5 Reasons Hiking and Camping in Early Fall Is the Best

Hikers in tents on mountain at night

Soon, the heat of the summer will finally wind down (we promise). That means that we’re quickly approaching our favorite time of the year to hike and camp. Early fall from late September and early October presents us with optimal conditions for a weekend trip in the outdoors. Here are five reasons hiking and camping in early fall really is the actual best.


WeatherAlabama's DeSoto Falls in autumn

Summer hiking and camping is great, but it’s not always comfortable due to the heat — and it’s been a blisteringly hot summer. Early fall introduces cooler air, less humidity and more predictable rain conditions. This means that sleeping in a tent is less stuffy and a good, lightweight sleeping bag is all you need to stay warm.



Pack and supplies at mountaintop campgroundBugs

Another benefit to the cooler weather is fewer pesky bugs. While no camping trip ever will be insect-free, cooler air means fewer mosquitoes bugging you and fewer flies and gnats swarming your site looking for food. Still, be sure to pack a DEET based mosquito deterrent to protect from pesky bites.



HikingWoman wearing loaded pack on mountain hike

Early fall presents the perfect conditions for longer hikes. The cooler air will keep you from getting as drained by the heat as you might in the summer. This means that fall is the perfect time to try that long hike you’ve been wanting to go on. Always remember to take a buddy and plan hikes that make sense for you!



Red house on lake near DeSoto Falls, AL

Changing Landscape

While the cooler weather creates the most comfortable conditions for hiking and camping, it also creates the most beautiful. Trees reach their peak foliage colors in mid to late October. And, we promise, there is nothing quite like a great view of a forest when the leaves have changed. For a full tour of Alabama’s most beautiful foliage, check out the Fall Color Trail.

Get OutsideSocked feet of a couple relaxing in tent

Last but certainly not least, taking time to relax and explore and take a break from deadlines and technology may be exactly the medicine you need. Taking a break from work in the long holiday desert between Labor Day and Thanksgiving by getting outdoors is good for the soul.

Now that we have you convinced, pack your reliable hiking backpack and set out for a weekend of self-care and enjoyment as you enjoy everything early Falls has to offer.


Text by Amy Haupt

Water-Resistant or Waterproof: What’s the Difference?

Woman wears rain jacket on wet hike

You’re on the hunt for a new rain jacket, but you keep seeing the words “waterproof” or “DWR” or “water-resistant.” There are so many terms to learn, and you’re just trying to stay dry. Luckily, the confusing language is easy to break down. Once you know the lingo, you’ll know immediately if a product is water-resistant or waterproof.


Droplets on Water-Resistant FabricWhat makes clothing water-resistant or waterproof?

Simply put, DWR, or “durable water repellent,” is a chemical that repels water. When applied to the surface of a fabric, DWR allows the fabric to repel water better. This repellent may seem like the cure-all, but there’s a lot more when it comes to keeping you dry.



Little boy wears rain jacket in stormHow do you rate whether fabric is water-resistant or waterproof?

HH ratings, or Hydrostatic Head ratings, are the level to which a fabric is resistant to water. A garment’s HH rating shows what kind of conditions it’s meant for. The scale can range from 1,500mm to 40,000mm+. Ranges within the scale provide the weather conditions meant for each range. The larger the number, the drier you’ll stay.


Man wearing waterproof jacket reaches into springWhat is water-resistant?

Water-resistant jackets are designed for those days when you expect a light shower or two. These jackets are scaled at 1,500mm-5,000mm. Water-resistant jackets are treated with DWR for a light contact of rain. Also, they don’t have taped or sealed seams. This means that you might get a little wet if that small shower turns into a heavy rain. However, they’re perfect for light rain and cool temps!


Happy couple wearing waterproof jackets in rainWhat is waterproof?

Waterproof jackets are the way to go if you’re expecting a heavy rain and want to stay dry. With a rating of 5,000mm+, these jackets typically come treated with DWR along with a built-in membrane lining. This membrane lining helps to ensure you stay dry. The seams of a waterproof jacket often come fully sealed or taped as well.
Who knew that there was so much in the making of rain jackets? Finding just the right jacket can get confusing, but now you’re ready to conquer the next rainy day.


By Jonathan Mendoza

The Official Alabama Fall Bucket List

Fall Colors in North Alabama

It may still be scorchingly hot, but believe it or not, fall is just around the corner. To celebrate the coming of our favorite season to be outdoors, we compiled a list of our favorite fall activities. Here’s our official Alabama Fall bucket list!

Family wearing rainboots by apple baskets


Visit a “U-Pick” Farm

Nothing quite says fall festivities like visiting a “U-Pick” farm. Whether you want to pick pumpkins, gourds, fresh apples or even sunflowers, Alabama has it all. Spending a day visiting Old Baker Farm and touring their grounds will put even the biggest Pumpkin Spice hater in the fall spirit.

Visit the Farmer’s Market Farmer sells produce at Farmer's Market

If you can’t make it to a U-Pick farm, be sure to stop by a local farmer’s market to pick up delicious fresh produce. The Market at Pepper Place in Downtown Birmingham is trendy, dog-friendly and has tons of amazing farm, food, and arts and crafts vendors to visit.

Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, AlabamaVisit a Haunted House or Take a Ghost Tour

One of the best things about fall is Halloween. Visit one of Birmingham’s many spooky attractions as October 31st gets closer. We highly recommend Sloss Fright Furnace for a one-of-a-kind fright night experience.

Take a Hike

There is no better time than fall to get outdoors for a good hike and some fresh air. Visit one of Alabama’s stunning state parks to fully enjoy the changing season. Cheaha State Park offers amazing views of Alabama from the highest point in the state. Or, try Little River Canyon for breathtaking views of its river and the surrounding forests.


Make Your Way Through a Corn Maze child walking though the corn field

When it comes to traditional fall fun, the pumpkin-shaped Magnolia Corn Maze doesn’t disappoint. However, the Magnolia takes mazes to the next level with Zombie Paintball. Yes, we said zombies. Zombies aren’t your thing? Head over to the petting zoo or pony rides. It’s a family-friendly experience you don’t want to miss! The Magnolia Corn Maze is open from September 29th to November 3rd.


Text by Amy Haupt

Land Aid Ticket Giveaway

Land Aid Ticket Giveaway Graphic

Freshwater Land Trust‘s 10th Annual Land Aid event is coming up, and we’ve got tickets to give away!

Canoe on easement in Alabama

This year’s Land Aid event takes place on Friday, September 14th at Avondale Brewing Company. The headliner? Birmingham’s very own Will Stewart, joined by special guests The Green Seed and Rebecca Egeland. Come by when doors open at 6:00 p.m. for fun, food trucks and giveaways, including a $100 gift card from us here at Alabama Outdoors. The best part? All proceeds benefit Freshwater Land Trust’s conservation and trail-building efforts. Since 1996, the Freshwater Land Trust has worked to “conserve, connect, and care for land and water in Central Alabama, creating dynamic green spaces for future generations.” The Trust has protected over 10,000 acres in Central Alabama, including the Cane Creek Watershed and the Red Rock Trail System. Their work protects Alabama’s status as one of the most biologically diverse states in the country and preserves Alabama’s outdoor spaces for generations to come.

Excited? So are we! Follow the instructions below for your chance to win TWO tickets to Land Aid!



Head on over to our Instagram account and find our Land Aid Ticket Giveaway announcement. Then, you’ll need to:
1. FOLLOW (or make sure you’re following!) us at @alabamaoutdoorsofficial on Instagram,
2. FOLLOW Freshwater Land Trust at @freshwaterlandtrust on Instagram, and
3. TAG a friend in the comments of the Giveaway announcement post. One comment = one entry. No limits to the number of entries!

Entries accepted from Thursday, 9/6/18 until 5 PM CST on Monday, 9/10/18. Two winners will be selected at random and notified by direct message on Instagram by 12 PM CST on Tuesday, 9/11/18. You must be 18 years or older at the time and date of entry and a resident of Alabama to win. No purchase necessary; void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way associated with or endorsed by Instagram. See the official rules here.