Shelby County Hikes With The Best Views

Published: June 14, 2024

Shelby County’s natural beauty cannot be understated. Throughout Shelby County there are flowing rivers and streams, dense forests and open meadows, and high peaks with breathtaking views. Although some places take a bit of a hike to get to, in many ways that’s the best part! Discover the most scenic hikes in Shelby County with breathtaking views!

Shelby County Hikes With The Best Views

The best way to experience the breathtaking beauty of Shelby County is by heading out to a local trail to experience it firsthand. Luckily, Shelby County is filled with miles and miles of beautiful trails that meander through pristine and relatively untouched wilderness. The views that you can experience in Shelby County are as diverse as the terrain. You can see blooming flowers that find their home only in Alabama or discover the excitement of local waterfalls. You can take in the breathtaking views of the state from atop glorious peaks that are well worth the hike or trek alongside beautiful lakes and streams. The possibilities are endless, so keep reading to find out the best spots to go and get out there!

King’s Chair Loop — Oak Mountain State Park 

First on our list is the King’s Chair Loop at Oak Mountain State Park. It is no surprise to those familiar with the area that Oak Mountain is where we start. This state park has been a favorite of Shelby County residents and Alabamians for years. The well-maintained trails and helpful rangers make the park a breeze for people of all hiking experience levels. 

Kings Chair Loop is a roughly 4 ½ mile trail that features an amazing overlook view called the King’s Chair. This overlook allows you to see for miles across acres and acres of expansive Shelby County Forest. The hike itself is of moderate difficulty. Although the trail starts with a relatively steep incline, it levels off as the hike goes on. Besides, once you reach the king’s chair overlook and take in the breathtaking views for yourself, you’ll forget all about being tired from the hike up. Park at the North Trailhead and take the Blue Trail to experience the magic.   

There are few ways to experience the natural beauty of Shelby County better than visiting Oak Mountain State Park. And once you see the King’s Chair Overlook you will understand why this is such a popular hike. Bring lunch, a leash for your 4-legged companion, some hiking shoes, and head up the trail today!

Peavine Falls — Oak Mountain State Park 

Another Oak Mountain State Park favorite for spectacular views is Peavine Falls. Peavine Falls is a naturally fed waterfall that reaches to about 65 feet tall. After rainy days, you will typically find a roaring waterfall on your hike, but even in dryer spells, you can enjoy the beauty of the rock formation that makes up Peavine Falls. There are many routes to Peavine Falls, but most hikers prefer to park at the Peavine Falls Lot close to the gate and take the Green Trail. There are some challenging and rocky areas on the hike, but nothing too strenuous for a regular hiker! In the springtime, you can also expect to see an array of beautiful colored wildflowers to inspire you along the way.  

Cahaba River Park — Helena 

Did you know Alabama is home to its own species of lilies? The Cahaba Lily has been capturing the imagination of outdoor enthusiasts and artists alike for hundreds of years. Each spring, the Cahaba River is dotted with these beautiful flowers from April to July, and enthusiasts from all around flock to the river to see them firsthand.

Featuring around 30 miles of trails, Cahaba River Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Shelby County. In addition to the beautiful and unique Cahaba lilies, there is plenty of other beauty to observe as well. You can meander near the river, but there are also ridgetop trails in this park that allow you to take in breathtaking views of the surrounding pine forests.

Not only can you see beautiful landscapes and scenery in this park, but the park is also home to an abundance of wildlife as well. Bring a picnic and your walking shoes, and get out and enjoy Cahaba River Park!

Peaceful Easy Feeling – Cahaba River Park

Experience the beauty of the Cahaba River like never before on this scenic trail! With breathtaking views around every bend, you’ll be captivated by the natural splendor. Keep an eye out for the stunning Cahaba Lilies that bloom along the way, adding a splash of color to your adventure. The trail, aptly named Peaceful Easy Feeling, seamlessly connects to the Lost Lake Loop, offering serene vistas of a tranquil lake. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful escape, this trail has something special to offer.

Rust Bucket – Cahaba River Park

Rust Bucket Trail offers an easy and enjoyable hike through the picturesque Alabama pines. Midway through the trail, you’ll encounter the charmingly named Rust Bucket, an abandoned vehicle that predates the park and has become one of its most iconic features. This unique landmark adds a touch of history and intrigue to your adventure, making Rust Bucket Trail a must-visit for both nature lovers and history buffs alike.

Double Oak Park — Sterrett

Whether you prefer to hike or ride your mountain bike, Double Oak Park in Sterrett offers some of the best trails in all of Shelby County. At nearly 750 acres, this park has plenty of space for you to get out and explore! Take in beautiful views of the wooded surroundings and observe wildlife. You might spend a day bird-watching as you hike and see how many different species you can mark off your list!

Whether you are an experienced hiker or a complete beginner, Double Oak Park has a trail that is suitable for your experience level. Easy Rider, Morning Dew, and Fire on the Mountain are three of their most popular trails! Grab a water bottle and your hiking boots so that you can go out and enjoy this beautiful park and trails this weekend!

Watchtower Overlook – Double Oak Park 

Watchtower Overlook, named after the song “All Along the Watchtower” rivals the views of King’s Chair at Oak Mountain State Park. Parkgoers can arrive at this trail from the Double Oak Park Trailhead by starting at “Morning Dew”, connecting to “Truckin’” and finishing with “Fire on the Mountain” all the way up to the overlook. This path features some elevation climbs that will leave hikers with a sense of accomplishment. The county is also currently working on construction plans to create a trail that will connect Dunnavant Valley Park to the trails at Double Oak Park. We also have a Spotify playlist for the park that hikers can listen to since all of the trails are named after songs. 

Laurel Loop – Double Oak Park 

Laurel Loop is a single-track loop that has rocky mountain biking features and beautiful views for hikers. This is a mild hike with expansive views throughout the trail and towering trees. In the spring there are multiple wildflowers along the trail. Hikers have also constructed a rock formation and placed dinosaurs on the path to entertain themselves. It is a unique feature of the trail. 

Take In The View In Shelby County

Shelby County is home to a wonderful mix of terrains and ecosystems, and getting out and exploring the area can lead to some amazing experiences. There are so many different parks and trails to choose from, you could visit a different one each weekend for months! Start with one of the three favorites discussed in this article and take in the breathtaking views that can only be found in Shelby County!

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