Scenic views are numerous throughout Alabama. From the coastal plains to the Cumberland Plateau, Alabamians are close to a spectacular destination. With so many places worth a visit, it’s hard to pick top destinations for amazing views. Based on places explored on this site, we’ll take a look at five destinations with stunting vistas.
The Smith Mountain fire tower, original built by the WPA in 1939 and opened to the public in 2012 offers panoramic views of Lake Martin. Nested in Jacksons Gap Alabama, the 80 foot high restored fire tower allows visitors gorgeous views of the lake and forest landscape from the 7 ft by 7 ft cab. When a top the tower, visitors are 780 feet above Lake Martin. In addition to the views, visitors can enjoy a hike on one of the multiple trails or listen for one of the many bird species which call the longleaf pine forest home.
Little River Canyon National Preserve established in 1992 is a 16,000 acre national wildlife preserve located outside Fort Payne Alabama. The 11 mile scenic drive located on the western side of the canyon, takes motorist along a curvy two lane road. Along the drive are eight overlooks and other various pull offs allowing visitors splendorous views of the canyon. The preserve is also host to several hiking trails and backcountry areas. Of these Eberhart Trail offers the easiest access to the bottom of the canyon. Two water falls, Little River Falls and Grace’s High Falls, can be seen along the drive and a third accessed from the Little River Falls parking area. For those looking for a scenic drive or an adventurous hike, Little River Canyon offers both. More information at http://www.nps.gov/liri
Located in three counties, Buck’s Pocket State Park has been home to Cherokee Indians as well as used for growing coffee and olives. Secluded in a natural pocket of the Appalachian Mountain foothills, wildlife is abounded and offers a great atmosphere for birding or a quiet picnic. Funding for the park has been minimal as can been by the dilapidated picnic and playground area at Point Rock. But do not let the ghostly swings and detreating pavement deter as the view from Point Rock of Buck’s Pocket is amazing. The panoramic view from the CCC era built observation area high atop the sandstone rocks proves to be one of the best unknown views in Alabama. The winding creek and exposed rock bluffs make the trip worth the effort. More information at http://www.alapark.com/bucks-pocket-state-park
Cheaha State Park is one of the most well-known parks in Alabama. The parks 3,000 acres encircle Alabama highest peak and adjoins the Talladega National Forest. Opening in 1933, Cheaha is the oldest continuously operated state park. The park hosts many CCC era rock structures as well as the manmade Lake Cheaha located downhill from the main park. The best views come from Bald Rock which is a short walk along a wooden boardwalk from the Bald Rock Group Lodge. Stunting views are also available through the floor to ceiling windows in the restaurant or from the restaurant’s back porch. At 2,407 feet above sea level, Bunker Tower offers a great view of the surrounding mountain range. Keep in mind fall is a great time to visit and observe the fall leaves through the valley. More information at www.alapark.com/cheaha-state-park
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve near Irondale hosts 12 miles of hiking trails and hosts a visitor center containing native Alabama animals including raptors, snakes, turtles and owls. Once home to Birmingham’s mining industry, the iron ore mines and stone quarries are now silent, a monument to an era past. The Quarry trail along with the Overlook trail provide a remarkable birds-eye view of the city and the quarry as well. Several other overlooks can be accessed from the Quarry trail and offer views of the suburbs of Birmingham. Additionally, plans are underway to refurbish the fire tower atop the mountain to provide a truly astounding panoramic view of the area. More information at http://ruffnermountain.org/