A 350-acre nature preserve with over 10 miles of walking trails, Moss Rock is located in – and belongs to the residents of – the city of Hoover. It’s famous among rock climbers for its boulder field, but it’s also one of the few public places in the Southeast to see an unusual ecosystem called a sandstone glade and the rare plants that go with it.
Moss Rock sits in the middle of one of the fastest-growing metro areas in Alabama, but it provides a haven where the busy city seems a world away.
617 Preserve Way
Hoover, AL 35226
• What To Do •
Moss Rock is named for its massive sandstone boulders, and the alleys and corridors in the boulder field just beg to be explored. Two national climbing legends, John Gill and John Sherman, were reportedly among the first people to recognize the beauty of the preserve and urge its protection. Even if you don’t climb, it’s fun to watch the experts tackle the giant boulders or wander through yourself; kids especially love the maze of rocks.
There is also ample wildlife to appreciate, including four rare species of plants and the unusual sandstone glades, where tiny trees grow like natural bonsai among rock outcrops. Be sure to check out the moss and lichens that grow on the rocks – they’re a fragile miniature world of their own.
There are over 10 miles of looped trails through the preserve’s forest and along streams and small waterfalls.
• Seasonal Highlights •
In fall, wildflowers bloom in the boulder fields, including the rare Nuttal’s rayless goldenrod (Bigelowia nuttallii) and the smallhead blazing star (Liatris microcephala). In spring, different flowers appear before the trees overhead grow their summer leaves.
The Moss Rock Festival is held the first weekend in November and includes displays on eco-friendly living. Fall color from oaks, hickories and maples should be at its peak.
The city of Hoover holds two or three cleanup days a year in conjunction with rock climbing contests.