Alabama is home to a plethora of mountains, waterfalls, streams, and unique natural habitats. Its unique natural scenery makes it the perfect state for hiking, especially during the winter and spring months. Hikers with varying fitness levels can appreciate a day out on the trails in Alabama.

In this post, we’ll cover the best trails for hiking in Alabama, including paths in the north, central, and southern sections of the state. Each of these trails leads to somewhere remarkable and beautiful. By the end of this post, you will know where to find the most rewarding hikes within the state.

Keep reading to learn all about the best trails for hiking in Alabama!

Hiking in AlabamaHiking in Alabama

Best Northern Alabama Trails

The northern area of the state is home to some of the overall best hiking in Alabama. Let’s take a look at the hiking trails to explore in Northern Alabama.

1. DeSoto State Park’s Waterfall Loop

Located in northeastern Alabama, DeSoto State Park’s scenic waterfall loop is full of mesmerizing beauty. Included in this loop are Lodge Falls, Laurel Falls, Lost Falls, and Indian Falls. DeSoto State Park is best known for its 35 miles of hiking trails that interconnect with each other.

Lodge Falls is easy to find behind DeSoto’s Lodge. The best view of Lodge Falls is found by hiking into a small ravine and following the yellow trail for a short distance and coming back to the lodge.

Indian Falls drops an impressive 20 feet into a small ravine, and it can be found across the road from the Talmadge Butler Trailhead. It’s only one tenth of a mile from the trailhead and easy to reach by a small footpath.

Laurel Falls is a small, beautiful waterfall on Laurel Creek that can be found off Laurel Hills Traill. The six-foot waterfall lies around ¾ of a mile from DeSoto’s Country Store.

Around the loop from Laurel Falls lies Lost Falls. Lost Falls is one of the hardest waterfalls to find in the park. When no water is flowing, this waterfall is impossible to find.

The best time to see the most water flowing from these falls while hiking in Alabama is in spring, late fall, and winter. Most of the falls and streams at DeSoto State Park are dry in the summer months, depending on recent rainfall.

2. Point Rock Trail at Buck’s Pocket State Park

Another remarkable hiking trail in Alabama’s northeastern sector is the Point Rock Trail at Buck’s Pocket State Park. This Alabama hiking trail is 1.1 miles and starts across from the Little Sauty Bridge outside the campground.

Canyon in AlabamaCanyon in Alabama

It finishes with stunning canyon views of the state park below the Point Rock Boardwalk and the Jim Lynn Overlook. This trail is short, though its incline makes this rewarding hike a challenging one.

3. Oak Mountain State Park Hike to King’s Chair Loop

Located in North Central Alabama, Oak Mountain State Park is filled with hiking trails. One path, though, is more remarkable than the rest because it leads to one of the best views you’ll find hiking in Alabama. This view is called the King’s Chair Overlook.

The trailhead is easy to find across the road from the Oak Mountain State Park parking lot. Once at the trailhead, follow the blue trail. The trail is slightly over two miles and is at an incline.

As you follow the blue markings on the trail, you will arrive at Eagle’s Nest Overlook. Keep hiking until you run into a miraculous view. At the edge of the cliff, you will see a small rock seat called the King’s Chair, which sits over a rocky overlook.

We recommend bringing a portable hammock since there are plenty of trees around perfect for setting it up.

5. Monte Sano State Park’s South Plateau Loop Trail

Monte Sano State Park is a popular Alabama hiking trail network that offers over 60 miles of trails over more than 3,700 acres across mountains. O’Shaughnessy Point is an overlook that draws attention to this park.

O'Shannassy PointO'Shannassy Point

O’Shaughnessy Point can be found by continuing on the South Plateau Loop. On the way to O’Shaughnessy Point, you can stop at an old fire tower.

The hike to O’Shaughnessy Point is a steep incline, but fortunately, the trail offers a few escapes to flatter surfaces if the trail to the overlook becomes too difficult.

5. Walls of Jericho

The Walls of Jericho trail is located along the Alabama-Tennessee state line and is a 21,000-acre area, which is split into designated sections in each state.

Alabama’s section is 12,500 acres and part of the James D. Martin-Skyline Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which is operated by the Alabama State Lines Division and the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Famous for its diverse habitats, plants, and animals, this six-mile round-trip hike in Alabama is intense but rewarding and worth putting in the effort. Hikers will enjoy limestone and the peacefulness of Hurricane Creek.

If you’re not up for the strenuous Walls of Jericho hike, Bear Den Loop is a 4.7-mile hike that begins at the same trailhead parking lot and goes east of Highway 79 before returning to the trailhead.

6. Rainbow Loop Trail

Rainbow Loop Trail is located in Madison, Alabama, at the Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve off Hughes Road. It is the longest and most popular trail at the nature preserve, best known for its rocky terrain and gorgeous wildflowers.

Wildflowers on an Alabama TrailWildflowers on an Alabama Trail

The 1.53-mile trail is loaded with four-season beauty and is considered to be moderately difficult. While hiking in Alabama on the Rainbow Loop Trail, you will see stunning views over the city of Maddison and eventually descend 350 feet to a relaxing woodland with several caves.

Hikers can take a break on any of the four scenic benches and appreciate the natural settings around them.

7. Little River Canyon National Preserve

Hikers in Alabama will witness a wide variety of scenic landscapes while hiking around the area of Little Canyon National Preserve. Located in Fort Payne, Alabama, the national preserve possesses a large sum of trails ready to be explored.

The trails follow into the canyon, along the river, and through the WMA’s backcountry. Trails range from easy to strenuous, so this is the perfect area for hikers of all abilities to enjoy.

8. Black Creek Trail

The Black Creek Trail near Gadsden, Alabama, is a calm, scenic 1.7-mile route that can be entered behind the wedding chapel at Noccalula Falls Campground. The beginning of the trail is home to the gorgeous Noccalula Falls, a captivating waterfall.

Noccalula Falls Noccalula Falls

Terrains along the trail consist of easy, moderate, and strenuous elevation changes. All the trails connect, and you will find markers to help you along your Alabama hiking adventure.

9. Ishkooda Trail at Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park in Birmingham is a popular place for hiking in Alabama. Ishkooda Trail, in particular, is one of the most traveled at the park since it leads to Grace’s Gap Overlook, which offers gorgeous views and picture-perfect shots of downtown Birmingham.

The trail is 3.8 miles and also passes by the Rushing Rendezvous Treehouse, one of the park’s three treehouses. This trail features a swing bridge and plenty of space for hikers in Alabama to explore.

Best Central Alabama Trails

Central Alabama is home to several special must-visit trails while hiking in Alabama, so let’s take a look at the ones you won’t want to skip.

10. Bald Rock Trail at Cheaha State Park

Bald Rock Trail is a short ¼-mile path at Cheaha State Park in East-Central Alabama that leads to the Bald Rock Outlook. This spot is the highest point in the entire state, so it’s a must-stop when hiking in Alabama.

Everyone can enjoy the scenic view of the Bald Rock Outlook while hiking in Alabama via Bald Rock Trail due to the trail being wheelchair accessible.

Cheaha Falls in Cheaha State ParkCheaha Falls in Cheaha State Park

Two paths lead out to the Bald Rock Overlook: a boardwalk and a dirt trail available on both sides of the boardwalk. The boardwalk ends at a 180-degree platform (Bald Rock Overlook). The Bald Rock Outlook is perfect for hawk-watching from mid-September through mid-November.

11. For Pete’s Sake Trail

Located at Chewacla State Park, the For Pete’s Sake Trail is a three-mile trail that will give you a sense of déjà vu with its labyrinth arrangement and repetitive sections. The trail has everything from narrow bridges to steep slopes to test your hiking abilities.

You can turn your hike into an eight-mile loop by following other trail options only accessible via the For Pete’s Sake Trail: Flo-Rida, Armadillo Alley, Groundhogs Day, Old Skool, and Mama’s Milkshake.

For Pete’s Sake Trail runs along the backside of the park and is only accessible over the Hank/Graham Bridge.

12. The Tashka Trail System at Lake Lurleen State Park

The Tashka Trail System at Lake Lurleen State Park in West-Central Alabama totals 23.47 miles of trails from one main trail and includes five loops off the main trail. There are only two access points to the trails (the north and south trailheads).

Challenging Hiking Trails
Challenging Hiking Trails

Its longest trail is the Tashka Trail, a nine-mile segment that begins at Lakeside Trail and concludes at the west end of Lake Lurleen Dam. Be warned: These nine miles include no shortcuts, so you should plan accordingly for tight turns, long climbs, and big descents.

13. Pinhoti Trail

The Pinhoti Trail is special because it winds through the Talladega National Forest in central-eastern Alabama into Georgia until it eventually connects to the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain.

Its Alabama trail makes up 171 miles of various trees, lush, and lovely-scented foliage. Hikers in Alabama will enjoy rocky terrains with views of nearby peaks, along with tunnels throughout the forest.

The Pinhoti Trail is great for backpacking because there are plenty of campgrounds along the trail. One popular campground is Cheaha State Park, which is home to the Cheaha Trailhead of the Pinhoti Trail.

Best Southern Alabama Trails

While southern Alabama has fewer trails than other segments of the state, we did find a few awesome ones to check out while hiking in Alabama.

14. Big Levee Trail

The Big Levee Trail is near Dothan, Alabama, and part of the Forever Wild Trails at Beaver Creek, which is operated by Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust.

This hidden gem is a 3.1-mile intermediate loop. It’s not a heavily traveled route, so this is one of the best trails to visit if you’re looking to get away from other people. This trail also has an advanced loop for hikers in Alabama seeking an area to test their hiking abilities.

15. Magnolia Trail

Magnolia Trail is a 2.1-mile hiking trail that opened at Blue Springs State Park in 2018. The trail offers an easy to slightly moderate hike throughout southeast Alabama, featuring gorgeous views of the Choctawhatchee River.

The trailhead is positioned in the park and most of the trail travels through the nearby Forever Wild Blue Springs State Park Addition.

Wrapping up the Best Hiking in Alabama

Alabama is a stunning place to hike. We hope that through reading this post, you’ve uncovered which trails you’ll be visiting next!

If you’re planning on camping and hiking in Alabama, check out the Best Camping in Alabama.

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