Red Mountain is the division point between two of Alabama’s major watersheds. Within the park, its northwest slopes feed Nabors Branch and other small creeks that form the headwaters of nearby Valley Creek. Valley Creek flows southwest, paralleling Red Mountain, until it reaches Bessemer. From there, it veers northwestward until it joins the Black Warrior River at the western border of Jefferson County.
The southeast slopes of Red Mountain within the park feed water into Little Shades Creek, which runs southwestward and parallels Red Mountain until it joins Shades Creek. Shades Creek is one of the major headwater tributaries to the Cahaba River, joining it where the Cahaba crosses from Shelby County into Bibb County.
Both the Black Warrior and the Cahaba rivers are two of the state’s most important watersheds. Not only do they supply the drinking water for the Birmingham metropolitan area, but they support many unique and rare aquatic species found nowhere else in the world. The watersheds for both rivers are entirely contained within Alabama. They are part of the Mobile River Basin, one of the most biologically rich river basins in the world.