Appalachian Highlands | Jefferson | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
Located in Homewood along Lakeshore Parkway, the Shades Creek Greenway (Lakeshore Trail) is a three-mile-long multi-use trail offering a scenic oasis just yards away from busy Lakeshore Parkway. Meandering along the floodplain forest by Shades Creek, the trail runs from Brookwood Blvd near Highway 31 to Greensprings Highway/Columbiana Road. There are water fountains and parking spaces at both ends of the trail.
The Greenway provides a safe, flat route and a chance to explore floodplain habitats of one of the most important streams in the Birmingham metropolitan area. An expansion of the Greenway in both directions is underway by the city of Homewood. Pileated Woodpeckers are possible here, as are Green Herons, Yellow-crowned Night-herons and Belted Kingfishers. This can be a good, very easy to access location for spring and fall migrants as well, as the trail offers an extended patch of habitat right in the middle of a bustling area.
The Greenway hosts plenty of wildlife and floodplain plants. The tree canopy here is different than other parts of the city. The trees along the Greenway include species such as American Sycamore and Box Elder, which are typical of the riparian – or riverside – forest. These trees need moist soils and are not usually found on the steep slopes of the surrounding hills and mountains. The lush meadows of grasses and wildflowers beneath the canopy adjacent to the greenway are great locations to practice wildflower identification or to seek out butterflies, beetles, and other insects.
The Greenway is maintained by the City of Homewood’s Parks & Recreation Board. Though there are many access points, two official trailheads offer parking at either end of the Greenway. Their approximate street addresses are:
1280 Columbiana Road, Homewood, AL 35209, USA
Corner of Brookwood Boulevard and Brookwood Village Road, Homewood, AL 35209
This is a paved trail with a fairly level grade. As it is in the floodplain of Shades Creek, it does flood. The path is generally in good repair, but plan accordingly and proceed with caution during wet weather. The paved path offers good views of the surrounding woodlands. The path is well traveled by runners, walkers and some bicycles.
Entrance 1280 Columbiana Road, Homewood, AL 35209
From US Highway 280, take the AL-149 exit toward Homewood/Mountain Brook; Turn left and continue on Al-149 west toward Shades Creek Greenway (Lakeshore trail). Parking is available at the Target for the east entrance, or you can continue down Lakeshore Parkway and turn left on Columbiana to the west entrance. There is a turn just past the bridge here into a paved parking lot.
From Interstate 65 (from Birmingham), take exit 255 toward AL-149 Lakeshore Parkway; use the left two lanes to turn left on to Lakeshore Parkway and travel .6 miles, turn right on to Columbiana Road and the entrance to the trail is immediately on the left.
From Interstate 65 (from Hoover/Montgomery), take exit 255 toward AL-149 Lakeshore Parkway; stay right off of the exit and turn right on to Columbiana Road. The entrance to the trail is immediately on the left.
Amenities Available: Wheelchair Accessible
Aldridge Gardens is a 30-acre former private home, 5 acre lake, gardens, and grounds now owned by the city of Hoover that has been converted to use as a botanical garden. The best time for serious birding attention here is during migration.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
One of the best and most-visited sites for songbirds in the Birmingham area, particularly in spring and fall migration. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens should be high on the “must-see” list for anyone interested in birding in the Birmingham area. Co …
Located within the 200 wooded acres of Lane Park, the Birmingham Zoo is one of Alabama’s most-visited tourist locations, as well as being a surprisingly productive place for year-round birding. The best birding on the grounds exists outside the Zoo i …
East Lake Park
East Lake Park is one of the best places in the Birmingham area to see birds, because it has a variety of natural features that provide food, water and shelter for a wide range of species. Using water from Roebuck Springs and Village Creek, this 45-a …
Five Mile Creek Greenway Brookside
The Five Mile Creek Greenway, as it passes through the small historic community of Brookside, provides access to the banks Five Mile Creek for about 3 miles. The Greenway trail begins at the end of the Bensko Park parking lot and winds along via a wi …
Lake Purdy is a 990-acre reservoir on the Little Cahaba River which provides drinking water for the City of Birmingham. Surrounded by protected woodlands, the lake and its environs have become one of those rare birding destinations that is always int …