With almost 10,000 acres of hills and valleys, Oak Mountain is Alabama’s largest state park and gives the public the chance to be immersed in wilderness just a short distance from the city center. The park’s miles of trails, which wind across Double Oak Mountain and its foothills, provide one of the best spots to experience the forests of the Ridge and Valley ecoregion.
There’s abundant wildlife, several ecosystems to explore – including a rare kind of forest found few other places – and a chance for hands-on learning at the park’s interpretive center. There’s also horseback riding at the park’s stables, canoeing and swimming at the lake, camping, road and mountain biking, golfing, fishing and even a demonstration farm.
200 Terrace Drive
Pelham, AL 35124
• What To Do •
Visit the Oak Mountain Interpretive Center to learn about the natural history of the park, region and state. Then stop into the Alabama Wildlife Center, where injured native birds are rehabilitated for release into the forest, for a self-guided tour; the boardwalk Treetop Nature Trail displays caged hawks, vultures and owls that can’t be returned to the wild. Rent a canoe or paddle boat and get out on the park’s lake.
There are more than 50 miles of trails to explore, from the easy Wildlife Center Trail, just a third of a mile, to the rugged 17-mile Red Trail, which is also open for mountain bikers. Favorite destinations include Maggie’s Glen, a quiet oasis along a stream bank; Shackleford Point, the highest point in the park at 1,260 feet; and Peavine Falls, a 65-foot cascade.
• Seasonal Highlights •
Any time is a good time to visit Oak Mountain State Park. In the fall, the trees in the park’s oak-hickory forest dye Double Oak Mountain with rich autumn colors.
In spring, delicate wildflowers spring up along the trails. In the summer, the shady paths and burbling creeks offer a break from the sweltering city; the lake beach is also a popular swimming spot. In June, the park is host to the Bump ‘n Grind, one of the Southeast’s largest mountain bike races; there are other trail races for runners and bikers as well.