Experience Trails for Every Hiking Level in Alabama State Parks

January 05, 2022

Experience Trails for Every Hiking Level in Alabama State Parks

Alabama is full of natural beauty and incredibly diverse landscapes, from towering mountain peaks to rolling valleys and even white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.  

Whether you're an avid backpacker with miles of hiking experience under your belt or a complete beginner, Alabama State Parks have trails for you to explore the state's various features.  

Since Alabama is a tall, narrow state, we've broken it into three sections from north to south to give you a few excellent trails to check out for yourself! 

Trails in North Alabama State Parks

North Alabama consists of two primary landscapes—steep ridges belonging to the Appalachian Mountains and softer rolling plains and valleys full of longleaf pines and various hardwoods. 

The following Alabama State Parks offer excellent opportunities to experience the ecological diversity of the state's northern region. 

  • Cheaha State Park is home to Alabama's highest point and a resort-style experience to take it all in. You'll find eight different trails here ranging from 0.3 miles to 1.4 miles long. 
  • DeSoto State Park is another Alabama State Park featuring dramatic ridges, waterfalls and more along the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. You'll have access to more than 30 miles of trails to explore in this state park. 
  • Lake Guntersville State Park is nestled along the Tennessee River in northeast Alabama. This state park offers resort-style amenities, including an 18-hole championship golf course, more than 35 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails with incredible views and so much more! 
  • Monte Sano State Park is where you'll find gorgeous overlooks just outside of Huntsville. There are also 22 miles of trails for hiking and biking in this dreamy state park. 
  • Joe Wheeler State Park consists of some 69,700 acres around the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama. You're sure to discover your new favorite hiking spot among the park's more than ten trails. 

A word of caution for hikers—Alabama's black bear population has been on the rise in recent years, according to experts. Be on the lookout for these magnificent creatures and have a plan prepared for how you'll handle an encounter if one (or more!) meets you on the trail. 

Trails in Central Alabama State Parks

Central Alabama is home to gently rolling valleys thick with hardwood forests and old-growth pines. Check out the trails in these Alabama State Parks to get a glimpse of all that this region of the state has to offer. 

  • Wind Creek State Park hugs the shoreline of lovely Lake Martin. Choose from a moderate 1.8-mile trail that showcases the area's beauty idyllically in the spring or a moderate to difficult 3.8-mile loop trail that will take you past an old home site and lush stands of hardwood forests and picturesque pines. 
  • Chewacla State Park is full of recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, boating and paddling. There are ten creatively-named multi-use trails here traversing relatively flat ground to steep bluffs and more. 
  • Lake Lurleen State Park offers visitors tremendous natural beauty year-round, much of which can be viewed from the park's more than 23 miles of hiking and biking trails ranging from moderate to difficult. 
  • Oak Mountain State Park has a trail for everyone! This is Alabama's largest state park totaling 9,940 acres. Here you'll find 25 miles of hiking trails with stunning views and an abundance of wildlife. 

The cool thing about connecting with nature in these Alabama State Parks is that you're still within an easy drive to the historically rich cities of Birmingham and Montgomery. 

Trails in South Alabama State Parks

Southern Alabama consists of diverse coastal habitats and swampy lagoons home to knobby cypress forests. The trails in these Alabama State Parks will give you a taste of all that the coastal region has to offer! 

  • Meaher State Park is one of the 280 stops along the Alabama Birding Trail, offering an informative boardwalk trail where visitors can discover the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta's ecologically rich wetlands.
  • Gulf State Park features 28 miles of paved park trails perfect for hiking, biking or peaceful strolls through a wide variety of ecosystems along the coast. 
  • Frank Jackson State Park has close to three miles of beginner walking trails traversing this 2,050-acre park home to Lake Frank Jackson—a fisherman's paradise.

Nothing quite compares to the relaxation you'll find walking along a coastal boardwalk surrounded by sugar sand beaches or hiking through the colorful ecosystems of a marshy forest in southern Alabama. 

Keep Your Trail Notes Current!

Whether you're just starting on your journey into the world of hiking or simply wanting to take this hobby to the next level, an Alabama State Parks Bucket Journal is the perfect place to record your trail notes and experiences! 

Document your progress as you take on more challenging trails and steeper grades. Or maybe your hiking adventures are more about what you see and experience on the trails. You can record that in your Bucket Journal, too.  

One thing's for sure—you'll treasure these trail notes for years to come! 

Tell us in the comments what region of Alabama you love hiking in or are looking forward to the most. 






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