Top 10 Hikes Near Huntsville Alabama
In August 2017, I moved down to Huntsville, Alabama from Washington D.C. to start a 2 semester internship with NASA MSFC. While I was down there I made friends with a bunch of adventurous people and we hiked camped, or explored almost every weekend. I logged over 150+ miles on trails while I was there. The Southeast is lacking in high elevation mountains but they make up for it with the insane amount of waterfalls and beautiful Fall colors. If you Google “Best Hikes Near Huntsville Alabama” a lot of links pop up that I completely disagree with. If you’re willing to drive two hours away from the city, there’s plenty of great hikes and hidden gems. This is my personal Top 10 ranking of hikes near Huntsville, Alabama!
10. Monte Sano State Park, AL
This park is nowhere near the caliber of the other hikes on this list but I feel obligated to add it because it is literally in Huntsville. Monte Sano charges $5 PER PERSON to enter, not per car. I think that’s steep for how small the park is. The highlight of this park is the Stone Cuts trail, and there’s a nice lookout point you can hike to or drive to seen in the image below. Overall, Monte Sano is more of a nature walking area in Huntsville than a place to hike, but it’s super close.
9. Little River Falls, AL
Ok, so this also isn’t really a hiking destination either, but I love Little River Falls. It’s about an hour and a half drive south east from Huntsville near the Georgia border. There are two waterfalls, and a short walk leads to a great swimming hole that’s buzzing all summer long. There’s also cliff jumping if you want to need some more adrenaline like us! Little River Falls is close by some other hikes on this list, so it could definitely be combined with another place for a fantastic hiking/swimming day trip.
8. Fiery Gizzard
Fiery Gizzard is also about an hour and a half from Huntsville near Chattanooga in South Cumberland State park. This is probably the hardest hike on the list in my opinion. It’s a there and back that leads to an epic 180-degree view of the valley. I’ve only done this hike once while the leaves were just starting to change, I know it would be phenomenal once the colors peak. The reason this hike is lower on my list is because it’s a long hard hike to only one view, the rest of the trail is just dense forest and a lot of hiking on big rocks (that sometimes move).
7. Blevins Gap, AL
The Yosemite of the South. Not really haha, but that’s what we nicknamed it. Blevin’s Gap was the last hike I did before leaving Huntsville to come home. I had heard a lot about Blevin’s, but I figured it would be like Monte Sano so I avoided it; my mistake. Blevin’s Gap is about a 6mile hike located right outside of the city, and offers amazing views of Huntsville. I could see Madison, the Tennessee River, and Redstone Arsenal/NASA from the main view point. Bring a hammock, some beers, and watch the sunset with friends!
6. Walls of Jericho, AL
Another hard there and back located at the Alabama-Tennessee border. We actually parked in Alabama and then hiked into Tennessee. When we did it, we turned it into an overnight and camped near the waterfall. The trail is all downhill on the way in, and uphill coming back. There’s a big slippery cave, some swimming holes, and a waterfall (that’s not always running). For me, Walls of Jericho is a one and done hike, but I definitely recommend checking it out at least once.
5. Lula Lake Land Trust, GA
Now we’re getting into some of my favorites. Lula is a magical place located near the Alabama Georgia border and is only open the first and last weekend of the month because it is on private land and run by volunteers. Because Lula is open so infrequently, it’s typically crowded. There’s a massive waterfall, turquoise lake, and a nice view of the valley. While you’re here, also check out Rock City Gardens near by!
4. Fall Creek Falls, TN
Fall Creek Falls isn’t just one hike, this is a whole hiking area. Located about 2 hours from Huntsville, in Tennessee, this state park offers several waterfalls, hiking trails, and camping. The first time I went in November and the waterfalls were very disappointing. I came back in the spring after several days of rain and was not disappointed by the gushing double falls. Next time I come, I want to try some of the backpacking trails.
3. Cheaha State Park, AL
Cheaha is the furthest hike from Huntsville on this list but worth the drive. Cheaha is also home to the highest point in Alabama (2,407’) and the views from some of the lookouts seem infinite. On top of hiking, the state park also offers car camping, a lake, and some waterfalls. Cheaha looks best in the Fall but it’s also great in the spring and summer with the lucious greens.
2. Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA
I had to think hard about how I was going to rank these last two. They’re my two favorites and I visited each multiple timesacross all four seasons. They’re also quite a bit ahead of Cheaha in third place. Cloudland Canyon is about 2 hours from Huntsville in the Northwest corner of Georgia and offers several hiking trails, waterfalls, and camping. What I love about Cloudland is that the park changes a lot with each season. The fall has amazing red and orange colors, the winter sometimes has snow and frozen waterfalls, and the spring and summer have gushing waterfalls and greens after the rain. My favorite trails here are the West Rim Trail and the two butt burning staircases down to Hemlock and Cherokee falls.
1. Savage Gulf State Park, TN
I’ve done a lot of hiking in Tennessee, and outside of the Smokies I have to say Savage Gulf is hands down my favorite area for hiking in TN. The Gulf is also the best place for backpacking near Huntsville (second place is Fall Creek Falls). The park is not located near any big body of water but is home to 50+ miles of trails, frontcountry and backcountry camping, and several waterfalls. My favorite places to hike and explore in the park are Stone Door, Greeter Falls, and the North Rim trail.
Did I miss any? Do you agree with my ranking for Best Hikes Near Huntsville Alabama? Always love to hear y’alls thoughts!