Top things to do outdoors in Birmingham

By on July 15, 2014

Looking for something fun and adventurous to do this summer? Birmingham has a diverse offering of some of the coolest urban outdoor places to visit.

First stop is Red Mountain Park, beautifully spread out across four and a half miles between Homewood and Bessemer. No matter what you’re looking to do, this dog-friendly park has something for everyone!

Visitors are raving about one of their most popular attractions - the Red Ore Zip Tour. The zip line tour cost $50 a person but is so worth it if you’re looking to see Birmingham from a new perspective.

However, if you’re not looking for that much adventure or don’t want to spend that kind of cash, Red Mountain recently finished the first two out of ten SkyHy Treehouses. You don’t want to miss these new additions, so make sure you go visit them before everyone finds out about them.

Be sure to hike or bike to one of the 3 historic Iron Ore Mines for a glimpse into Birmingham’s mining past. Park admission is free, though donations are appreciated. For more information, visit

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, an afternoon hike at Ruffner Mountain might be the thing for you.

Ruffner Mountain is a 1,048 acre nature preserve where you can observe tons of wildlife while participating in a myriad of activities. Aside from hiking, visitors can trail-run and geocache at the third largest urban nature preserve in the country.

The trails at Ruffner are two and four-legged traffic friendly, so you and your leashed dog can enjoy the hike together. Remember to take plenty of water and probably some bug spray as well. Admission is a suggested donation of $2.

Another great park to visit in Birmingham is Railroad Park. It has a great walking path for you to get some exercise and to enjoy the architecture of the city. It is also a great place to take your blankets and go lie in the grass to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Visiting Railroad Park is free. They also host programs such as “Get Healthy on the Railroad” an exercise program sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Fitness programs range from yoga to Crunk fitness, so for more information check out their events calendar:

If you’re not ready to head home after a fun day out at Railroad Park, be sure to swing by the new Regions Field located right across the street to watch the Birmingham Barons play. Whether you are into baseball or not, the atmosphere at the Baron’s games is something you don’t want to miss out on.

They have several concession stands with hot dogs and other notoriously delicious baseball food. You can also always count on the Barons and Regions Field to have great promotional deals such as Thirsty Thursday.

For those looking to get out and splash around in the water for the day, visiting the Cahaba River is a great way to get some fresh air. You can rent a tube and float down the Cahaba through one of the public access points, or you can just stop and do some fishing. Either way, the Cahaba River is filled with beauty and outdoor adventure, but of course don’t forget your water and sunscreen!

Lastly, all Birmingham residents need to stop by to visit Vulcan at least once. Whether you go during the day or at night, you can’t go wrong seeing the Magic City from the Iron Man’s view.

It’s $6 for day-time admission into the park, but I promise you won’t regret climbing to the top of Birmingham’s very own Iron Man. Admission also includes entrance to the Vulcan museum. For an evening view of the twinkling city lights, admission is discounted at $4.

For a free option, the paved Vulcan Trail is located a few steps down from the base of Vulcan. The trail features breathtaking views of UAB and downtown Birmingham. The tree-covered trail is only a mile long and is perfect for a leisurely stroll above the Magic City.


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About Samuel Wainwright

Samuel Wainwright is the Features Editor at the Kaleidoscope. He is a double major in English and History with a double minor in Psychology and High School Education and a Pre-Law indicator.
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