Just outside of Birmingham, Appalachian mountains, crashing waterfalls, and big adventures await.
It may be the biggest city in Alabama, but Birmingham secretly hides some of the state's most secluded natural treasures. Beyond the urban golf courses, sprawling state parks and national forests are a hideaway for casual campers and hardcore trekkers alike. Follow your compass just south of Hoover to find Oak Mountain State Park. Spanning more than 9,900 acres, it's the biggest park in Alabama at 9,900+ acres. Get psyched about hiking or mountain biking over 40 miles of trails right outside your tent. Nearby Talladega National Forest is an oasis of mountains and waterfalls in southern Appalachia. There are tons of campgrounds in this wilderness, but one popular pick is Cheaha State Park. From here, you can hop on the trailhead of the 339-mile Pinhoti Trail. Aching to spend some time in the saddle? Ride your hoofed pal to a horse camp on the Shoal Creek Horse Trail System. An hour's drive northwest of Birmingham, you find another big wilderness—Bankhead National Forest. RV sites and tent camping are your gateways to riverside hikes and freshwater lagoons. At the north end of the forest, you find Sipsey Wilderness; it's easy to love this popular backpacking destination that boasts river canyons and waterfalls. Looking for more camping in the Birmingham area? Check out Tannehill State Park or DeSoto State Park. You can also pull your big rig into a local RV park with full hookups and Wi-Fi. Camping weather is great year round, but bring rain gear—showers are common in every season.