Ruffner Mountain Quarry Trail, Birmingham

Directions: From I-20, take the Oporto-Madrid exit. Go down Oporto Road for +/- one mile. Get in the right lane and stay there. When Oporto begins to curve drastically to the left, slow way down. Look for a brown sign with white writing on it that says RUFFNER MOUNTAIN. Follow the sign. You will go about a half mile into an urban neighborhood with mainly houses. You will see another sign just at the bottom of a small hill. Follow it to the right and go up the hill. at the top of the hill, where it becomes single lane, is the entrance to ruffner. Park immediately.

Trail Information: Walk up the steps at the left of the parking lot to the wooden sign. It has maps posted and usually maps you can take with you too. Follow the signs that say QUARRY TRAIL. at first, there is a brief, steep series of rocks. I never run up these rocks as I am not that experienced at that. You can run for a minute or two freely after that, and then, just after crossing the asphalt road, there is another series of steep rocks that I wouldn't run up unless you are pretty experienced. These also are brief, after that, enjoy! this trail is fabulous, and there are some hills. Be careful when you see the sign pointing to the quarry. It was a rock quarry at one time, so there are lots of fist-sized rocks as you get closer to the quarry. If you have a partner with you, the quarry is great for bouldering. If you want to avoid the rocks, go uphill to your left just before the quarry entrance. A very challenging, steep climb, but worth it as there are two promontories with scenic views of downtown Birmingham. You can also see into the quarry.

Miscellaneous Information:: Ruffner Mountain is historic, and there is a trail just off the Quarry trail that will take you to the ruins of an old iron-ore mine. The Quarry trail is around 2 miles I believe, but there is also a Five-Mile loop that is labeled as such. After your run, go visit the rescue animals and birds at the visitor's center just in front of the parking lot.

Suzanne Bradley