lake Estimated Miles
    From Birmingham
    Phone number
    Smith Lake
    35
    (205) 734-0454
    Lake Neely Henry
    35
    (205) 549-0351
    Bankhead Reservoir
    80
    (800) 252-7275
    Lake Guntersville
    90
    (800) 252-7275
    Lake Logan Martin
    35
    (800) 252-7275
    Lay Lake
    40
    (800) 252-7275
    Lake Purdy
    15
    (205) 991-9107

     

  • Horse Pens 40 is a local treasure with an international reputation for great rock climbing. It's a beautiful area on top of Chandler mountain near Oneonta, Alabama with lots of natural and human history. (256)-538-7439

  • Joe Wheeler State Park, located on Wheeler Lake, offers many types of boating, resort lodge, restaurant, cabins, camping, fishing, golf, tennis, and swimming. Located in Northwest Alabama, two miles west of Rogersville, off U.S. Highway 72. The Park is approximately 50 miles west of Huntsville and 27 miles east of Florence. Interstate 65 and Athens are 22 miles east of the park. Park Office: (256)247-5466

  • Hurricane Creek Park / William "Buddy" Rodgers Natural Area - Hurricane Creek Park is a 67+ acre natural area, nestled in a 500 foot deep canyon in the foothills of the Appalacian Mountains now operated by The City of Cullman Parks & Recreation. Enjoy Hiking, Rock Climbing, Birding & Mountain Bike Trails. (256)734-2125.

  • Lake Guntersville State Park Located in the Tennessee Valley, overlooking the majestic 69,000-acre Guntersville Reservoir, Guntersville State Park ranges over 6,000 acres of natural woodlands. The park has an 18-hole championship golf course, a beach complex, fishing center, hiking trails, nature programs and a day-use area. Modern campground and lakeview cottages on the lake, coupled with a resort lodge on the pinnacle of Taylor Mountain, and chalets on the ridge-tops provide a selection of overnight accommodations beyond comparison. For Cabin, Chalet, and Lodge Information: 1-800-548-4553 or (256)571-5440. Campground: (256)571-5455

  • Little River Canyon National Preserve protects the natural, scenic, recreational and cultural resources of the Little River Canyon of northeast Alabama. Experience advanced-to-expert whitewater rapids, rock climbing and hiking on the Eberhart Trail in one of the deepest canyons east of the Mississippi.

  • Monte Sano State Park rises more than 1,600 feet above sea level. The mountain has attracted visitors since the mid 1820’s. There are 14 cabins, a picnic area, pavilions, a Lodge and 89 improved campsites. Huntsville, AL (256) 534-3757. Weekends and Holidays: $3 for Adults(18-61) $1 for Children and seniors. (5 years old & under free)

  • Moss Rock Preserve is a beautiful 250 acre nature preserve 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!

  • Oak Mountain State Park boasts the most diverse trail system in Alabama State Parks, at 51+ Miles, including walking/hiking, mountain bike, on-road bike, and horseback trails. You can also find golf, boating, fishing, a wildlife center, petting zoo for the kids and a lakeside beach. Off of I-65 South of Birmingham on Highway 119. (205)620-2524. Hours 7am to 9pm.

  • Palisades Park, located in Oneonta, AL, this small but beautiful park offers a great bluff for top-rope climbing and rappelling. Off of US 231. (205)274-0017

  • Phil Campbell Dismals Canyon is home to the Dismalites, glowing larva lifeforms that exist only a few places in the world, at the 85-acre Dismals Canyon. Trek past Rainbow Falls and fell the lightness of your footsteps where the trail crosses a natural cavity beneath you. A National Natural Landmark.. (205)993-4559.

  • Pine Hills Preserve is a 364-acre preserve containing one of the largest and most natural populations of the federally endangered Alabama canebrake pitcher plant, one of two unique plant species occurring in central Alabama and nowhere else in the world.

  • Pratt's Ferry - Cahaba River is located along a rocky limestone slope on the south bank of the Cahaba River in Bibb County. The area is lush in the spring and summer with a variety of wildflowers. The site also offers an ideal location to put in or take out a canoe on the Cahaba River.Pratts Ferry

  • Rickwood CavernsThe 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish and underground pool are just a few of the natural wonders exhibited in the colorful cavern. Rickwood Caverns is a recognized member of the National Caves Association, and offers more than a mile of living geology.

  • Ruffner Mountain is an urban greenscape larger than New York City's Central Park. Located in Birmingham, this 1,011 acre forested urban nature center and certified wildlife habitat offers educational programs, weekend activities, and over 11 miles of footpaths for hiking and birding. (205)833-8264.

  • Russell Cave National Monument - For more than 10,000 years, Russell Cave was home to prehistoric peoples. Russell Cave provides clues to the daily lifeways of early North American inhabitants dating from 6500 B.C. to 1650 A.D. The cave shelter archaeological site contains the most complete record of prehistoric cultures in the Southeast.

  • Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge hosts 200,000 bats, which emerge from the cave prior to dusk during the peak summer viewing season. (256)353-7243.

  • Sipsey Wilderness Area is located in the Bankhead National Forest in northwest Alabama. Visitors can either drift down the Sipsey River in canoes or hike the trails that lead deep into the wilderness. See canyon walls, waterfalls and wildflowers. (205)489-5111

  • Talladega National Forest in Alabama - Alabama's four national forests, including the Talledega, are combined to encompass over 664,000 acres. These Forests stretch across portions of the Cumberland Plateau, Appalachian Mountains, Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Talladega Ranger District: (256) 362-290 Oakmulgee Ranger District: (205) 926-9765 Shoal Creek Ranger District: (256)463-2272

  • Tannehill Historical State Park - The beautiful tree-lined valley, hillsides rich in ore and swiftly flowing Roupes Creek made this a perfect setting for a successful iron making operation, as the early settlers realized. The same ingredients afford today’s visitors a pleasurable escape from modern life. Some of the attractions include the Iron and Steel Museum (Open Daily except Holidays); Gristmill, cotton gin and more than 45 other historical buildings of the 1800s; Tannehill Furnaces, (Among the nation's best preserved Civil War landmarks). (205)477-5711

  • Turkey Creek, a tributary of Locust Fork, is located a mere 20 minutes north of Birmingham near the community of Pinson. The Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is home to three endangered species of fish: the Vermilion Darter, the Watercress Darter, and the Rush Darter. The Rush and Vermilion Darters occur only in Turkey Creek and nowhere else in the world. Turkey Creek

  • Tuskegee National Forest is located in Macon County, in southeast Alabama. The primary recreational opportunities on the Forest are primitive. There are no large, developed lakes or campgrounds.

  • Wade Mountain - Featured on this mountain is the Devil's Race Track at the end of the trail. Devil's Race Track has one of the best views north of Huntsville, with views to Tennessee on a clear day.

  • The "Walls of Jericho" are a unique formation that are part of one of The Nature Conservancy's newest acquisitions, more than 21,000 acres of rivers, forested uplands and caves spreading across the Alabama and Tennessee state line. In addition to its natural beauty, this property contains an extraordinarily diverse array of plants and animals, including several globally-imperiled species.

  • Wind Creek State Park, spans 1,445 acres along the shores of scenic Lake Martin, which is a 41,000-acre clear-water reservoir perfect for fishing, swimming and boating. Park facilities include the largest state-operated campground in the United States with 626 sites, many of which are waterfront sites allowing campers to fish, swim and boat right out their back door. Other facilities include a marina, campstore, fishing pier, hiking trails, playground and picnic areas with tables, grills and shelters. For campground or cabin reservations please call (256)329-0845 or 1-800-ALA-PARK.

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