By Alli Hill
Alabama sees its share of sweltering hot summer temperatures, so when fall rolls around the locals are ready to greet it with open arms. But cooler days aren’t the only delights to look forward to. It’s also the best time of year to take a walk through the woods and bask in the warm reds, yellows, and oranges of autumn. Here’s where you can find the five most stunning fall foliage hikes in Alabama.
At Oak Mountain State Park, you’ll have 25 miles of beautiful fall foliage to keep you company on your travels. Head to the North trailhead, where you can embark on White, Blue, or Yellow trails. The White Trail will take you to the park’s highest elevation point, where you can get a glimpse of the gorgeous fall colors from above. Or, head to the Green Trail that begins near the park office on Terrace Drive, and make your way to Peavine Falls to get a photo-worthy look at the waterfalls framed by the changing leaves.
This charming covered bridge has been the central focus of the park built around it since 1904. The original bridge was destroyed by a storm in 1975, but restoration efforts including salvaging material of the bridge for reconstruction, hiking trails, picnic space, cabins, and other structures has since strengthened the site. It’s now considered one of the best spots in the state to soak in the rich fall foliage.
This popular place for fall hiking has its own designated spot on the state’s “fall color trail” guide. Guests here can make their way along the Warpath Ridge Trailway that overlooks the Tennessee Valley for the best fall foliage views. However, these views come at a steep price, and should only be attempted by experienced or physically fit hikers. If you’d rather stick to a simpler hike, the park offers 22 miles of hiking and biking trails, including the easy 2.9-mile Bucca Family Trail.
Another designated area on Alabama’s “fall color trail” guide, Lake Guntersville State Park features over 36 miles of moderate-to-difficult trails that hikers, bikers, and horseback riders will love. King’s Chapel, Butler’s Pass, Lickskillet, and Cascade Trails offer plenty of surprises, such as graveyards, overlooks, waterfalls or wildflowers, but each one will let you enjoy Mother Nature’s beautiful fall color scheme.
There’s plenty of river, waterfalls, and ridges to explore as you enjoy the fall foliage at Desoto State Park. Make it a day trip or stay the whole weekend in one of their cabins. People of all ages and skill levels can take a stroll along the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail that leads 360 yards into the forest and ends at an observation deck overlooking the Azalea Cascade pool. For the most colorful fall views, head to Little River Canyon, just 10 miles south of the state park, where you can traverse the 100-foot boardwalk that leads to the perfect viewing spot for the foliage.