When it comes to hiking, Birmingham has so much to offer. There are so many locations to choose from, each one as unique as a fingerprint. Located less than ten miles from downtown, Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is a local favorite. Pick a trail and take a walk for some fresh air on your lunch break or lace up your running shoes and head out for a trail run.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is both a nature preserve and Certified Wildlife Habitat. Sprawling 1,038 acres, there is plenty of room to explore and discover unique plant and animal life. They are the third largest urban nature preserve in the entire United States, and certainly one of the most beautiful. They prioritize protecting native species of plants and animals and have a passion for educating the community on nature. This natural paradise has come a long way from the former iron mining property of its past. Over 200 tons of ore was pulled from the grounds for processing at Sloss Furnaces close by. The 12 miles of trails are well-maintained and harbor treasures of old mine relics and ruins along the way. Leashed pets are welcome and would enjoy discovering all that these trails have to offer just as much as their two-legged companions.
This unique nature preserve is described as the perfect place to bring the family for a day hike and picnic, and gets thumbs up by visitors for their clean facilities. They are praised for experiences with birthday parties where animals are showcased and the partygoers are educated about the local flora and fauna.
Take the Quarry Trail to a quarry where fossils can be found in the limestone. Continue along the trail to Haw’s View Overlook where you can gaze at the Birmingham’s skyline with her buildings spearing tall and proud into the horizon. These trails have enough of a challenge to get refreshing exercise, but is easy enough for children to enjoy. It is heavily wooded with nice shade to provide shelter from the sweltering Alabama heat.
The mountainous views alone make the visit worthwhile. The landscape is peppered with boulders and rock formations and full of scurrying wildlife and natural energy. The variety of bird species is amazing, so bring binoculars and a bird watching guide if you’d like to observe the colorful feather-clad fowl as they soar from limb to limb overhead.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is rich in experience and will have the kids begging to return.