Appalachian Highlands | Shelby | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Summer
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is an upland hardwood swamp on Spring Creek, made accessible for nature-lovers by a boardwalk built and maintained by the University of Montevallo. The dominant tree is the Tupelo Gum, with a rich mixture of other hardwoods and Loblolly Pine. The birding begins as you approach the boardwalk from the parking area. Open fields and dense thickets along the path offer habitat for a variety of birds. The boardwalk extends out into the swamp, offering good opportunities in spring and summer to see Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parulas, Common Yellowthroats, and Yellow-throated Warblers. In recent years, this location has become a prime nesting area for Prothonotary Warblers.
Other summer residents include Summer Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, and Hooded Warblers. This is an outstanding location for spotting year-round residents such as Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers. Wood Ducks, though wary, are usually present. Barred Owls are also quite common. The area’s rarest sightings include Glossy Ibis and Purple Gallinule. Besides the rich and diverse bird population here, there are also chances to glimpse Beavers, a keystone species here. The swamp also is a great place to observe a variety of dragonflies and damselflies, as well as wetland plants such as Tupelo gum, Sweetbay Magnolia, Virginia Sweetspire, Golden Club, and a number of species of orchid.
GPS: 33.16777441277244, -86.80946947939047
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve (Mailing address)
Montevallo, AL 35113
Amenities: Parking, restrooms, trail
The boardwalk itself is accessible, but access to the boardwalk can be a challenge if there has been rain recently. The field prior to getting onto the boardwalk can be muddy and a challenge for those in wheelchairs. We rate this site as somewhat accessible due to the packed walkway. The excellent boardwalk is easy to manage, but make sure that the area has not had any rain recently, as there are 100 feet of grassy field before the path starts and another 200 feet of hard-packed dirt trail before the boardwalk begins. During dry conditions, this shouldn't be an issue. There is a lip of about 1 inch at the beginning of the boardwalk that can be a challenge for those in wheelchairs to manage alone. Once on the boardwalk, the remainder of the trail is very accessible and easy to utilize. There are accessible restrooms at the site as well. Parking can be challenging, as there are no accessible parking spaces and it is shoulder of the road parking only.
From I-65 south of Birmingham, take exit 238 at Alabaster (Shelby County) (Ample lodging, dining, and service stations), and turn north on US 31. In 0.2 mile, turn south on US 119. Follow Highway 119 to Shelby County 24 and turn East on County Road 24. Drive 0.5 miles and turn left on Stagecoach Road; drive through the metal gate into the parking lot for the Ebenezer Swamp boardwalk. There are restrooms here but no other visitor amenities.
Amenities Available: Restrooms, Wheelchair Accessible
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