So, you want to see fall foliage, huh? Well, it’s definitely time. We’re right on the verge of Alabama’s fall foliage peak season. With the Magic City’s location nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians, it’s a prime leaf peeping destination. From glowing goldens to vivid oranges and fiery reds, here are my favorite places to find fall foliage in Birmingham!
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Fall Foliage in Birmingham
The peak time for fall foliage in Birmingham is a bit later than in the northern part of the state. As one would expect, the colors start in the north and a domino effect typically follows. The one exception is central Alabama’s Mount Cheaha as it’s the highest point in the state. Because of this, it sometimes will reach its peak along the timeline with North Alabama.
Due to the warmer weather, November is usually the best viewing month. However, as always, be aware of the year’s weather patterns triggering earlier or later peak times.
Oak Mountain State Park
Creative Commons State Parks 1st Place James Matlock by Outdoor Alabama is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Located in the Birmingham area of Central Alabama, Oak Mountain State Park is the perfect location for a day trip. At almost 10,000 acres, this is the largest state park in Alabama making it undoubtedly great for exploring on an autumn day.
The park has over 50 miles of hiking trails and many other activities to explore such as mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and pedal boating. Peavine Falls, a 65-foot tall spring-fed waterfall, is a must-visit. You can choose to either drive there or hike via one of the trails if you’re up for an adventure.
Both hiking and driving to Peavine Falls requires you to start at the North Trailhead. If driving, take Exit 246 off Interstate 65 South. Turn right at the light and then make an immediate left onto State Park Road. This will become Oak Mountain Park Road. Turn right on Peavine Falls Road and travel another three miles until you reach the Peavine Falls parking lot.
If your preference is hiking over driving, both the Blue and White trails will take you right to the falls. Whatever you choose, the views are sure to blow you away as they feature some of the most colorful fall foliage in Birmingham!
Bluff Park via Shades Crest Road
Located just twenty minutes south of Birmingham in the city of Hoover is the quiet neighborhood of Bluff Park. Overlooking Shades Valley from atop Shades Mountain, this popular suburb has some of the most exquisite views during the fall.
To get there, take exit 256A off Interstate 65 South and follow Oxmoor Road until you meet Shades Crest Road (keep right at the fork) and continue until it dead ends at Highway 150 in Hoover. The views along this route are spectacular so make sure you have a passenger with you to take photos!
The neighborhood makes a charming drive and has great outdoor activities for daytime adventures. Check out Moss Rock Preserve for some of its featured hiking trails. The Moss Rock Trail is beautiful when the leaves change colors and reveals several scenic spots including waterfalls, valleys, and cliffs. It’s both kid and dog friendly making it perfect for the whole family!
Leeds via Bailey Road
If you’re looking for a more laid back way to greet the fall, get yourself a cup of coffee and take this drive along Bailey Road in Leeds. It has sweeping landscapes in vivid colors with enough twists and turns to keep you entertained, all from the warmth of your car. Expect to be greeted by fields and rustic bridges on this road off Highway 119.
Another way to access Bailey Road is taking the Grants Mill Exit off of Interstate 459 North. Turn right and follow the winding path until coming to the first four-way stop. This drive itself is gorgeous for fall colors.
At the four-way stop, turn left onto Rex Road. Bailey Road will be on the right in approximately 1-1.5 miles.
Trussville via Trussville Clay Road
Trussville is a quaint neighborhood located about 15 miles northeast of Birmingham. Despite being one of the fastest growing cities in Jefferson County, it has managed to retain its suburban charm.
As you leisurely drive through Trussville, you will find yourself in hilly residential areas with large sweeping lawns blanketed with gorgeous Alabama fall foliage. Cosby Lake Park, with its cycling and walking trails, is great for joyrides and strolls. Pack a picnic and capitalize on a perfect family-oriented day!
The roughly 10-minute drive on Trussville Clay Road (County Road 153) into the neighborhood is just as delightful. You will encounter a “secret tunnel” made of arching orange and red trees that will just take your breath away!
To get there, head north on Interstate 59 and take Exit 141-Chalkville Road. Make a right off the ramp and then a left onto Poplar Street which will become Trussville Clay Road. Drive until it dead ends with Old Springville Road and turn left to get to Cosby Lake Park.
Mountain Brook via Cherokee Road
Another great neighborhood to take a drive through is Mountain Brook. This upscale residential area is set in the hills, covered in tall trees bursting with color during autumn time. If you want to make a day of it, you could drop by Birmingham Botanical Gardens to catch the Fall Wildflowers in full bloom. There’s nothing to better to soothe the soul than the scent of hollies flowing through the crisp autumn air.
To immerse yourself in the Alabama fall foliage and make the most of your drive through Mountain Brook, take Cherokee Road off Highway 280 and cruise alongside Mountain Brook’s golf course.
Chelsea to Leeds via Dunnavant Valley Road
This Shelby County drive down Dunnavant Valley Road is one of prettiest for fall foliage in Birmingham. Its scenic views start in Chelsea and go through communities such as Mount Laurel and Shoal Creek.
To start this drive turn left onto County Road 41 from U.S. Highway 280 East. What’s cool about the drive is you have options. Continue on County Road 41 until you come to State Road 25 and take a left which heads into Leeds.
From this point, loop back around to U.S. 280 by driving south on State Route 119. Alternatively, at the intersection of CR 41 and SR 25, take a right and then another right in Vandiver onto Bear Creek Road (County Road 43) which will also take you back to U.S. 280. All three are beautiful scenic drives for Birmingham fall foliage!
Downtown Birmingham Alabama from Ruffner Mountain by Southernpixel-Alby Headrick is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Admittedly, this one isn’t a drive. There is a short, relatively easy hike involved, but the views from Ruffner Mountain are stunning anytime of year…especially in the fall!
To access this view of the stunning Birmingham fall foliage (quite literally as you will see the foliage and downtown), follow these driving directions and these hiking directions.
And now you see why I gave Birmingham its own post. There are so many stunning views, the Magic City stands out all on its own! Granted, there are other cities in the state that have multiple views but since I live here it’s easy to find fall foliage in Birmingham!
Where are you favorite places to see Birmingham’s fall foliage? I know this list isn’t exhaustive so hit me up with any of your favorite views I’ve missed!
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