Birmingham has a lot to offer as a city, but sometimes you just want to “get away” for a little while.
Well, we’ve got the perfect list for you!
These parks are all within a short drive and feature some incredible waterfalls too!
MOSS ROCK PRESERVE AND WATERFALL
Driving time: 18 minutes
Moss Rock Preserve is a 349 acre of forest systems, streams, waterfall, and trails located in Hoover, Alabama. It has 12 miles of different hiking trails making it perfect for a family with kids, beginners and even experienced climbers. It is also home to one of the largest boulder fields making it a favorite for rock climbers. Further, the Moss Rock waterfalls add magnificence to the park.
OAK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
DRIVING TIME: 30 MINUTES
Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham is a 9,940 acres of lush green making it the largest state park in Alabama. Accordingly, it also offers the widest variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, boating, horseback riding and a whole lot of other activities. Add to those is the hike towards the beautiful Peavine Falls.
Waterfalls in Oak Mountain State Park
Peavine Falls is a 65 foot tall waterfall right within the Oak Mountain State Park. As in most waterfalls, it is best seen after a rainfall.
NOCCALULA FALLS PARK AND CAMPGROUND
DRIVING TIME: 1 HOUR 1 MINUTE
Located in Gadsden, Noccalula Falls Park is around 94 kilometers or an hour away from Birmingham. It offers a variety of attractions like walking trails, miniature trains, petting zoo, miniature golf and camping sites. In 2017, the park was named best campsite in Alabama. But the main attraction remains to be the Noccalula Falls, a 90 foot waterfall with a trail winding through the Black Creek Gorge. The waterfall looks best during cool weather or rainy season because of the volume of water making a 90-foot drop. So plan your trip accordingly.
CAHABA RIVER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA
DRIVING TIME: 52 MINUTES
Operated by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, this natural park is home to one of the most popular waterfalls in Alabama: Falling Rock Falls. This water resource is also just an hour south of Birmingham.
Upon arriving in the park, you may park near the goat to start your hike. After walking about half a mile, take the road on the right and then make a right turn and follow that road. After a quarter of a mile in, walk through the dirt mound on the road t the left and follow the trail down the hill to reach Falling Rock Falls. You will know that you’re near the waterfall because you will hear it. You have to be careful though as you will reach the top of the falls first. There is cavern behind the waterfall that is worth exploring. So slowly head down to experience the beauty and the soothing impact of the Falling Rock Falls.
Waterfalls in Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area
Falling Rock Falls
Falling Rock Falls is a 90 foot falls that crashes in the boulders below it. It is a spectacular view but you have to exercise caution when hiking it as the trails can be pretty slippery.
BANKHEAD NATIONAL FOREST
DRIVING TIME: 57 MINUTES
One of Alabama’s national forests, Bankhead is in northwestern Alabama. It covers 181,230 acres of nature. Bankhead is known as the “land of a thousand waterfalls” because--you guessed it--there are a number of waterfalls in the area. There are also so many activities you could do in this national forest: hiking and camping in the more than 100 miles of hiking trails, and swimming in any of the number of creeks and rivers.
Check out our guide if you're planning a Bankhead National Forest trip.
Here are some of the waterfalls:
Waterfalls in Bankhead National Forest
This is a 4.5 mile hike but it is worth it. Besides, remember when we said Bankhead is home to a number of waterfalls? Well, you’ll see some of them on the way to Sougahoagdee. Use Hickory Grove road and follow the Brushy Creek. The hike is flat and the trail is well-worn, but it is unmarked. The fall is about 70 feet high, and the amount of water varies quite a bit in season. This one won’t be very impressive late into the summer.
Mize Mill Falls
This waterfall is east of the Sipsey River on Cranal Road. It is a good first waterfall stop in the Sipsey Wilderness because it’s easy to get to. It is so near you only need to walk less than a quarter mile in order to reach it. In fact, when you park on the road, you can already hear the beautiful sound of Mize Mill Falls. It may be a short walk but the descent is quite tricky so this trail is not advisable for children and dogs. Mize Mill Falls is about 20 feet high and goes down into a rocky basin.
Deer Skull Falls
Located in the Sipsey Wilderness within the Bankhead National Forest, Deer Skulls Falls is unique as it is a product of a confluence of two creeks. This is a long trail that may be difficult for children as it will require crossing a number of creeks. When you plan this trip, choose to do so during a warm weather or have a tall pair of boots. Also, use your GPS for an easier hike.
Ugly Creek Falls
Still in the Sipsey Wilderness area, the Little Ugly Creek Falls is just above Deer Skull Falls. The trek to the waterfall is really neat as you pass by rock walls and mossy rock formations. The journey is just as good as the waterfall!
Eagle Creek Falls
Located on an unfrequented trail in the Sipsey Wilderness, Eagle Creek Falls provides a beautiful gradual cascade that falls into a small pool. You have to park near Cranal Road and hike on an unmarked path until you find the creek, which will then lead you to the waterfall.
Caney Creek Falls
Many have said that the trip to Caney Creek Falls--including the Upper Caney Creek Falls--is the most magnificent waterfall they have been to in Alabama. It is harder than most hikes though, but it’s not impossible. Just be careful, especially when descending to check out the small canyon. Caney Creek Falls is picturesque, so don’t forget to take a few pictures. Take the County Road 2 for this waterfall. You can park near the sign.
Holmes Chapel Falls
It has a great view, easy for children and dogs to walk through, and is a wonderful way to cool off--Holmes Chapel Falls is just off of Mount Olive Road. Not only is the hike easy enough, it is also flat. During the cooler months when the volume of water is at its peak, Holmes Chapel Falls creates the most scenic picture.
Turkey Foot Falls
You may park near Cranal Road. The walk to the waterfall is very short--just around 15 minutes. So this trip is something that the entire family can enjoy. You don’t need to be a hiking enthusiast in order to visit Turkey Foot Falls. It is actually a nice added attraction when you plan to spend a wonderful day near the Sipsey River Recreation area.
Take Kinlock Road on the west side of Bankhead in order to reach Parker Falls, which is just a small cascade. There is no marked trail to get to this enchanting fall but because so many people enjoy and visit it, there is an easy human trail to track. The hike is still about 1.7 miles. Plan a trip during winter or spring when the waterfalls are their most beautiful. You’ll be able to see 6 of them on 1 hike!
Coal Mine Branch Falls
It will be a bit of a hike in order to reach this waterfall destination, but it’s all worth it of course. Coal Mine Branch Falls is in the Bushy Creek area of Bankhead. Plan your trip during the cool season, though, as this waterfall dries up quickly. You will be crossing a couple of shallow creeks but it’s a moderately easy walk.
TALLADEGA NATIONAL FOREST
DRIVING TIME: 1 HOUR 5 MINUTES
At the edge of the Appalachian Mountains is the Talladega National Forest, which is 392,567 acres of just luscious nature. It is just over an hour away from Birmingham. Here are a couple of falls located in this huge park.
Waterfalls in Talladega National Forest
Cheaha Falls is located in Cheaha State Park within the Talladega National Forest. In order to get there, you head to Lake Chinnabee. There is a trail leading upstream to Cheaha Creek. You don’t need to cross any streams, by the way. Continue on the trail, and you will eventually reach this waterfall destination. The waterfall is beautiful with its multiple falls.
Salt Creek Waterfalls
What a beautiful cascading waterfall this is in the Talladega Ranger District. Salt Creek Falls is a short walk to the falls but it will be hard for children and dogs. The rocks are steep, and there are no proper steps.
Hopefully, that gave you plenty of ideas to keep you busy!
Have a favorite?
Let us know in the comments below.