In an age where electronic devices beg for our kids’ attention, I have a great appreciation for seeing my kids playing outside. I am definitely old school when it comes to what I allow my kids to do for after school entertainment. I prefer they head outside to ride bikes, swing, play tag, and kick the soccer ball until I call them in for dinner.
I am so thankful that quarantine began at the beginning of spring. The spring weather in 2020 was particularly pleasant with very few surprise cold fronts that usually like to creep up in our strange Alabama weather. We were able to extend our deck last spring which kept us outside for most of the day and into the early evening during spring, summer, and into the fall last year.
Along with fishing, running races in our neighbor’s backyard, and going on walks, my kids began to ride their bikes more than usual. We did a lot of bike riding in empty parking lots of non-essential businesses. At one point early in quarantine, we had to replace my son’s rear bike tire from all the drifting he learned to do near the bottom of our driveway. Soon after that, his growth and skill proved it was time for a new bike. And as things normally go in families with multiple children, my oldest daughter asked for a new bike as well. Honestly, she needed one too with all the bike rides my kids were taking. My grandfather, who lives in an assisted living facility, purchased a new bike for her and we were able to arrange a safe meeting with him so he could see her receive the bike. It was a special moment.
Of course, with all of our kids enjoying daily bike rides around the neighborhood, my husband and I decided we needed bikes too. They say the family that rides bikes together, stays together, right?! We both received bikes as Christmas gifts from our families, and now my husband jokes that it looks like we have a bike dealership in our garage.
It’s no wonder bike sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic and simultaneously the supply of bikes has decreased. Bike rides gave us all a way to escape our homes yet remain socially distanced. The bike I received for Christmas wasn’t actually available for me to pick up until the second week in March. Instead of a bike on Christmas morning, I opened a note inside that said “A Bicycle”. While I waited, I did high knees through the neighborhood while the rest of my crew rode bikes. Ok, maybe I’m kidding about the high knees part, but I did have to do some brisk walking/running to keep up.
With our newly discovered family hobby came the question of where do we ride our bikes other than our neighborhood? We have a lot of hills that are difficult for me, so I know it’s hard for my youngest who still has training wheels. I began researching bike trails in our area and asked my fellow BMC contributors where they take family bike rides. Click the titles below to find more info!
Birmingham’s Best Family-Friendly Bike Trails
I feel like this one is pretty obvious, not just for bike rides, but for any outdoor activity. Our local state park is a wonderful asset to our area! Oak Mountain has 30 miles of bike trails for all skill levels. They also have a BMX trail for those who like the thrill of speed, hills, and jumps. For fall break, we went on our first family camping trip and we tried out the Light Trail. My husband and oldest kids have also been on the Lake Trail and the Family Trail. Oak Mountain is definitely a great place for some easy mountain biking with the family. You can even buy an annual pass to the park so you can load up the bikes and ride as often as you want.
Not far from Oak Mountain is a park with various ball fields, a playground, picnic areas, pickleball and tennis courts, but most importantly for a bike riding family, paved trails. Because these trails are paved, they are ideal for the beginner bike rider that may still have training wheels. If you go when the weather is warm, there are spots where you can get your feet wet and cool off in the Cahaba Valley Creek.
Located down Highway 119, this park has plenty of outdoor amenities, but what’s best is the two miles of lighted trails that are bicycle friendly. At Veteran’s Park you can play on the playground, feed the fish in the ponds, and enjoy a picnic in one of their several pavilions. I’m thinking this is a good way to burn some energy on a late summer afternoon! Play for a while, end with a picnic dinner, and hope the kids are too worn out to fuss about bedtime!
Am I the only one who did not know we have a park dedicated to mountain biking in Hoover? To be fair, it’s somewhat new. It opened in June 2019. Black Creek is a 73-acre mountain bike park located along Stadium Trace Parkway. The park has 5 miles of bike trails for all skill levels.
Have you been? This place sounds amazing! Turkey Creek is a 466-acre nature preserve located in Pinson with a rich history and natural wonders. There’s plenty to do here, but if you come with your bikes, you’ll want to take a ride on the trails. Turkey Creek has five trails, and two of them are bike friendly. Check out the map of the trails to see which one would be good for your family.
Located in Homewood, this is another paved option that is great for the younger riders. The trail runs along Shades Creek and has great scenery. The distance is 2.5 miles one way and has an elevation of 80 feet. This trail is multi-use and a popular place to find runners and walkers, so keep that in mind as you haul your biker gang out to the trail.
This is the trail my family most recently visited. Vulcan Trail is part of Birmingham’s Red Rock Trail system. A portion of the trail is paved, making it another great option for the entire family. The trail is a total of 4 miles round trip and has fantastic views of Vulcan and downtown Birmingham. I’m thinking a ride just before the park closes at sunset would be beautiful!
As an alternative to the beautiful but popular Highland Avenue, Norwood Boulevard is a leisurely option for a family bike ride through a Birmingham neighborhood. Norwood boasts some beautiful historic homes. The trolley stop at 15th Avenue and 32nd Street is a cute place to take a break for a snack and a photo. You can park your car by Kirby Elementary and the community center at 15th Avenue and 28th Street while you ride.
The Red Rock Trail system currently connects 125 miles of trails in the Birmingham area, some of which are mentioned above. Once complete, the system will connect 750 miles of multi-use trails. I was pleased to find out about this in my research on family friendly bike trails! Look here to find a trail. You will find the Rotary Trail, Railroad Park, and Jones Valley trail, and maybe even trails you didn’t know about!
There are plenty more trails I could share with you, but this is a good start to get your family on an adventure. Who knew Birmingham and its surrounding cities had so much to offer in the way of bike riding? I’m pumped! Who’s ready to ride?
Tell us what to add to our list of the best family-friendly bike trails around Birmingham!