Lake Lurleen State Park - Hiking

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About

Summary

Premier location for hiking and more in the greater Tuscaloosa area.

Written by

Michael Lambert

Distance

23.4 miles

This is the total distance of available trail, which circumnavigates the lake.

Destination Distance From Downtown

8.7 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Long distance routes readily available. However, this location is also approachable for 23hikers of all skill levels.

Time To Complete

12 hours

Shorter routes are available in the out-and-back fashion, but in order to hike around the entire lake, an entire, exhausting day awaits.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Fall is the ideal season for hiking these trails - the trees are lively, the bugs slightly stymied, and the colors otherworldly.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Dogs may only be off-leash while in the water, which is acceptable. The on-leash policy seems largely unenforced.

Fees Permits

Yes

Via actual visit: $4.00/day pass for adults. $1.00/day pass for children and seniors. See website (http://www.stateparks.com/lake_lurleen_state_park_in_alabama.html) for boat rentals and camping fees.

Review

Intro

There are state parks and there are state parks. Lake Lurleen State Park happens to be the latter, with gusto. This venue offers a multitude of possible activities sure to please even the most discriminating and persnickety visitors--canoe and paddle boat rental, fishing, camping, mountain biking, swimming, sandy beaches, and, of course, a whopping 23.5 miles of interconnected trails. Not to mention the main attraction - a 250 acre lake. The lake, according to the Alabama Park website, is "stocked with largemouth bass, bream, catfish, and crappie so anglers are sure to reel in a nice-sized catch."

What Makes It Great

Lake Lurleen State Park is named after Lurleen Wallace, the state of Alabama's first and only female governor. Having taken the reins, so to speak, after her husband George was shot and paralyzed, Lurleen, according to another state parks website, "was [a] native of Tuscaloosa County. As governor she was instrumental in funding a major renovation project of Alabama State Parks."

The park is one of many shining examples of Lurleen's dedication to bettering the overall well-being of the people who live and visit this beautiful state.

Hiking along the multitude of trails that this park offers is a unique pleasure--particularly during the fall, when the bugs are temporarily stymied, the temperatures reach Goldie-Locks status, and the trees take on the vast and seemingly endless hues of the season. The foliage is doubled on the glass surface of the lake and, at sunset, the views are the thing of attempted capture by the likes of painters and photographers since bipeds began appreciating take-your-breath-away scenery.

The trails, themselves, are seeming endless. Hiking the entirety of the trail system in a single day would take even the most trail-hardened to task despite the seldom sole-numbing climbs or technical, rocky soil composition. If you plan to attempt such a feat, take my advice: eat a big breakfast.

These trails are, however, very welcoming to hikers of all skill levels and ages. Kids and seniors are eligible for a discounted day-rate and would not be ill-fitting within the trail system of this beautiful, set-aside and preserved, landscape.

Who is Going to Love It

Everyone who loves the outdoors will find an activity of interest within this park. Bring a tent, bring a fishing pole, bring your friends for an adventure in the purest sense of the word. Hammocks are particularly handy for those who would rather spend the day lounging about with a good book and enjoying the serene pastorals than roughing the trails. The trees here are capable of supporting such habits.


Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Directions (via the state parks website):

From I-20/59, take Exit 71B (I-359 Exchange)

Continue on I-359 for approximately 5 miles to the intersection of US Highway 82

Turn left (West) on US Highway 82

Continue on US Highway 82 West for approximately 5 miles to Tuscaloosa County 

Road 21 (Upper Columbus Road)

Turn right on County Road 21 (Lake Lurleen State Park Sign)

Continue on County Road 21 for approximately 2.3 miles to another Lake Lurleen 

State Park Sign (Lake Lurleen Road ? No Street Sign)

Turn right at Park Sign

Travel approximately 2.2 miles to the park entrance.

All trails operate on the diurnal system: open at sunrise and close at sunset.

Horses and motor-driven vehicles are prohibited on the trails.

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Location

Lake Lurleen

33.297378, -87.676471

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