Red Mountain Park is a great destination in Birmingham for hiking and adventure. The park has many miles of trails as well as Ziplines and bean stalk forest. Grace’s Gap Overlook is an excellent spot to observe Birmingham from a distance not to mention the tree house you can venture onto along the hike.
Starting from the parking lot, take the entrance trail into the park. At the main kiosk, follow the Eureka Mines (Orange) trail towards the Adventure area and Ishkooda Mine #13. At the Blue trail, turn west and follow along the path until it intersects the Red connector trail at the launch point for the Ziplines. Trekking uphill, the Red connector will intersect with the Redding-Ishkooda trail (Green) near the top of the ridge. At the ruins, turn east onto the green trail and continue past the abandoned rail bridge and additional ruins. You will soon come to the Riley’s Roost treehouse. Detour off the main trail a few hundred feet to enjoy this great view. Continuing on the trail winds through dense forest remaining fairly level. The path is mostly small rocks, dirt and sand and wide in most places. Watch for broken glass in several areas along the hike.
The trail takes a S curve turning slightly downhill before it comes to a gravel road crossing. Proceeding straight you will pass a radio and a TV tower, as well as the guywires as the path weaves its way through open and forested areas following just below the ridge line. After a short trek you will come to the Rushing Rendezvous treehouse, which offers a better view during the winter months. A few hundred yards later you will come to Grace’s Gap and the wooden observation platform. There’s a picnic table at the gap as well.
Turning back along the same path, hike until you come to the intersection of the Redding-Ishkooda trail and the #14 Mine Spur. Turn south into a heavily forested area and proceed downhill along a much narrower and slightly rocky path. This section curves several times before ending at the famous #14 mine entrance. After exploring the mine and surrounding ruins, follow the #14 Mine Spur until it intersects the Ike Maston trail (Blue). At this point, continue straight on the trail which becomes the BMRR South trail (Brown). This trail is much wider and used for park ranger access. During the mining days, the path was a rail track serving the connect the mines. The BMRR trail continues past the Interactive Area and several Ziplines before coming to the main kiosk.
Overall the hike is interesting, filled with nature and history alike. The ruins of days past and informational boards at this points make for a great hike. The only downside is that many of the trails are poorly marked except at intersections. A few blazes along the way would make for a less confusing hike. The terrain is steep in some areas, so take your time and enjoy the trek.