a sunset from a mountaintop in Alabama

Hikes for a Fall Weekend in Alabama

Alabama is the fourth most biologically diverse state and home to 132,000 miles of rivers and streams. Many of these natural wonders are in the University’s own backyard or just a short drive away. Take an afternoon to explore the beauty the state has to offer. Remember to bring a friend and leave nothing behind.

Be sure to check out the University Recreation Center for maps, rental equipment, activities and excursions to extend your outdoor fun.

Take a quick walk to clear your head with these Tuscaloosa trails.

  • A mere 20-minute drive away from The University of Alabama lies Lake Nicol Outer Cliff Trail. This trail is around 1 mile long and frequented by Tuscaloosa natives and students alike. The Outer Cliff Trail is open year round and situated alongside Lake Nicol, so wildlife and beautiful skies are almost sure to be seen whenever you hike.
  • Hurricane Creek Park, just 10 minutes from campus, is home to four trails ranging in length and difficulty. After you explore the trails, enjoy a dip in Hurricane Creek just below the trailhead.
With several trails and activities available, Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden is worth the trip. 

Get outside of Tuscaloosa with a trip to these phenomenal parks.  

  • Take a one-hour drive to explore some of Oak Mountain State Park’s  46 trails. These hikes range from 1 to 14 miles and feature swimming holes, options for biking or horseback riding, and so much more.
  • Explore the end of Appalachia at Noccalula Falls Park and learn about the legend of the princess the park is named after. This park features hiking trails, campgrounds, botanical gardens and animal habitats, as well as many events year round.
  • Red Mountain Park is home to roughly 16 miles of trails and a six-acre dog park. Spend the day wandering the vast landscape sprinkled with tree houses, picnic areas and numerous overlooks throughout.
Visit the otherworldly Cathedral Caverns in Woodville for a different kind of trek.

Expand your horizons with these far-out forests. 

  • Explore the two trails around Cathedral Caverns, located in Woodville, a two-hour drive away. After you hike around nearly 500 acres of land, tour the cavern and see the frozen waterfall and rock formations such as “Goliath,” one of the world’s largest stalagmites.
  • Located inside Talladega National Forest near Anniston, hike the Chinnabee Silent Trail. This trail was created by Boy Scout Troop 29 from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and features waterfalls, outcrops and marvelous views.


Breanna Erickson, UA Strategic Communications, bnerickson@crimson.ua.edu