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Best Hiking Spots in Tuscaloosa

Walking and biking trail with wooden railings along the riverfront in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Happy Earth Day! We hope you get the opportunity to spend a few extra hours outdoors this weekend enjoying nature. In case you are new to the Tuscaloosa area, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite, local hiking spots. If you haven’t already, be sure to check them during your next outdoor adventure! 

Lake Lurleen State Park

Trail Difficulty: Easy – Challenging

Trail Length:  23 miles of trails

Lake Lurleen State Park is a must-see for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. The park offers more than 23 miles of trails that you can explore, along with a popular sand bar for swimming, and the entrance fee is only $4! Many locals enjoy visiting the park for fishing, boating, picnicking, kayaking, etc. Of course, it’s also a great option for campers looking for overnight accommodations, as there are 91 campsites available for booking.  

Lake Nicol 

Trail Name: Outer Cliff Trail & Spillway Trail 

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 1.1 mile & 0.7 mile

Lake Nicol is the perfect place to get away for the day. It is known for its beautiful hiking trails on the cliffs that run alongside the water. While walking these trails, you might encounter college students sun tanning on the cliffs, picnicking, or even jumping  off the cliffs into the water. Visitors also enjoy swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding in the lake. 

Lake Harris 

Trail Name: Lake Harris Dam Trail

Trail Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length:  1.4 mile

Lake Harris park is another great option for those looking to get outdoors in Tuscaloosa. Its popular hiking trail overlooks the water and leads visitors across 2 dams. Known for its bass fish, Lake Harris is also a hot spot for fishing, so make sure you bring your fishing poles with you when you visit!  

Tuscaloosa Riverwalk 

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length:  4.5 miles

The Riverwalk is easily one of the most popular trails in Tuscaloosa. Located right off UA’s campus on Jack Warner, the Riverwalk runs alongside the Black Warrior River, all the way through Downtown Tuscaloosa. In total, the Riverwalk trail is approx.  4.5 miles,  making it the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or an early morning jog. If you’re lucky, some mornings you might even catch UA’s rowing teams out on the water. 

Van De Graaff Park 

Trail Name: Van De Graaff Park  Trail 

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length:  0.3 mile

Van De Graaff Park is located in Northport, with its main attraction being its 1812 King Bowstring Bridge. Fun fact: this bridge is actually one of the oldest surviving iron bridges in the state of Alabama, and it’s only accessible to visitors by foot.  Aside from its Bowstring Bridge, the park is also a great spot for fishing, boating, and camping. Depending on the season, you might even be able to rent an on-site kayak or canoe for the day. 

University of Alabama Arboretum

Trail Difficulty: Easy 

Trail Length:  3 miles

The University of Alabama Arboretum is a great location for someone looking for something secluded, yet close to the city. “The Arb,” as locals call it, features walking trails, a wildflower garden, a greenhouse, a collection of ornamental plants, an experimental garden, and a children’s garden. It is the perfect place for someone wanting to take a leisurely stroll and simply enjoy Tuscaloosa’s native plants and wildlife.

Sokol Park

Trail Name: Munny Sokol Park Trail & Sokol Loop Trail 

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length:  2.2 miles or 1.4 miles

Located off Watermelon Road in Northport, Sokol Park has so much to offer: baseball fields, soccer fields, dog parks, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, trails, and more! Considered a hidden treasure by many, Sokol Park has gained the attention of local mountain bikers that visit the park daily to ride the rugged trails. 

Hurricane Creek Park 

Trail Name: Eagle Scout Trail 

Trail Difficulty: Moderate – Challenging

Trail Length: 1 mile

While its name sounds deceiving, Hurricane Creek Park is a great place to visit when you need a peaceful place outdoors to relax. You can best explore this park by canoeing downstream its Creek or by hiking/biking on its popular Eagle Scout Trail that local scouts helped create. The trail crosses over ancient rocks and small streams, making it slightly challenging, so make sure you wear your best hiking shoes! 

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