Winter Hiking at its Best in Alabama

January 2022

Don’t let the colder weather stop you from getting outside this winter. A hike during the winter months can relax the senses and keep you on track to achieving your fitness goals. Here’s our list of the top five spots for a perfect winter hike.

Bankhead National Forest and the Sipsey Wilderness


There are over 90 miles of recreational trails in the Bankhead National Forest. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding as well as riding the trails with an all-terrain vehicle. The Sipsey Wilderness also offers hiking and horseback riding on specific trails. Group hiking is limited to 10 people, and motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Sipsey Wilderness. 

Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve


This 700-acre nature preserve offers 11 miles of hiking trails. The preserve has native plants and animals among interesting rock formations, waterfalls, scenic views, and creeks to wade in. There are also camping sites and picnicking spots.

Wheeler National Refuge


Established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, there are over 540 wildlife refuge sites in this area. According to their website, the refuge is a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. It was the first refuge ever superimposed on a hydro-electric impoundment and in the early stages, was considered an experiment to determine the possibility of attracting migratory waterfowl onto a multipurpose impoundment.  Although designated as a waterfowl refuge, Wheeler provides for a wide spectrum of wildlife. It has a mixture of habitats that provides a safe place for over 295 bird species to rest, nest and winter including over 30 species of waterfowl (ducks and geese) and an increasing population of Sandhill cranes in addition to a small number of Whooping cranes.

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership was formed in 1999 to restore a self-sustaining migratory population of whooping cranes in eastern North America. In 2006, two Whoopers were discovered in the refuge and since that time, they have wintered each year in the refuge. There are easy hiking trails throughout this refuge, where birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy wildlife and plant species. 

High Falls Park

Grove Oak

Located in the mountains of northeast Alabama, this hidden gem offers hiking trails, pavilions, a walking bridge and spectacular views in a rustic playground setting. The park is located on top of Sand Mountain in Dekalb County. 

Monte Sano State Park


This 2500 acre nature preserve has been attracting visitors since the 1800s. The area has 14 vacation cottages, camping areas, picnic areas and pavilions, hiking and biking trails and flower gardens. There are 20 miles of hiking and biking trails with breathtaking views. There are self-guided trail tours including The Waterline Trail, the Trough Springs Trail and the Wildflower Trail Trail, and the High Trail, one of the more challenging trails, that passes through a small quarry and the remnants of the Monte Sano Hotel. 

Get out and enjoy Alabama in the winter months!

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