How to make 2023 your healthiest year yet on these 6 accessible Alabama trails


Sandhill Cranes Accessible Trails Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Sandhill Cranes at Wheeler NWR (Bham Now)

They don’t call it “Alabama the Beautiful” for nothing. As you set your fitness and bucket list goals for 2023, why not visit one or more of these accessible Alabama trails? Views, wildlife and heart health are guaranteed on these wheelchair and stroller-friendly trails that are suitable for all ages.

1. Cheaha State Park—Delta

Bald Rock, Doug Ghee Accessible Trail
The Doug Ghee Accessible Trail at Cheaha takes you to the Bald Rock Overlook. (Pat Byington / The Bama Buzz)

This 1/4 mile boardwalk trail is family-friendly, ADA accessible Alabama trail and a favorite for bird-watchers. Plus, it takes you to gorgeous views at the Bald Rock Overlook through a hardwood forest. You’ll learn more about Cheaha’s history, culture and natural history thanks to interpretive signs along the trail.

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2. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge—Decatur

Cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. (Pat Byington / The Bama Buzz)

This 35,000-acre Wildlife Refuge was established back in 1938 as a wintering area for ducks, geese and other waterfowl. Today, you’ll find thousands of waterfowl and cranes wintering in the Refuge, including the endangered whooping crane, which first arrived in 2004. The park is undergoing some renovations and repairs, so call ahead to make sure you can go where you want to go.

In addition to hitting the trails, let Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama help take care of your health in 2023.

3. Bolton-Orr Ecological Preserve at Ebeneezer Wetlands—Montevallo

Ebeneezer Swamp is just beautiful. (M. Hardig)

Not every university can claim its own swamp, but Montevallo can. Ebeneezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is located about six miles from campus. While there, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world, full of unique plants, creatures and abstract animal sculptures.

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4. Chief Ladiga Trail—Piedmont

Chief Ladiga Trail Eubanks Visitor Center
Eubanks Welcome Center on the Chief Ladiga Trail in Piedmont. (Jak Conrad)

This 33-mile route is a great way to cover some distance, see some beautiful sights and make your way to the Alabama-Georgia line. Alabama’s first Rails to Trails project, it is fully paved along the route. Whether you’re pushing a stroller, a wheelchair a bike or your own feet, you’re sure to have an adventure to remember.

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5. Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail—Gulf State Park

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
Gulf State Park Map with trails (GSP Website)

28 miles of interconnected trails meander through nine distinct ecosystems, so you’re sure to see loads of different flora and fauna, whether you’re walking, riding or something else. This trail has been named a National Recreational Trail by the US National Park Service and an Alabama Coastal Birding Trail.

6. Muscle Shoals Reservation Trails

Looking Toward Muscle Shoals
Here’s the view from Florence looking toward Muscle Shoals across the river. (Sharron Swain / The Bama Buzz)

Around the Wilson Dam area of Muscle Shoals, you’ll find 17 miles of trails, and some are ADA accessible. Expect to see wildflowers, historical sites and wildlife in this beautiful area overlooking the Tennessee River.

Eager for more places to hike in Alabama? We’ve got 5 Alabama hiking trails you need to check out today for spectacular views, exciting wildlife + more.

Make 2023 your healthiest year yet with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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