By Alli Hill
There’s no better way to experience fall than right in the midst of Mother Nature. Luckily, Alabama features plenty of excellent hiking trails that can take you on a fall foliage journey while giving you an enjoyable workout. Hiking offers so much more than a walk in the woods—these five energizing hikes can help you clear your mind and prove good to your health.
Part of the Sipsey Wilderness Trail System, the Randolph Trail provides hikers a fairly easy two miles before giving way to a beautiful payoff—a view of the majestic Feather Hawk Falls. Along the way, look for the remnants of two old churches with cemeteries and other historical structures. It’s not a difficult hike, but one that you’ll need to be in fairly decent shape for if you want to reach the falls.
This one is a bit lengthy, being six miles one-way, but it sprinkles in enough challenges for intermediate hikers without pushing you to your absolute limits. This trail is part of a larger trail system that spans for dozens of miles. The first four miles are relatively easy, and provide an enjoyable, energizing hike. You’ll travel over a few footbridges along the way, and have an excellent view of the creek at Devil’s Den. There are several extremely rocky areas shortly after Devil’s Den that are slightly challenging. The remaining two miles take you through the Cheaha Wilderness, including a steep ascent toward the very end.
This 10-mile trail system features plenty for beginners and intermediate hikers. Start with the Stagecoach Plateau Trail, a 1.4-mile loop that provides just enough time to get a quick workout. This trail connects directly with the Dragon’s Tail, another intermediate trail of two miles that can extend your walk in the woods without venturing too far off course. The Dragon’s Tail loop will bring you back to the Stagecoach Plateau so you can continue your course without losing any ground. The trails are situated on a nature preserve, so there’s plenty of beautiful fall foliage and other scenery to keep you company on your travels.
Touted as one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the state, the Sipsey River Trail places you right in the midst of serenity. Along the way, you’ll come across multiple waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, and plenty of isolated wilderness that blocks out the sounds and sights of civilization. The trail is 6.7 miles of beautiful scenery from all angles, and will certainly be one you’ll want to hike more than once.
Also known as the “park for all seasons,” this nature trail gives hikers the perfect views of fall foliage as you make your way around the 1.5-mile trail. The trail is dotted with footbridges and a covered bridge, and provides stunning views of the central lake. It’s the perfect distance if you’re wanting a quick pick-me-up to keep you energized without having to go to the middle of nowhere to enjoy natural views.