It all started with my visiting the soccer complex in Gardendale this weekend to try and find the 1+ mile connector. There were way too many kids and families for me to feel safe getting out and exploring. I was afraid I’d end up looking like a criminal poking around in areas I might not supposed to be.. plus that dog draws attention “OH! LOOK AT THE DOG!” and the very often made mistake by small children who aren’t used to any big shaggy dog “SHE HAS A WOLFDOG!” So I retreated to another hike at a short old trail that is long forgotten from hikers (will blog aboot it later this week 🙂
But today I drove to Brookside and found the Greenway Park (I haven’t given up on the Gdale connector trail yet, you can see it in the Red Rock Trail’s website below). This is just one of many greenways and parks and rails to trails to be connected in Jefferson County. The idea is ambitious and strangely, quiet. Why haven’t I heard more about this? I don’t know. But here it is for you in all it’s red rock trail glory. I like that some of the places will have camping and if it all gets connected it could be a fun great long bike/hike/backpacking destination for locals. We have an abundance of places near Birmingham to hike. But not to camp (enter Oak Mt of course…..).
So the idea is that all of these cities create either greenways along waterways or use rails to trails to connect to one another. If completed we would have a footway rivaling 459. I love this idea. I think we should all rush out and explore these places in whatever state of start or finish they are in. Spread the word and let’s get this project better known and supported!
Check out this page for resources of all the many in the works trails/areas: http://www.redrocktrail.org/
Other sites of interest:
http://www.brooksidealabama.com/?page_id=106 (info on camping, didn’t see prices)
There are not a lot of “hiking” trails in the woodsy sense, but there are walking trails that go around the property and it is a fun place to spend a morning, walking, exploring the cemetery, fishing picnicking and swimming. BUT I found plans for this bike trail to run from Mt. Olive to the Greenway. I don’t know if it’s finished or in what state of being done it is. But here are the plans if anyone is interested in finding and hiking it.
Brookside Bike/Hike Trail Corridor Study This will ask you to open up a pdf. Totally safe.
This page lists all of the proposals/studies I could find in one place. They have lots of maps: http://www.rpcgb.org/transportation/active-transportation/ http://www.brooksidealabama.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Brookside-Bike-Trail-CSX.jpg
A particularly important paragraph from one of the above pdf states
“The Land Trust signed a Memorandum of Agreement with six municipalities—Birmingham, Center Point, Tarrant, Fultondale, Brookside, Graysville—and other organizations to establish a greenway and parks system along the Five Mile Creek stream. The Land Trust owns approximately 600 acres of land within this watershed and, with its partners, is pursuing additional acquisitions. Specifically, the coalition aims to improve and enhance water quality, improve the physical health of area residents, and provide recreational amenities in economically challenged communities.”
600 acres to play on. This is what my eyes stop on. This is awesome!
There are apparently a lot of trails “in the works” which to me means you might be able to get out there and hike it but it’s not officially open. Today we hiked one that is: The Brookside Greenway Park.
They have events each year such as a Greenway Festival, clean ups, a canoe office that will take care of all your kayaking and canoe desires. Other activities: picnicking, fishing, birdwatching, enjoying nature (I saw lots of trees and flowers I could not identify and wish I’d brought my book), bicycling, hiking, camping, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, bikejoring, trail running.
This is a great park for all types of dogs. There are meadows, hills, dips down to the creek, lots of greenery, old trees, wooded hillsides to explore, and even a cemetery. ((I’m very proud of Whiskey that he has yet to um… desecrate a grave… with his er… need to go.)) There was also some kind of… small dirt bike/mountain bike track? I don’t know as I’m not an expert at these things. If there isn’t a geocache here there needs to be. Someone get on that?
The trails are flat and easy except for a few adventurous short climbs up hillsides like that of Kissing Rock (can someone explain this to me?). I mean I can assume about the name but still, I like stories. Speaking of which, I hope they put up more information about the old school site and a historic marker explaining more about the cemetery and land we are walking. I like trails that share history with walking. Even something like a pamphlet to do a walking tour. There is also a good map I didn’t take a picture of for those who want to use the area to canoe or kayak but it shows all the different places to put in and out while canoeing.
I think this is an excellent park to come bikejor when it’s cold again because there’s lost of terrain to cover and a good solid track.
Directions:- how to get to Brooksides Greenway Park.
TakeI-65N to the Fieldstown Road Exit for Gardendale. Go left away from G’dale. Follow all the way up to a T (several miles) then go R. Follow that until it Ts and turn Right again. Follow that through a four way stop and look for Cardiff St. on your Left. The sign was nearly unreadable when I got to it but I figured it out so I’m betting you can too. Follow Cardiff St as it curves around and then eventually crosses a bridge. At the bridge turn left to park by the Canoe place or go Right to enter further down into a separate parking lot. I like the one by the canoes. They do have a bathroom facility there, but good luck. The women’s door was locked and we had to sneak my mom into the mens. Seems that they are both normally locked as a man was shocked to find the mens one unlocked.
Overall we give this park a solid 6 wags.It scores in the mid range because of the glass near the water and debris in the water (they are working on this). I also scored it lower because I’d like to see more historical information made available about the site since it has history to be know about it. These sort of things raise the bar for me as I’m a history buff. I also didn’t like that their public restrooms were locked during obviously public park hours and the canoe people were their loading people up, and park “somebodies” were there cutting the grass. Surely someone has a key? I don’t mind using the bushes but not everyone wants to do that. I do like that it has camping for a good price (visit Brooksides link above for camping info) and because the park is so big and has so much water front. We’ll definitely be working this into our regular rotation of parks!!