There are so many amazing parks in Birmingham to explore. In fact, Birmingham is one of the “greenest” cities in America in terms of public park space per resident. Below are our favorite spots for the best hiking in Birmingham (or, at least, within fifteen minutes of downtown). So what are you waiting for? Get out of your apartment and get hiking!

Text by Amy Haupt

Woman smiles mid-air on zipline.

Red Mountain Park

Where: Near Homewood just down Lakeshore Dr.

What: 15 miles of trails, a dog park, zip lining, bike trails and more.

The up-and-coming park is free to visit. It hosts a wide variety of adventure activities as well as 15 miles of hiking trails along the Red Mountain Ridge. The Park features several old mining sites and Birmingham’s famous red clay.

Oak Mountain State Park

Where: Pelham just off of 65 South

What: 50 miles of hiking trails, campsites and cabins, canoeing, kayaking, artificial beaches along the lakes, bike trails and more.

Oak Mountain is Alabama’s largest state park, covering 9,940 acres. There is a cash-only charge per person to enter but it is well worth a few bucks. The park is beautiful with gorgeous trails through the trees. Pro Tip: Rent a canoe or paddleboat at the Terrace Drive Marina.

Two people rowing in canoes.

Ruffner Mountain

Where: Birmingham near the Airport

What: Nature Center, 14 miles of hiking trails on 1,038 acres of land, old mining sites.

Ruffner Mountain and Nature Center located right in Birmingham is one of the largest private urban nature reserves in the United States. The trails and nature center are free for everyone dawn to dusk. There are several great overlooks to Birmingham’s skyline as well as an old rock quarry that has trails leading down into it.

Man ties rope, preparing to rock climb.

Moss Rock Preserve

Where: Hoover, AL

What: 12 miles of hiking trails, nature preserve abundant with forest systems, rock outcroppings, streams, waterfalls, wildlife, and other unique natural features.

Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover has a little bit of everything — great trails, waterfalls, and some plant species unique only to the preserve. Moss Rock has a Boulder Field that is especially popular with rock climbers of all levels of experience.