Red Mountain Park#6 in Best Things To Do in Birmingham
There's something for everyone at Red Mountain Park, where miners once toiled to extract iron ore from the red soil. The 1,500-acre park features more than 15 miles of trails, two scenic overlooks, three treehouses, an off-leash dog park and adventures from zip lining and climbing to a ropes course.
Many visitors loved the zip line and ropes courses, but bemoaned the poorly marked and confusing trail signs and the lack of proper restrooms (the park does offer portable toilets). Most said the trails – not particularly long or challenging – are more for walkers than hikers, including families with strollers and small children. Pet owners also appreciated the dog park, as well as the plentiful free parking.
Located 10 miles south of downtown Birmingham, the trailhead entrance to the park is on Frankfurt Drive: from the Lakeshore Parkway, take Exit 255 and head west for 3 miles. Gates are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and parking is directly across the street. There is a charge for some of the park activities, ranging from $5 for guided hikes to $45 for the ropes treetop courses. Check the website for directions from other areas or for more information on the facilities and regulations.
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#1 Civil Rights District
To learn more about Birmingham's role in the civil rights movement, plan a visit to the Civil Rights District. This six-block area in downtown Birmingham encompasses several historic sites, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the A.G. Gaston Gardens and the Fourth Avenue Business District, among other points of interest.
Perhaps the most significant site is Kelly Ingram Park, which played host to civil rights rallies, demonstrations and confrontations in the 1960s, including the Children's Crusade. You can take a self-led walking tour through the park to learn about the notable protesters and the significant incidents of this turbulent time in the city's history, detailed by markers along the Freedom Walk route. The park is also home to the Four Spirits statues, which honor the four African American girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. To fully experience the walk, you can access a free audio tour from your cell phone by calling 205-307-5455.
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