Oak Mountain offers numerous hiking opportunities in both the foothills and atop Oak Mountain. During the summer months, the forest is thick with deciduous trees and flowering bushes. Starting at the North trailhead, we began along Peavine Road. From 1934 to 1937, the CCC developed Peavine Road, now marked as dark red on the official trail map, and Red Read to help visitors navigate the park. The road wound along tight curves, steep rock ledges, as it travels along Oak Mountain. Throughout this section, hikers can see numerous CCC era rockwork including 4 rocked stream crossings and several culverts and drains. Hikers also pass the site of a 346 ton boulder slide which occurred in April of 2014.
The road is rocky dirt and stone for the most part. The initial ½ mile is relatively flat, however, as you approach the south Red/Blue connector, the road becomes steeper. The forestry is pine and hardwood, and filled with lush vegetation during the spring, summer and early fall. Rocks dot the landscape as you approach the higher altitudes. At 1 mile you will reach a wooden bridge spanning a small gap. Just past the bridge, the south Red/Blue connector can be found.
Taking this connector up the mountain is strenuous. The path is narrow, rocky and washed out in several spots. This section of the hike is ¼ mile. At the top you will pass between several large boulders and then turn left (east) along the South Rim trail (Blue trail).
The South Rim trail starts in the Peavine parking lot and measure a little more than 6 miles. It follows parallel to the CCC Peavine Road, which transverses Oak Mountain at a lower elevation. The next ½ mile is relatively flat and travels along the top of the mountain. The path is rocky dirt and passes several good overlooks during the winter months.
Rocks and boulders are numerous. One ¾ miles into the hike you will reach the Kings Chair Overlook trail. A little less than 2/3 mile round trip, the extra millage is well worth the hike. Kings Chair offers a vibrant southward view during any season. Take time to stop, relax and take in the view. This spot would also make a good picnic location. Also, for those into backpacking, there is a primitive camp spot available right below Kings Chair.
Returning to the blue trail, hikers begin a downward decent off the mountain. The scenery is great during the spring and summer, with numerous flowering plants and birds along the way. A quarter of the way down the mountain is the Eagles Nest Overlook. Though I did not take this trail this time, it is worth the extra steps especially during the spring. The Eagles Nest trail will allow you to reconnect to the blue trail closer to the north trailhead and does not require that you retrace your steps. The last mile of the hike takes you through the forest, up and down rocky slopes and back to the north trailhead.
The north trail head is located closest to the back entrance to Oak Mountain accessible from Cahaba Valley Road (Hwy 119). From the back entrance, follow Oak Mountain Park Road 2 miles. Parking is on the right in the gravel lot.