The Flora Johnston Nature Trail is located in Irondale, Alabama just of Montevallo Road. The park has two trails, an upper and lower, which follow a branch of Shades Creek. From the trailhead, I decided to start on the upper trail path. Across the wooden entrance bridge, a large green sign marks the trail up the hillside. The trail ascends steeply up the hill with little switchback. Passing a few rock outcroppings, the trail intersects with a narrow logging road at the top of the hill. Turning left, the logging road portion of the trail is fairly level and just below a few houses along the ridgeline. Be sure to watch your step as the path has many small tree and plant stumps which can easily cause you to trip or stump your foot. The path continues just beneath the ridgeline until it comes to a set of power lines. At the power lines, I choose to follow the connector down the hillside to the lower trail. The upper trail appeared covered over and not well maintained. Reaching the lower trail, turn right to continue your hike deeper into the nature park. From this part of the trail, there are several small rock outcroppings. The creek, which follows the trail, provides a peaceful sound for the walk. At the end of the trail, you will need to turn around and follow the same path back to the power lines. This time however, continue past the power lines on the lower trail. Again, there are several rock outcroppings and several places to sit down and enjoy the creek. At one point you will come across a grave marker and manmade rock wall. With only a small metal gravestone and tree carvings, it’s not clear who or what is buried at the site. The trail continues along the creek until it reaches the trailhead.
Overall these trails are an easy walk, perfect for the whole family. The scenery is mostly woods and a few small rock outcroppings. Some birding would be possible during the spring and fall. If you’re in the area looking for something to do, take the short drive and enjoy a hike in the woods.