Get Back to Nature in the Yellowhammer State
Hit the Trails for Some Outdoor Fun in Alabama
If you are looking to head into the great outdoors, you must hit the best hiking trails in the state of Alabama. There are many paths located throughout the Yellowhammer State, and each has varying levels of difficulties for intrepid explorers. For an Alabaman adventure, put on a pair of hiking boots to traverse these fantastic treks through the wilderness.
Pinhoti National Recreation Trail – Delta
Let’s first start with the longest trail in the state of Alabama. The Pinhoti Trail measures around 339 miles and winds throughout both Alabama and Georgia. The Pinhoti Trail begins at Flagg Mountain, travels through the Talladega National Forest, and passes into Georgia’s Benton MacKaye Trail. Once you reach the MacKaye Trail, you can connect to the Appalachian Trail.
Cheaha State Park has the most significant portion of the Pinhoti Trail. From this point, you can reach the Bald Rock Trail Head and travel along the Bunker Loop in the park. If you are planning an all-day backpacking trip, you can find the Blue Mountain Shelter to make the journey a little more comfortable for you. Cheaha is a great place to kick off your hike. The area has plenty of amenities including showers, lodging, restaurants, and a camping store. You can even pick up a map of the entire Pinhoti Trail. When you want to explore the beauty of the Alabama landscape, you need to head over to the Pinhoti Trail for a little adventure.
Walls of Jericho – Jackson County
Located in the 8,943-acre Skyline Wildlife Management Area, the Walls of Jericho is one of the top spots in the state for backpackers and hikers. Along the southern boundary of Alabama and Tennessee lies the location of the Walls at the headwaters of Paint Rock River. This spot is also one of the top birding trails in Alabama. Watchers can get a glimpse of the many different species of birds, including the ruffed grouse. The Walls of Jericho area is the only place to find Alabama lampshell mussels in the state.
If you are looking to camp into the night, there are two primitive camping spots just off the Jericho Trail. One location is at the north end of the parking lot and has space for eight camping sites. The second location is near Hurricane Creek, and it also has room for eight tents. These sites are free, but they are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Two trails surround the Walls of Jericho area. The Bear Den Point Trail encircles around 4.7 miles from the parking lot to the Walls. For more experienced hikers, you might want to try your luck at the Walls of Jericho trail. The trail is 6 miles (round trip), and you have an option of taking the upper or lower trails to the natural caves. Whatever you choose, there are plenty of recreational opportunities at the Walls of Jericho area.
Moss Rock Preserve – Hoover
Located in Hoover, the Moss Rock Preserve has a variety of wildlife, waterfalls, and other natural elements. This little preserve is the home to a rare variant of the Little River Canyon sandstone glade. The sandstone is so unique that only 35 other places in the world have the stone.
One of the best features of the preserve is the Boulder Field. This little spot is a favorite location for rock climbers that want to test their skills. If you want to have your feet on the ground, there are over 12 miles of hiking trails that surround the preserve. From these trails, you can get an up-close look at the wildflowers that dot the landscape. The 3.2-mile main trail is a moderate loop trail, so most hikers will have no trouble exploring the grounds.
Dismal Canyon Trail – Franklin County
For a look at another unique landmark, you will want to check out the Dismal Canyon Trail. In 1974, this spot was designated as a National Natural Landmark. You can find the rarely seen insects called ‘dismalites’ in the area. If you see a bright blue-green light, you are looking at larval trying to attract mates and food. At Rainbow Falls, the trailhead will lead you to the canyon. Before you leave, make sure you stop at the local soda fountain and store. There is a wooden stairway that guides guests along the moss-covered sandstone walls. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, you can choose to either head left or right. This dirt path will take you along the Dismals Branch trail.
While on the trail, you can see how an earthquake caused a crack in the stone. This wooden bridge will take you across the sandstone cavern and into a green grotto with sandstone walls. When you are along the trail, pay close attention to the various guideposts. These kiosks give you some valuable information about the local sites on the trail, including the famous Champion tree. The Canadian hemlock is over 360 years old and towers 138 feet above the forest. The view from the Dismal Canyon Trail provides some of the most can’t-miss scenery in the state. This hiking trail is rated as a moderate so that you can take the whole family out for a day of adventure.
Oak Mountain State Park – Pelham
The Oak Mountain State Park has over 26 miles of trails, including the Blue, White, Yellow, Green, and Lake Trails. One of the most scenic trails is the Peavine Falls Trail or the Green Trail. This 1.7-mile loop begins near the Office and Beach area near Terrace Drive. The trail is the steepest path in the park, but it is also the one with the shortest distance. You will travel a grade from 550 feet up to 1,100 feet. While the trail does not lead to the Peavine waterfalls, it ends near the White and Blue trails which will take you by the waterfalls. This trail is a great spot to see the many native birds in the area. If you want to bring your mountain bike to the park, all the trails allow biking on the paths. It is also the perfect place to travel on foot to see some natural wonders of Alabama.