Finding hidden trails in your ‘hood- part 3!

Yay! Another hidden trail from me to you!

This trail is technically “in the works” and not an official trail yet but anyone can walk it, as far as I’m concerned anyhoo, because it’s a public park and because there is no “do not enter” or “no trespassing” sign.** 🙂

So without further ado lets hit the woods and check out this short but sweet little hiking trail.

You’ll find this short gem at the Gardendale Soccer Complex, also known as “Splashpad Park.” Dogs are not allowed on the soccer field or in the water park so be aware of this. Here are directions to the park:

Directions to Gardendale Soccer Complex:
Take I-65 N from Birmingham
Take exit 271 for Fieldstown Rd
Turn left at Fieldstown Rd 2.7 miles
Keep an eye out for Jew Hollow Rd on your Right
Right after it you’ll see the Soccer Fields and then immediately at the end of the fields is a road that leads to a backside parking area. Turn on that road. I choose to park directly in front of the trail and avoid walking my dog around all those sunbathing families.

Drive down the gravel until you hit the woods there. If you look closely you’ll see the start of the trail. If you don’t then get out and put the park on your right and the woods in front/&left of you and just… look. There isn’t a sign so if you can’t find it by walking away from the park along the edge of the woods then I can’t help you. But here are some pictures that might help? I hope so. It will definitely be easier to find in the colder months as greenery dies away. We went in the late spring (oh god, I can barely remember what that felt like) and on that day I thought it was hot. I was lying to myself. It’s HOT now. It was not hot then. I just thought I remembered what hot felt like. Either way we were grateful for the water to traipse through at the bottom.

It’s a nice little stream really. It needs a little cleaning up (we found remains of a car and a sink with of course the regular smaller runoff items you expect in a low lying water source with humans around it) but really it was relatively clean.

Oh, the pictures of the parking area and trail start! Here you are:

Whiskey peers down at the beginning of the trail eager to start!

Note the kind of gravely type pavement going down the start of the trail, that should help find the right place!

A glance back reveals where we parked and the splashpad park in the distance.

Description: the trail goes down into a small creek/valley area and leads to the right. However, we explored both left and right as far as we could go. The trail empties out on Jew Hollow Road which is the road the main parking for the park is on. My husband could not believe the name of such a road exists. It does! This is a good 30 minute hike ONLY if you have a dog that likes to sniff a lot. It is a very short trail. I don’t know the distance but you could easily add time to it if you don’t have a leisurely sniffer/walker by coming out on the Jew Hollow Road and turning right to make a loop back to the park and your car. Or if your small hike ends up being too short take a few laps around the park to lengthen it. We easily spent an hour here because we both take our time and like alternately exploring and sitting and watching nature.

Whiskey and I had fun going from the trail to the dry creek bed (which was totally not dry in other places!) Lots of fun smooth stones to sniff and critters to dig for.

Rating: 5 interested but not entirely convinced tail wags. I’d definitely be interested in giving it a higher rating once the trail is finished and I have some facts about it (how will it link-if at all to the greenway belt through Jefferson Co. and how long is this trail?).

Lets play find the truck camper shell. Found it? Great. Now lets play find the stunning rock slide area behind it… this was gorgeous in the flickering gold and green light slanting through the leaves above it, and is much larger than my picture makes it look…

Extra info:
Some links on the proposed greenway: http://www.njeffersonnews.com/local/x597293365/Proposed-Gardendale-trail-would-be-a-segment-in-county-wide-greenway
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/02/jefferson_county_trail_system.html
http://www.fivemilecreekgreenwaydistrict.org/ (You’ll have to really dig through all their links to find info you want. There’s just a ton of stuff on this site.)
http://www.redrocktrail.org/ And perhaps this is the most important one, showing how all the areas are linked and giving you detailed info about the greenway. Serious, awesomeness.

Happy Hiking everyone!
Gina and Whiskey

**Please note, Whiskey and Gina are not offering legal advice on the topic of trespassing and are not lawyers though they do know some who watch tv.
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