The Jemison Trail in Mountain Brook mimics a true trail run (a term we generally reserve for trails that don’t include a sidewalk) in the middle of the prettiest ‘burb in the ‘Ham. While you’ll find yourself running parallel with one of the busier thoroughfares in this old-money neighborhood, the route itself follows a concrete footpath sandwiched between the road and Shades Creek. It’s an out-and-back, with one tricky creek crossing in which you use concrete pillars like stepping stones to stay high and dry. This is no sweat when the creek runs low, but after a heavy rain the pillars can be submerged, and you’ll be forced to make a U-turn after only 1.5 miles.
What Makes It Great
Two things make this trail worth visiting: First, if you prefer a more forgiving running surface you can opt for the soft dirt shoulder of the trail for most of the run, avoiding the concrete, and second, you’ll run past the historic Shades Creek Old Mill House. Built in 1926 and now a private residence, it features a working waterwheel, which turns when the creek flows high enough, and a wooden bridge, which is the only access point for the residents to get to their front door; we have no idea where they park!).