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In the first decade of the 21st century, Birmingham is building again on its natural resources, but this time it’s not to fire steel-making smokestacks. Instead, where railroads ran and mines once burrowed into mountains, the healed landscape is being repurposed for hiking and biking. New and expanding venues around the city are providing more opportunities not only to get outside and exercise but also to appreciate the labor and industry that built the city.
In Five-Star Trails: Birmingham local author Thomas Spencer leads readers to some of the best hikes around the city. Within a short drive from Birmingham, you can find yourself on an Appalachian mountain peak or on the banks of the Cahaba River as it broadens to snake through the Coastal Plain. You can visit old growth forest in the Sipsey Wilderness or hike down into the Grand Canyon of the East” at Little River Canyon. And that's only the start. Across this landscape, you’ll find a level of diversity of plant and animal species, some rare and endangered, that rivals anywhere in the North America.
Born in Birmingham, Thomas Spencer grew up hiking and camping in his native state, and for the past 20 years he has crisscrossed Alabama as a reporter for the Anniston Star and The Birmingham News, specializing in coverage of the outdoors and the environment. Spencer is now the senior research associate at the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama based at Samford University. An Eagle Scout, Spencer was a founder of the Friends of Red Mountain Park and serves on the board of the Cahaba River Society. He lives in Birmingham, AL.
Table of Contents
Red Mountain Park Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve Moss Rock Preserve Oak Mountain State Park Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Aldridge Garden Oak Hill Cemetery Tannehill Shades Creek Greenway/Homewood Forest Preserve Downtown history hikes exploring early Birmingham and the historic marches of the Civil Rights Movement. Walks through revitalized neighborhoods from Railroad Park to Avondale The Irondale Furance and Jemison Trail Highland Avenue and city views Vulcan Trail/UAB/Five Points The Sipsey Wilderness Cheaha State Park and Wilderness Little River Canyon Flagg Mountain Hurricane Creek in Cullman Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge Cahaba River: Perry Lakes Park/Barton Beach Ebaneezer Swamp: Montevallo Pallisades Park: Blount County