This place is an example of what makes Birmingham amazing. The reason Ruffner Mountain it is here today-- people, individuals that cared enough to save 20 acres from development back in 1977.
Today, a 1,040 acre nature preserve-- pieced together over the last 42 years-- thanks to those that cared enough to love it.
Review by Cheesburgerify11 months ago
This is definitely one of my favorite places to hike, for sure! Absolutely love hiking to watch the sunset!
Review by Omaima11 months ago
First off, I'm not particularly a huge fan of hiking. I'm one of those people who would much preferred the stair master of an air conditioned gym. A friend dragged me to go hiking after we grabbed coffee one evening because the weather was so nice and he had just enough time before the sun set. The view truly is spectacular and since my first time, I've gone back to hike this trail three more times. Definitely will make you appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.
Review by Ibeltal1 year ago
I hiked Ruffner Mountain on a weekday afternoon. There were just a handful of people and small groups on the trails which made for a nice secluded experience.
Quarry Trail, Overlook Trail, Hollow Tree Trail and Ridge & Valley Trail were the four paths that I explored. It took about three hours to hike them all.
Ridge & Valley was by far the most strenuous, due to the constant up and down nature of the paths. However, it wasn't extreme by any means and I'd probably classify it as moderate. The other trails were fairly easy to hike.
The trails were clean and easy to navigate. There was clear signage at every junction and color marks on the trees along the paths, so it's basically impossible to lose your way. You'll find benches periodically along the trails too.
The views at the two overlooks which I reached, quarry overlook and Birmingham overlook, were great. Not spectacular, but worth the hike.
It's ridiculously easy to get to the mountain from Birmingham. It's right outside the city suburbs with very convenient access. There's a decent amount of parking (all free). If you go on a weekday you'll definitely get a spot. Weekends are probably a little more iffy for finding available spots.
They allow bikes and foot traffic on the trails only. Dogs are welcome. Everybody who hikes there seems to be very friendly. It's a great place to go if you want to meet other hikers and make new friends.
They have a large picnic pavilion with about a dozen picnic tables. The restrooms are kept very clean and some of the best I've seen for a public park/area.
Overall, it's a great place to get some fresh air and exercise. Pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it!
Review by Jaxan Timan1 year ago
This is one of the BEST hiking trails I've found in Birmingham, Alabama thus far. It has different difficulties marked on the trails and colored on the map, as well. I went in the wintertime for the first time and the trails were easily seen and marked, although it will probably become more difficult as the spring brings in the growth of the bushes, trees, and other plants.
Review by Prabhath1 year ago
The Nature Center was very well kept and the trails are marked well. Very nice area to go hiking. Definitely will be visiting again this summer.
Review by Simontelle2 years ago
Great mountain for low intensity hiking! The view at the top is spectacular. I brought along some picnic food and relaxed on one of the flatter rocks on top for a good hour. There are restrooms and a nature center near the parking, which was super convenient. The trails were clean and easy to navigate, my dog loved it. I went on a Saturday morning so parking wasn't the best. Overall an awesome treasure for a weekend relaxation hike.
Review by Eilers2 years ago
Trails are well-marked and maintained, picnic area available, bathrooms near parking lot, well-paved parking, nature center, great views on multi-level (rigor) trails.
As everyone else mentioned, I'd like to revisit to see sunset and city views.
Review by MelissaSanders3 years ago
Somehow I have lived in Birmingham for 8 years and just now visited Ruffner Mountain. This park is nestled between the Irondale, Eastwood, Eastlake, Roebuck areas, so just a short drive from downtown Birmingham. I stopped by the first time for a demo of trail running shoes then again recently for a short hike with my family that was visiting. The grounds are well kept, including the pavilion/restroom area. The trails are clearly marked and provide a variety of difficulty level and lengths. There are a few lookout areas where you can enjoy nature's beauty or a view of the city.
I highly recommend checking this place out.
Review by Mariany3 years ago
This mountain is great for all skill levels and ages. You can take a cruise to see Turtle Rock. If you are feeling adventurous can explore to see the old miners trail.
Review by Kepa Tarmone4 years ago
Need an oasis from city-living? Head here. Ruffner trails are well-marked, are true trails (no two-tracks in sight), and are exceptionally well-maintained. Whether you are walking or running, you can get elevation (helllloooo cardio!), great vistas, or just your nature fix. Because of the diversity in trail length or intensity you can put together a short outing (30-45mins) or something longer (3hrs) without a lot of pre-planning. An asset to our sweet city!
Review by Wookett4 years ago
Really cool spot to check out in Birmingham. It isn't the biggest park I have been to. But it is up there in the coolness factor. There are a lot of different trails to choose from with varying difficulties. It will certainly give you a good hike if that is what you are looking for. And as it was said in other reviews, there are some incredible views here. It would be a great place to check out a sunset. But unfortunately they are close by sundown. Most of the trails are in good shape and in the shade. Definitely a gem in the Magic City.
Review by PeterQ5 years ago
Great views of Birmingham with trails that span all skill levels!
The Nature Center on 81st St has some great meeting places. For the best views, start at the ball fields entrance on Ruffner Rd. From here, you can get to Overlook Trail pretty quick (.5miles). Ridge-Valley trail is tough but takes you to Winter Overlook.
Trails will keep you in the shade and take you over plenty streams.
Review by Johnkarl5 years ago
Great getaway out in Irondale! When you see the Dead End sign, just go a little further and you'll see the entrance. It's not the size of Oak Mtn by any means, but there's still a decent view once you make it up to the ridge. We hiked the hardest trail to get a feel for difficulty, and it was tough enough for what we wanted that day lol
Def want to return and explore the other trails soon
Review by Meghdoot5 years ago
It took two-and-a-half years of living in Birmingham for my wife and I (and our son, and my mother) to visit Ruffner Mountain and hike up to the overlook - boy have we been missing out! Before hitting the main overlook we got caught up in the views down into the old quarry site, but those were nearly forgotten when we dodged the last couple spiderwebs, cleared the treeline, and stepped out into the open, rocky ledge looking over downtown Birmingham. Wow. That was a view, and definitely worth the hike.
Maps of the park are readily found at the nature center and pavilion near the main parking lot for the reserve, and the trails are clearly marked with large signposts and color-coded signs to match up with the trail colors on the maps.
The hike up to the main overlook is around a mile and a half of moderate trails. We took the Quarry Trail and connected to the Overlook Trail on the way out, and then mixed things up with the Silent Journey Trail and Hollow Tree Trail on the way back to the car. The trail crisscross at several places for easy mixing-and-matching of your routes, and some of the options look pretty challenging.
If you don't live in the East Lake area, I found that the easiest ways to get to the park are via Oporto-Madrid Blvd from I-59 to the north or I-20 to the south. As you follow the last road up to the park, you'll see a "Dead End" sign, but keep cruising along and you'll suddenly transition from neighborhood to nature reserve.
Review by Annalie6 years ago
Over 1,200 acres of preserved green space within city limits!!! Fantastic trails with panoramic views of Jones Valley and Birmingham City skyline, not to mention historic mining sites scattered throughout...
Be sure to stop by the Treetop Nature Center. A great place for kiddos to see wildlife and learn more about the great outdoors.
Also tune in to their ongoing events calendar - all kinds of great happenings that guarantee fun for all ages! www.ruffnermountain.org
Review by Drippy6 years ago
Great spot hidden away in the city...Per city officials, this park is bigger than Central Park in NYC, making it one of the largest urban parks in the country (true?).
The nature center is well run and has lots of great things for the whole family to do, mainly guided tours and exhibits of different native species found in the park.
The nature center hours are a little unusual, so double check before you come. Though I believe their trails are open during daylight hours.
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