Moss Rock Nature Preserve

Elizabeth Perkins
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For stunning views and a variety of hiking trails, give Moss Rock Nature Preserve a go. Only 12 miles from downtown Birmingham, you won’t have a long distance to drive before you’re surrounded by nature’s finest. Take a break from the city life and let the peace of nature take away your stress. Spend as little or as much time or energy as you want. It is easy to customize each visit to Moss Rock to accommodate any schedule. The Boulder Field is easily accessible and is perfect for a family picnic. You will feel dwarfed next to towering boulders as high as two stories tall.

With 349 acres to explore, Moss Rock has lots to offer both solo hikers looking for a challenge or families wanting a kid-friendly outing. The maintenance of the trails are mostly carried out by volunteer groups such as UAB Into the Streets, Hands on Birmingham, Ruffner Mountain Nature Center and various local church and civil groups that donate their time to keeping Moss Rock clean, well-preserved and protected.

Follow along the rocky stream, feel your worries leave your spirit and relax to the sound of the water trickling over the rocks. Hidden falls and full cascades are picturesque in their flow. The trees will shade you from the scorching Alabama sun allowing you to enjoy the natural beauty year round.

Elizabeth Perkins

Each trail is clearly marked and color-coded. The Orange Trail (moderate to challenging) is a loop that features Rock House Boulders, High Falls and the Top of the World, a high lookout with camera-worthy scenic views. If you prefer to work on your tan while hiking, take the Powerline Trail (moderate to challenging), that's mostly exposed to the sun. The wildflowers are glorious in the spring and summer, and wildlife scamper near this trail to absorb their daily dose of Vitamin D. The 1.5-mile Waterfall Loop is named for the many waterfalls you’ll encounter along the way, so be sure to take this loop after a heavy rain. For a bit of a challenge, take the White Trail, which may seem easy at first, but will certainly give you a cardio workout and will make your muscles burn once you reach the northeast corner.

One notable feature about Moss Rock Nature Preserve is that it is home to a rare variant of Little River Sandstone Glade. This is one of only 35 surviving examples that environmental researchers are aware of. This is also home to four extremely rare plants such as the Nuttall’s rayless goldenrod and longleaf pine.

Pack a picnic and stick around a while. Moss Rock Nature Preserve is the idea place to fill your lungs with fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature.

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