The University of Alabama Arboretum - Trail Running

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Summary

Nearly 60 acres of protected forest lie in the heart of Tuscaloosa at The University of Alabama Arboretum, where dozens of native and non-native, but often rare, trees provide a shaded getaway year-round for local runners and hikers craving an outdoor getaway.

Written by

Stephanie Kirkland

Distance

12.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

5.6 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

30 minutes-2 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Land Website

Arboretum Trails

Review

Intro

Nearly 60 acres of protected forest lie in the heart of Tuscaloosa at The University of Alabama Arboretum, where dozens of native and non-native, but often rare, trees provide a shaded getaway year-round for local runners and hikers craving an outdoor getaway. With nearly three miles of trails that wind throughout the woods, the Arboretum is an especially popular destination for runners wanting a quick, relaxing workout free of car exhaust and road noise. The Arboretum’s trails are, for the most part, very flat, although hilly sections provide a boost for runners wanting to increase cardio. Additional mileage is gained by running alongside the dirt service road that leads from the main gate to the Arboretum’s main parking area.  Most of the trails can be accessed from the main parking area, which is located just uphill from the pavilion, main offices, and greenhouses. All trails wind throughout the woods and provide scenic views of the Arboretum’s 60 acres of forest, plants, and wildflowers. Of these, the wildflower garden is by far one of the most popular destinations, providing stunning views of an array of wildflowers in spring. Hundred-year-old trees also provide ample shade throughout the Arboretum.

What Makes It Great

The Arboretum’s grounds are breathtaking and one-of-a-kind. Maintained by the University, a broad collection of trees, plants, shrubs, and flowers, including oaks, azaleas, cherry trees, dogwoods, sycamores, maples, magnolias, and many others, abound throughout, giving runners scenic views year-round that change seasonally and with bloom times. Labels describing the collection’s various elements are also maintained by the University, so anyone eager to learn more about the types of plants found at the Arboretum is able to do so. 

Who is Going to Love It

Runners and hikers yearning for a relaxing and scenic getaway. The Arboretum’s trails are great for interval workouts, especially for runners just starting to increase elevation, but they’re also great for quick runs followed by leisurely, meandering walks through the woods. Whether you’re looking for a quick workout or to simply take advantage of nice weather, the Arboretum won’t disappoint. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The Arboretum is located at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Loop Road. To access the Arboretum from McFarland Boulevard, head east on Veterans Memorial Parkway, then follow signs for the Arboretum. Once you enter the main gate, continue to the back of the parking lot, and turn left onto the dirt road, which winds through the woods for about a mile, eventually leading to two parking areas for Arboretum visitors. At the fork, veer right to access the main parking area, which is located by the main offices and greenhouses. Additional parking is available by veering to the left of the fork. All visitors must park in designated parking areas. The Arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Admission is free, though donations are encouraged. Dogs are allowed on leashes.

Location

The University of Alabama Arboretum - Trail Running

4801 Arboretum Way
Tuscaloosa, AL, 35404
33.191524, -87.474855

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