Oak Mountain State Park
In the foothills of the Appalachians, Double Oak Mountain lies at the core of the nearly 10,000 acre Oak Mountain State Park, located just 20 minutes south of Birmingham in Pelham, Alabama. The slopes and valleys of the parallel ridgelines serve up miles of blissful single track and technical diversity. The mountain bike trail system, dubbed the “Red Trail”, is near 25 miles and is part of an array of activities this Alabama State Park has to offer. The Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP) along with Alabama’s DCNR State Park Division, Shelby County and the City of Pelham have worked hand in hand to elevate the caliber of mountain biking at this venue.
Consider an assortment of natural surface trail from exciting, family-oriented riding to boulder outcrops that favor the most advanced riders; all flowing seamlessly with the surrounding vistas, lakes and natural features. The makeup of this trail system is evolving into a stacked loop that offers several different mileage options out of the South Trailhead parking lot.
For an all-day epic ride, consider the following route:
Start out from the South Trailhead and onto the Lake Trail for some stunning views of Double Oak Lake before pedaling your way around and over the folds of the northern valley. You might be tempted to try out a few purpose-built features or to take a detour on our Pump Track (coming soon). If that’s not enough, you’ll also catch a glimpse at some of the park’s Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) structures built during the Depression era.
Next, you’re in store for a 600-foot climb up to the ridge, where a couple of options await you. Try your hand at the expert-level Boulder Ridge section where you’ll find a littering of boulder fields and drops certain to test every inch of travel on your ride or continue on a fast and rocky fire road towards West Ridge. Offering stunning views of the accompanying ridgeline and northern Shelby County, West Ridge is a section you won’t want to miss. The native vegetation and rock formations in the area are something to behold, but don’t take your eyes off the trail for too long because this advanced section is sure to challenge your handling skills.
Lastly, it’s time to head down Double Oak Mountain through the legendary Blood Rock section and onwards to a screaming Johnson’s Mountain decent. The ebb and flow of Rattlesnake Ridge wraps things up as you make your way back to the South Trailhead, where you’re sure to find plenty of Southern hospitality among the locals celebrating with their favorite post ride traditions. Get your ride and yourself cleaned up at the bike wash and changing room before taking your pick among the many food establishments just outside the park’s gate.
Location: Latitude 33°19'21.42"N Longitude 86°45'43.75"W
Directions to Trailhead from Birmingham:
- I-65 South to exit 246 for AL-119/Cahaba Valley Rd
- Turn onto AL-119 S/Cahaba Valley Rd heading south
- Take the 1st left onto Oak Mountain State Park Rd
- Continue on Oak Mountain State Park Rd for 1.9 mi
- Turn left onto John Findley Dr
- Continue on John Findley Dr for 2.6 mi
- Turn right onto Terrace Dr
- Continue on Terrace Dr for 1.4 mi
- South Trailhead is on the right
Route Information/Tips: Start out of the South Trailhead parking lot and onto the Lake Trail. Take a left onto Rattlesnake Ridge to ride all or part of the loop in a counter-clockwise direction. Alternatively, stay on the Lake Trail to ride a clockwise direction. Access to the trail is also available at the North Trailhead and BMX Area (Tranquility Road).
Length of suggested route: ~23 miles (Trail system contains a total of roughly 25 miles and is currently expanding)
Difficulty: The suggested route is very difficult. Depending on the sections chosen, difficulty can vary between easy, intermediate and very difficult and is marked as such.
Tread: Natural Surface
Trail Stewards/Caretakers Contact Info: Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (www.bump.org or info [at] bump [dot] org)