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View Full Version : Oak Mtn State Park



n2o2diver
2006-10-09, 21:43
In my quest to learn more about my new home (Alabama Transplant) this weekend I headed up to Oak Mtn State Park. I knew very little about this place but I have an Alabama Trail guide book that said it was a nice place. Let me say, that is an understatement. The place is absolutely beautiful, well maintained, caters to a variety of activities and a very friendly and helpfull staff.

I arrived Sat about 3pm and stopped at the info center and picked up a trail map for 50 cents and inquired about hiking and camping. I was told to drive up to the entrance and inform them at the gate.

The gate person called the camping office and inquired about the camping, I guess it fills up quickly so reservations are recommended. You can camp on the trail but only in assigned designated areas and once they're gone your S.O.L. I was lucky and there was one spot open. So I made my way down to the Camp Office/Contry Store and met with a Park Ranger filled out the required paper work, you must have a photo ID, and paid my $3. The ranger was very helpfull and they have your read and sign the regulations.

After leaving the camp office its a short drive to the North Trail Head parking lot where you leave your car and display your pass. Again this lot fills quickly as it is the starting point for many of the different trails. Fortunately most people were leaving as I arrived so I got a spot.

I headed out on the South Rim Trail (Blue) to my assigned camp site abeam the blue/orange connector. It was approx 3.2 mi and begins with a lot of uphill climbs. The trail was well marked and in good shape, I wish I was. I made it to the top (its around 1000ft) a little winded but the trail becomes much easier as you hike along just below the rim. There are some good places to sit and have views of the valleys below. Actually my camp site was on the south side of the Rim with great views of the Pelham Valley. I couldn't have asked for a better spot to spend the night. The weather cooled to about 57 degrees and there was a steady light wind, which kept the bugs at bay. The only complaint I could make is the damn railroad tracks are at the base of the moutain on this side and it seemed like train whistles every hour, all night long. At least I got to keep waking up to see the stars in the full moon clear sky.

I pitched camp, ate dinner and admired the view for an hour or so before sacking out. At sun up I broke camp and got underway early to get to Pevine Falls for breakfast. On my way to the falls I saw a good size buck that jumped the trail stopped had a look at me then slowly made his way over the rim. I arrived at the falls but there was very little water flowing, I imagine in the springtime its quite a site. After breakfast I started out to the Wildlife Rehab center.

From Pevine Falls I followed the Blue trail to the South Trail head parking lot and picked up the Pevine Trail (Green). It is only about 1.9 mi so I thought it would be easy and quick. I'm a skier from since I was a kid, Green=Easy, Blue=Moderate, Black=Difficult. Well not in this case, I noticed from the maps contour lines that it was mostly down hill. Little did I realize that it was straight downhill. As I mentioned in my previous post I am a beginner, so "note to self" downhill is not easier. By the time I made it to the bottom my feet were killing me. I stopped, changed socks and loaded up on mole skin, my heels were still raw from last weeks trek. The Pevine Trail (Green) joined the Foothills Trail (Yellow) and takes you to the Rehab Center.

The Wildlife Rehab was a very nice facility tucked into a very seclude spot in the park. They had the gamut of sick and injured like birds, squirrels and yuk, Snakes. I was really facinated with the bobcat. I spent about 15 min just watching the cat, what a neat animal, and I am not a "cat" person.

From the Rehab the yellow trail winds over some foothills for a few miles, follows some small shallow creeks with some fish in them before comming to the Stone Dam that makes the Old Lake. The stone dam was quite impressive it looks like all the stones are hand laid, must have taken a while to build. The trail follows the lake shore for a while and its very picturesque, I was wishing I had my fly rod. After leaving the lake area you follow along some feeder streams to an quiet hollow called Maggies Glenn, nice place for a rest before the final miles back to the North Trail head, which was a lot of up hill. Total miles was right at 15.3 according to my GPS.

Overall the place is fantastic. The trails are well taken care of and very clean with good markings. Bring water or some type of filter as the Falls and Creeks were the only water sources, other than the restrooms at the rehab center. I would like to go back and ride the moutain bike trail, which seemed very popular. This is Alabama's biggest state park and it is close to BHM so it is busy, but in no way crowded. I encountered less than 20 people while on the trail and most were when crossing either the Mtn Bike or Horse Trails.

I'd rate the trails as moderate do to some of the hills which can be stenuous but if taken slowly its not too bad.

I plan to hike a different trail every weekend and see this State from the inside out, so until next weekend. Hope to see ya on the trails.

Mac

dixicritter
2006-10-10, 00:42
Nice to hear someone else's view of Oak Mtn. I grew up in that area knew that park pretty well. Thanks for the report!

bird dog
2006-10-11, 00:46
Mac, Do you have pictures? BD

n2o2diver
2006-10-11, 21:17
Sorry, I don't. I really need to get a proper camera. My phone takes pic's but they never come out that good so I just never bother.