Our List of Top Alabama Waterfalls

Little River Falls, Little River Canyon

Trivia question: What Southeast state boasts a wilderness known as “The Land of 1,000 Waterfalls”? That’s right, it’s Alabama!

The Sipsey Wilderness in Bankhead National Forest earned that nickname thanks to its plentiful falling water features. However, Alabama is blessed with an abundance of absolutely beautiful waterfalls across the state. We built a list of some of the best Alabama waterfalls and grouped them based on the accessibility. Make the most of your Waterfall Wednesday by discovering one of these gems:

No hiking required

No need to grab your trekking poles for these views. Jump in your car and go explore. Pro tip: picnics are always a good idea on these trips!

Little River Falls

Our first stop on the Little River Canyon tour is Little River Falls, after all, it is the park’s namesake. This waterfall is very accessible. Much like all waterfalls, this waterfall is highly dependent on the rain. When the waterfall is strong, stay up on the overlook for your safety and take in the amazing scenery. 

Insider tip: In the summertime when the water is low, take a nice hike down to where the river usually runs, and this spot duals as a great swimming hole! If the water flow is light, you may be able to even swim out and sit under the falls! Just remember to bring suitable footwear as the rocks can be slick.

Noccalula Falls

Located in Gadsden, Alabama, Noccalula Falls Park is home to one of the state’s most famous waterfalls, Noccalula Falls. These beautiful falls cascade over 90 feet into the Black Creek ravine. Upon visiting Noccalula Falls, you will notice a statue of a Cherokee princess by the same name after which the falls are named, and you can learn more about her story at the park. Noccalula Park also features primitive tent camping and hiking trails. The Black Creek Trails consist of 15 routes and connectors for those who enjoy walking, running, hiking, and bicycling. This trail allows you to walk under the falls for a spectacular view from below.

Pictured: Kinlock Falls Image Credit: Jody from www.alabamawaterfalls.com

Kinlock Falls

Kinlock Falls sits about 100 feet from the park road in Bankhead National Forest. It is accessible for kids and dogs and makes a great stop as you make your way through the forest or for a nice afternoon. The hike is easy and the falls are picturesque, and the pool at the bottom of the falls has become a top swimming hole destination. 

DeSoto Falls

Located in Desoto State Park in Mentone, in northeast Alabama is DeSoto Falls. This 107-foot beauty is one of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls in Alabama. It’s easily accessible for all levels and ages of outdoor enthusiasts, but keep an eye out on children and furry friends near the railings. 

Coldwater Falls

Coldwater Falls is located in Spring Park in Tuscumbia. While this waterfall is actually man-made, it is definitely worth the trip and the park offers great amenities and activities for a fun-filled family weekend!

Grace’s High Falls

Also located in Little River Canyon is Grace’s High Falls. This is officially the tallest waterfall in Alabama, coming in at 133 ft. While this waterfall is very seasonal due to rain, it is a great add on to your next Little River Canyon waterfall tour. 

Short hike

Keep in mind that even though these waterfalls only require a short hike, not all of them are suitable for young children or dogs.

Pictured: Peavine Falls at Oak Mountain

Peavine Falls

You can access Peavine Falls in Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham through a variety of trails, including a short 1.2-mile loop. Dogs are allowed but some trails are steep so choose your route carefully. If you can, make your way down to the bottom of the 65-foot waterfall for better views and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. 

High Falls

A 0.8-mile dog- and kid-friendly loop in Grove Oak takes you to the 35-foot waterfall, which spans 300 feet and makes for a phenomenal panoramic sight. The pedestrian bridge provides another cool vantage, so check that out while you are there! 

Salt Creek Falls

If you’re looking for a relaxing spot made for meditation, head to Salt Creek Falls in Munford. From the parking lot, it is only about half a mile to the top of the falls, and the skill level is easy. However, The trek to the bottom of the falls is more difficult and steep. Be sure to bring proper footwear. Once you make it to the bottom of the falls, either set up your hammock or relax into your lotus position, and just chill. 

Long hike

Pictured: Eagle Creek Falls Image credit: Jody from www.alabamawaterfalls.com

Cheaha Falls

You can log a decent 2.1-mile hike out and back visiting Cheaha Falls in Lineville. It’s considered a great trail for bird watching, and it’s suitable for children.

Eagle Creek Falls

Eagle Creek Falls in the Sipsey wilderness requires a 2-mile difficult hike but offers views of several small falls. Make sure you have the right footwear and leave the dog and kids at home for this one; it requires creek crossings and features steep banks.



Gear up for summer adventures with Alabama Outdoors and we will See You Outside! Shop here for all summer outdoor essentials. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Definitive Guide to Cheaha: Part 1

By Cameron Sullivan

(Cameron Sullivan is a member of Alabama Outdoors’ eCommerce team and enjoys contributing his creative writing talents to our blog. He is also an avid trail runner and outdoor enthusiast.)

Trekking to a state’s highest peak often sounds like an arduous trip. In many states, that peak can soar from 6,684 ft. at Mount Mitchell in North Carolina to 14,417 ft. at Mount Rainier in Washington or 20,310 ft. at Mount Denali in Alaska. The peaks in many states are coveted destinations that take planning and skill to reach the top. The peak of Alabama, at Cheaha Mountain, is no different. 

At 2,413 ft. high, Cheaha Mountain, nestled in the heart of Talladega National Forest, ranks 35th out of the 50 highest peaks in the United States. It is often called “the Island in the Sky” due to the dense fog that often forms in the region. It is wedged in northeast Alabama towering over the southern tip of Cleburne County. From the peak, you actually can’t see much due to the blunt tip of the mountain and the forest that surrounds it, but from the iconic Bald Rock, you can stare across one of the most incredible views in Alabama and get a glimpse of the state from a literal birds-eye view. 

Cheaha State Park is truly a gem, just isolated enough for a quiet getaway, and accessible enough for a weekend with friends and family. And that’s where my journey begins, traveling to Cheaha with a group of four friends, as part of an ad-hoc bachelor party for my 1st anniversary of my wife and mine’s elopement after delaying our original wedding due to Covid. Hardly roughing it, we promised ourselves we’d hike the toughest trails and spend more time outside than indoors to make up for it.  

So what does it take to get the most out of your trip to the top?

Where to camp + what to bring

For some, a journey to Cheaha State Park could be a layover from thru-hiking the legendary Pinhoti Trail. For others, it could be a day trip or a weekend escape. No matter what trail you take there, you’ll want to stick around for a bit. Some of the biggest sites like Bald Rock, Pulpit Rock, the Observation Tower, and Cheaha Lake are worth a day’s adventure. Either way, you want to make sure you have the appropriate gear for where and how long you plan to stay.

Cheaha State Park offers various improved and primitive campsites, most with water and bathhouse facilities, or you can even rent a cabin. 

Improved and primitive campsites:

The primitive campsites are close to the front and can be driven to easily. Picnic tables, fire pits, and water spigots were abundant and the spots were well-groomed and maintained. Despite the heat, the primitive spots sported robust tree coverage and shrubbery which kept the spots private. Some even featured incredible views over the side of the mountain.

The rentals at Cheaha State Park include: 

  • Rock cabins 
  • Rooms at the hotel
  • A-framed, fully renovated Chalets 

On our trip, we stayed in a two-bedroom chalet with 5 people, and fit comfortably. The chalet had a main living room with a tv and dining table, plus a kitchen, full bath, and two bedrooms. It even included an expansive porch where we spent most of our time. As a result, our gear needs were simple. We mostly packed food, drinks, games, and some essentials. 

From Alabama Outdoors, I rented two Nemo Astro sleeping pads and brought along two sleeping bags so myself and a friend could sleep comfortably on the floor. We spent two long nights on the porch playing card games lit by a Black Diamond Moji Lantern and some Black Diamond Headlamps

Gear for the trail:

When we hit the trails, I headed out in some well-worn Smartwool Light Hiking Crew Socks and trusty Keen Venture Mids, and carried everything in an Osprey Hikelite. And by everything, I mean a Hydro Flask 40oz Wide Mouth Bottle and 3 backup water bottles, plus a map and a portable fan. In an effort to pack light, I brought one pair of Patagonia Baggies that I wore almost the entire time. While all of our gear was for one full day of hiking, it was necessary. 

Cheaha State Park features over 10 miles of trails with various elevation changes and weather. So be sure to pack supplies like water, snacks, and sunscreen to stay safe. The essentials will ensure you get to enjoy everything the park has to offer.

What to do

So what is there to do in Cheaha? A surprising amount for such a small park.

Views at Bald Rock

The numerous trails are perfect for any level hiker, and the lookouts provide incredible views. Some of the easiest trails take you to cool spots like the Rock Garden or the Walter Farr Native American Relic Museum. Others take you to Bald Rock, Pulpit Rock, or even Cheaha Lake. Thru-hikers can even get on the Pinhoti Trail and mountain bikers can access a different set of cliff-side paths. Suffice to say, hiking and sightseeing are the main attractions here. 

Other activities include:

  • Checking out the cliff-side pool.
  • Did you bring your furry friend? Head to the dog park!
  • Have a picnic or small get-together with a group at the pavilions.


Want to learn more about what we do on a weekend at Cheaha State Park? Check out how we got lost looking for a 1.2-acre lake, summitted Mount Cheaha, and found the best view of a sunset in Alabama. Read it all in my Definitive Guide to Cheaha: Part 2!


Find the best summer gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Definitive Guide to Cheaha: Part 2

If you are just joining us, my name is Cameron Sullivan and I’ve been a team member at Alabama Outdoors for almost three years and today I’m talking more about Cheaha State Park.

Cameron Sullivan (center) exploring Cheaha Lake Trail with friends

In our last blog, The Definitive Guide to Cheaha Part 1, I went over where to camp, what to do, and what to bring with you for either a day or weekend getaway to Cheaha State Park. Follow along as I go more in depth on our weekend adventures at Cheaha State Park and the what to and what not to do’s.

So that’s where the journey begins, traveling to Cheaha with a group of four friends, as part of an ad-hoc bachelor party for my 1st anniversary of my wife and mine’s elopement after delaying our original wedding due to Covid. Hardly roughing it, we promised ourselves we’d hike the toughest trails and spend more time outside than indoors to make up for it. Let’s go!


Our travel through Talladega National Forest + check-in at Cheaha State Park

On the way out to Cheaha, you pass some incredible sights. From Talladega Superspeedway to the Coosa River, there’s plenty to enjoy on the drive. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Birmingham, going up I-20 to Oxford then heading down into the forest. 

With an elevation of 2,411 ft., a prominence of 1,444 ft. (how high above the other surrounding peaks), and an isolation of about 106 miles (its proximity to a similar-height peak), Mount Cheaha definitely stands out when you see it. 

Pulling off the highway, the mountain towers over some smaller peaks in the area. As you get closer you quickly go from suburban roads to county roads to a narrow mountain pass. The drive up takes you across a winding road about 10 miles from the town into the heart of the forest, and straight up to the park entrance. 

A rustic place built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park has a distinct look. The vintage stonework and painted wooden buildings are nestled amongst cabins, forest pines, and dotted quartzite. When you get up to the top, you pull into a parking lot next to the mountain store to check-in. 

Going in mid-June, we left Birmingham at about 85 degrees and thick humidity, but Cheaha is alien as it’s somehow more humid and cooler at the top. It was about 60 degrees when we got there, and it’s the first thing you notice when you step out. The thick, brackish air makes you feel like you’re gulping down lake water. Like a lot of climates though, you quickly stop noticing. 

We checked in Friday night, at around 6, and perused the mountain store. The mountain store is incredibly well-stocked, with plenty of food, drinks, supplies, games, guides, gear, and more. We could’ve come with nothing but a credit card and still had a great time. So, with the last remaining sunlight, we checked into our chalet and enjoyed the sunset.

Our A-Frame Chalet home away from home

Driving through Cheaha you go up a one-way road around the park until you hit the chalets. Renovated chalets line the cul-de-sac with open grass and rocky yards separating them. The chalets have a stone walkway leading you from the parking spot to the abode, with an outdoor grill and firepit nearby. Inside, the chalet features two rooms on the side with a queen-sized bed and a full bathroom. The living room features a couch and chairs, plus a dining table and a TV. 

We were able to start up the grill and a fire thanks to the bundle of firewood we got at the mountain store. With night set in, we sat on the porch and stared up at the clouds floating by like they were 10 feet overhead. After turning in for the night, we woke up to an incredibly bright blue, clear sky. 

Cheaha Lake Trail

Venturing on Cheaha Lake Trail

Now, Cheaha has a lot of hiking options, and all of them are interesting thanks to the plentiful views and many sights to see. When mapping out our hike, we mostly went by what seemed most interesting at 9 am on an 85-degree day; the lake.

Cheaha Lake, a 6-acre artificial lake, isn’t that far away on the map. The Lake Trail is a 1-mile hike down the mountain, on the southwest side. For this hike, I came prepared with an Osprey Hikelite Daypack, Keen Venture Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots, some trusty Smartwool Medium Crew Hiking Socks, and a pair of Patagonia Baggies Shorts. We set out with a bevy of supplies, mostly water, snacks, and a portable fan, but quickly met our match. 

While the trail is well-marked, it’s steep and requires some scrambling over rocks. We found that we could get down, but weren’t always sure we could get back up. Eventually, we found ourselves on a cliffside, slightly lost, and not sure how to get back. On this cliff, we could see far out into the valley towards the forest and into Talladega proper. About halfway down the mountain, we still had a great view of the surroundings and stayed here at least an hour soaking it in. We enjoyed the view, decided against continuing down and started looking back. 

We almost immediately found the trail, but finding we had turned off, it may have been a minute before we realized we were lost. So, with a resurgence of energy, we headed back up to the peak. Despite our lack of success, this trail is certainly worth doing, especially in the morning when you’re guaranteed the daylight to get back up. The lake was still appealing, but our lack of water and trail map made it difficult to commit to. 


Bald Rock- a must visit for the panoramic views + handicap accessible

Cameron Sullivan (on left) with friends at Bald Rock

Back at the top, we refilled our waters and found the free trail map, ensuring we made it to our next destination; Bald Rock. This overlook is an iconic part of Cheaha State Park and features a boardwalk and parking area so it’s handicap accessible all year. 

Walking to it from the chalet was possibly the steepest hike we did the whole trip, climbing up the one-way road for half a mile. At the parking lot, we found a well-maintained boardwalk that goes all the way out to the overlook. With informative signs and shady rest spots the whole way, this is a must-see for anyone visiting the peak. 

The peak itself is incredible, with a literal birds eye view of the surrounding mountains it feels like you can reach out and touch the sky. Bald Rock remains an iconic part of Cheaha for a reason, it’s one of the most incredible views in Alabama.

The Observation Tower

Heading from Bald Rock, we decided to go back up to the front gate for lunch. Looking at the map, the road took us right past the actual peak of Cheaha Mountain, at the observation tower. Out of an abundance of curiosity, we decided to stop by as it’s fairly close to Bald Rock. 

Walking up, the heavy-looking stone building features an observatory next to some radio towers, with a pavilion across the street. As we walked up, the building was open to the public and led us into an air-conditioned and incredibly welcoming staircase, easily 15 degrees cooler than the outside. From the observatory, you can see over the mountain, with a view to the south that can’t be found anywhere else. 

The observatory is a nice rest-spot, but if you’re rushed it’s not worth sacrificing other sights for this spot. The nice thing is that the observatory is nestled in the middle of the primitive camping spot, so thru-hikers and campers will find it easy to stop by.

DO have a bite to eat at the Vista Cliffside Restaurant

From the observatory, we continued to the Vista Cliffside Restaurant. Trekking through the primitive campsites we were impressed with the layout and amenities each site had. From the primitive sites, it was a short walk to the Vista Cliffside Restaurant. 

Catching the sunset on the Lake Trail

When we arrived, we were greeted at a front desk where they took our orders and pointed us to the expansive dining room with a deck. The menu features grab-and-go classics like burgers, pizza, and hot dogs. We were able to order and sit in the air-conditioned dining room and wait. While I always appreciate a good burger, these were truly phenomenal. Far from a gross cafeteria, the Vista Cliffside Restaurant was arguably the best part of the hiking experience. Refreshing and rejuvenating, we were able to continue from here in good spirits.

You can find their menu here if that made you wanting to know more. Did we mention the views are spectacular here, too? It’s called Vista Cliffside for a reason.  

Final trip notes

From the restaurant, you can see the main resort, pool, the overlook, some of the cabins, and the Walter Farr Native American Relic Museum. Outside of the gate, this museum is a great place to learn the history of the Creek Nation that originally lived in the region, and look at some of the remarkable artifacts they’ve found in the area. 

From lunch, we journeyed back to our chalet for more water before heading back out. We finished the day heading out to the Rock Garden overlook, getting a clear view of the giant quartz pieces jutting out of the mountainside. We waited out on a nearby ledge until sunset.  

While we missed some of the landmarks like Pulpit Rock and the lake itself, the trip was unforgettable. From the incredible sights and sounds to the remarkably well-maintained park, everything was the perfect balance of remote, accessible, and beautiful. If you get the chance to visit this gem of a park, try and stay for a night or two. 

Safe and happy travels and always remember the 7 Leave No Trace Principles when you go out and explore our beautiful parks and public lands! 


Find the best summer gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Introduction: Carl Stanfield sets off to hike 11,000 mi in 2022


I’m Carl Stanfield, former Alabama Outdoors Store Manager and employee for the last 3 years. After a season of life most of us are ready to stop talking about, I’m starting my next chapter with the biggest adventure I could fathom during the quarantine days. In 2022, I will be attempting to spend my entire year backpacking. And I just might break a record along the way.

Hiking Background

I spent the latter half of my twenties gathering experiences in wilderness travel and alternative living. In 2018, I spent 4 life-changing months thru hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine. Good fortune proceeded to spit me out of another successful thru hike the following year at the Canadian Border in Washington, having traveled 2,650 miles from Mexico by way of the Pacific Crest Trail

These experiences were challenging and deeply rewarding in their own ways. I loved the challenge, the trail community, the healthy mind, and the overall effect on my calves. 


So… What Do You Do After That?

But now, as I creep closer to the beginning of my 30th year of life and an anticipated drop in my body’s peak performance, I want to attempt a truly extreme athletic accomplishment. I know that my body can hold up for 4 or 5 months of wear and tear at a time, but could it take a year? I’d like to find out.

It turns out that the thru hiker lifestyle of living on America’s National Scenic trails and eating freeze dried food for months on end while meeting quirky fascinating people in small mountain towns is where I’ve found the zenith of happiness. I truly love that adventure, more than anything I’ve ever felt. And so far I’ve been quite pleased with how those experiences translate into “regular life” opportunities. I believe it is my trail record that helped my career at Alabama Outdoors, and I expect that expanding on it will continue to open doors for me.


The Goal

And so it is that next year, I will be attempting to travel 11,000 miles on 4 hiking routes through 24 states, pursuing both extrinsic and intrinsic milestones. These routes are the Eastern Continental Trail (Key West to Canada, 4,200 miles), the Pacific Crest Trail (Mexico to Canada, 2,650 miles), the Continental Divide Trail (Canada to Mexico, 3,100 miles), and the Mountains to Sea Trail (North Carolina, 1,100 miles). I believe the current record for miles traveled on foot in a calendar year to be roughly 10,300, set by arguably the most traveled backpacker in history, Cam Honan. 

The Route

My planned route will begin in Key West, Florida on January 1, 2022. A 200 mile road walk will take me to the southern terminus of the Florida Trail, where I will hike roughly 1,100 miles to the Alabama border. Another multi-hundred mile road walk takes me to the 340 mile Pinhoti Trail, which, after a small connecting trail, will get me to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. 2,200 miles later I will complete the first leg, ideally by mid to late May. Leg 2, the Pacific Crest Trail, will span 2,650 miles traveling north from mid May to early August. I will then hop onto the Continental Divide Trail in Canada and hike back down south to the Mexican border. 


This would complete the famed Triple Crown of Hiking, but I’ll still have one more relatively small trail I’d like to tackle. The Mountains to Sea Trail spans 1,100 miles and the width of North Carolina. I hope to start on the coast and hike west, finishing my trip near my home town of Maryville, Tennessee.

In order to achieve this lofty goal of mine, I will need to average just over 30 miles every day for the entire year. It’s a wild stretch of a goal to say the least, and I really do understand how insane it must sound. But I believe it is just on the brink of what is physically possible for me, and I want to try while I can.


Throughout this endeavor, Alabama Outdoors will be partnering with me, so you can expect to stay in touch through them! If you’re interested in following my personal account, you can do so on Instagram @prof_carl. 

Happy Trails!

How to Take Care of Your Hammock

Have you been stargazing and hammock-camping lately and feel it’s time to give your hammock a little wash? Or maybe you spilled something on it while lounging or accidentally poked a hole in it? Depending on the amount of cleaning and TLC your hammock needs, we have the tips and tricks for keeping your hammock in great shape!

What if my hammock gets wet? 

That’s ok!  ENO hammocks, made from nylon taffeta, can withstand normal outside conditions. Nylon is commonly and widely used in outdoor fabrications due to its quick-drying, flexibility, and yarn strength properties. When you are done with your adventure, just hang it out to dry. 

Spot cleaning and washing 

Before any type of cleaning, make sure to remove the carabiners. Also, make sure the carabiners are clean, dry,  and free of any sand or dirt particles that can cause erosion overtime on the metal. 

  • Spot cleaning. This is the easiest and quickest way to clean up your hammock if you have a small spill or stain. Use a soft cotton rag that will not be too abrasive on the material. Grab a small bucket or run the rag under cool water and blot the spot with the rag as many times as needed until the stain is removed. Let dry. If needed, you can use a drop of mild detergent or Woolite if the stain is more set. 
  • Hand washing. If it needs a full wash, this is the most recommended method as it is the most gentle method. You can easily wash your hammock in a sink, bathtub, or a bucket filled with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent or Woolite. Soak it and work the detergent around gently. Once cleaned, rinse it, carefully ring out the water, and hang to dry. 
  • Front-load washing machine. If you have a reliable front-load washing machine with various settings, you can use this option if you do not prefer to hand wash. If you choose to use the washing machine method, make sure to run it on the delicate or hand wash cycle, with cold water and a mild detergent. Hang to dry.

How to store an ENO hammock

The ENO hammock comes with its own storage bag already attached. We recommend using it! Make sure it is completely dry before you put it away and make sure it’s stowed in a dry, cool place. This will help keep your beloved hammock in top-notch shape for years to come.

If you have the perfect spot for your hammock and you like to keep it set up, go ahead! Just know that leaving it outside in the sun and weather can deteriorate the fabric over time. UV rays also can fade the fabric’s colors and break down its fibers. Just be mindful and check your hammock before each use to make sure it is in safe and working condition.

Repairing your hammock

Before each use, be sure to check it for any tears, holes, or any other signs of fabric wear.

If you get a small tear or hole in your fabric that is 2 inches or less, you can save your hammock with an easy-to-use repair kit. We suggest grabbing some of these fun gear patches ahead of time just in case something happens. Eagles Nest Outfitters also offers free repairs or replacements if your hammock is qualified under their warranty guidelines! Check out those guidelines here as well as other helpful information like what to do if your hammock knots get untied!


Find the best summer gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Restoration Academy: Maine Event

By: Clint Cvacho


The crew at the summit of Katahdin. Pictured (by trail name) Back row from left to right: Maverick, Silly Bear, Steam Roller, C-Train. Front row from left to right: Sole Man, Clutch, Goose, Primo, Night Hike

Maine Event: connecting students with nature

During my time teaching at Restoration Academy in Fairfield, recognizing the power of time spent in the outdoors to inspire and to develop relationships, I started an outdoor program to connect mainly African American students with nature.  The pinnacle of this program was something born out of a suggestion by one of the students who had gone on a few trips with me, who one day said we should hike the Appalachian Trail.  While hiking the entire trail was out of the question because of time constraints, it was amazing to have this African American young man suggesting such an ambitious outdoor goal, especially when it was not something we had ever talked about on a hunting or camping trip.  He was dreaming big, which caused me to dream big.  This comment set us on the path to endeavoring what is now known as the Fourteen State Challenge, but which we called the Maine Event.  We would take a group of young men and over the course of six trips in three years, we would hike a section of the Appalachian Trail in all fourteen states it runs through.


Alabama Outdoors partnership

Something of this magnitude could not even be begun without the right equipment.  For that, I turned to Scott McCrory with Alabama Outdoors for assistance in acquiring the gear we would need for the group.  Not only did he provide the gear we needed through free rentals and outright donations, but he also wanted to come along with us and bring his son, who was only six years old when we started in the fall of 2014!  The journey over the next three years took us to some of the most scenic places on the entire Appalachian Trail and put our diverse group into contact with the amazing trail community of the AT. 


Diversity on the trails

We constantly had our minds blown by the people we met and we were constantly blowing the minds of others.  You could tell that it was unusual to see a group of African Americans on the trail, but in our experience, instead of meeting opposition, we found most people to be interested in hearing the story of the students and their journey up to that point.  We found that lack of ethnic diversity on the trail did not, necessarily, translate into lack of inclusion.  We also found that as we summited Mount Katahdin on July 7, 2017, we were different people than when we had spent our first night on the trail on November 7, 2014. 


We all belong in the outdoors

All of the nights spent eating the same noodles, pitching tents in the same windy and cold conditions, and, all of the same strained muscles. All of the night hiking, all of the same endless ups and downs, all of the times we cursed Benton MacKaye for his idea, and all of the laughter, forged us into a brotherhood that no book club or shared seminar ever could.  We found out that the outdoors really does belong to all of us and is there to bring us together if we would just take that risky first step.


Check out our original story from that unforgettable experience, Exploring the Outdoors with Restoration Academy.


Interested in getting out on the AT or another thru-hike yourself? Let us help you find the gear you need for your backpacking adventureVisit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time.  #BeOutdoors

The Greater Outdoors with Cahaba River Society

Watershed Moments

The Cahaba River Watershed isn’t just the longest free-flowing river in Alabama. It’s a treasure trove of biological diversity as well as the primary drinking water source for the Birmingham metro area – one-fifth of the state’s population.


For obvious reasons, protecting such a vital local resource is something the Cahaba River Society was created to do.


The relationship between Alabama Outdoors and the Cahaba River Society is one that goes back more than a decade to the inaugural Cahaba River Ramble in 2006. That 5k and 10k race through the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge laid the groundwork for a partnership that has only grown stronger through the years.


Party on the Porch at Alabama Outdoors Homewood (2019)

“For several years, Alabama Outdoors hosted a Party on the Porch on the Friday night before the Ramble,” said Cahaba River Society Director of Development, Casey Laycock. The neighborhood get together has been a staple in Alabama Outdoors’ community engagement, helping raise awareness for – and generate support of – local organizations. Casey continued, “That event helped raise money for our cause, but the exposure it provided was tremendous and had a positive long-term effect. Giving us the chance to tell our story in the community was invaluable.”


Then came the opportunity to be the presenting sponsor for the Big Cahaba Clean-up, the most ambitious Cahaba River clean-up ever attempted. “We had more than 200 volunteers agree to scour trash from the Cahaba River from Trussville to Helena,” Casey said. “That’s close to 50 miles of river.”


Although inclement weather caused the event to be shut down, it didn’t deter the team at Alabama Outdoors. Instead of accepting it as bad luck and simply moving on from the massive event-that-could-have-been, Alabama Outdoors instead organized several smaller clean-up efforts throughout the season, completing the undertaking with far fewer hands than originally planned.

CLEAN Environmental Education Program

But things didn’t stop there. With the active involvement and support of Alabama Outdoors, the Cahaba River Society has been able to reach more than 37,000 Alabama youth and teachers with the CLEAN Environmental Education Program. CLEAN is opening doors to new environmental careers that are historically underrepresented by a large percentage of the youth it reaches.


Natalie Ferguson (AO) and LaTanya Scott, Environmental Educator for Cahaba River Society. Location: Little Cahaba River

“The overall experience with Alabama Outdoors has been incredibly supportive, collaborative and impactful,” Casey said. “They are truly involved in the communities surrounding their stores and believe in taking care of the world around them for the betterment and enjoyment of generations to come. We have been fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunity to grow with them over the years. Alabama Outdoors is AMAZING!”


Cleaning our drinking water, protecting our natural habitat and inspiring others to get involved. They’re all examples of how a wellspring of inspiration can lead to the dedication that flows through everyone at Alabama Outdoors. Just like the mighty Cahaba.


We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Store Spotlight: Homewood


Even though this last year was well, different; we are so thankful to all of our team members and customers who helped us make it through to 2021! To kick off the start of a new year we want to highlight our wonderful stores and communities who help keep us doing what we love!

This week we are headed to our Homewood store to chat with our store manager, Grace Willis! Our Homewood store is our flagship store and we have been so grateful to be a part of the community since 1975! Let’s check it out!


How long have you worked at AO and what interested you about working here?

I have worked with AO for 7 years. I originally began working at the Mobile store out of college. After a while, I became the Manager for over 3 years. After moving to Birmingham, I eventually came back to manage Inverness and now Homewood! I’ve been at Homewood for over 2 years now. -Grace


What we love about Homewood

I love what Homewood has to offer! Not only is it beautiful and quaint, but there is literally something around every corner and a shop or business for almost anything you can think of! It’s amazing how local-focused it is and how much that is supported! It really brings everyone together. -Grace


Which Alabama Outdoors core value resonates with you the most?

Our purpose – Influencing people to get outside in Alabama and beyond while building one connection at a time! The biggest “day maker” to myself and our team members is having the opportunity to not only get people excited about their next adventure and finding the right gear for those excursions but also hearing the incredible stories our customers have to tell us about the places they are going or have gone! I love living vicariously through others’ experiences. Plus, our customers can teach us a few things too! -Grace


Our favorite places to explore near Homewood

I know this is no “hidden gem” but honestly, I love Oak Mountain! There is so much to do there! It’s a great place for families, beginners or advanced hikers and campers, plus activities for everyone outside beyond just that. It truly will fill your day with plenty to do – or even a weekend if you choose to stay longer (I recommend it!). -Grace

Did you know?

Oak Mountain State Park has a demonstration farm that is a great activity for families! This Fall we partnered with Oak Mountain State Park to photograph our Fall product lines and we had so much fun with the staff there. The goats were so fun to feed and the peacocks are beautiful! The park is breathtaking and there is adventure around every corner!



What is your favorite brand right now and why?

Arc’teryx for sure. Some are intimidated by it, but it truly is a brand that anyone can enjoy. They are classic yet so advanced when it comes to technicality and detail. They put so much extra work and time into their pieces that they are meant to last you a lifetime. -Grace


What is your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Being from the Gulf, I definitely love any and all things water-related, whether that be snorkeling hidden natural springs, paddle boarding in the Gulf, or hammocking near a river! However, now that I live in Birmingham and have more access to great hiking and camping spots, I really enjoy it when I have the opportunity to go! You can’t beat the great weather we have in the Fall and early winter for camping! -Grace



Interested in adding hammocking to your Spring adventures this year? Pick out your favorite hammock and check out our video on How To Hammock!



We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Store Spotlight: Mobile

Even though this last year was well, different; we are so thankful to all of our team members and customers who helped us make it through to 2021! To kick off the start of a new year we want to highlight our wonderful stores and communities who help keep us doing what we love!

This week we are headed to our Mobile store to chat with our store manager, Collin Kendrick! Our Mobile store opened its doors in the Legacy Village at Spring Hill in 2006 under previous ownership and we have loved being a part of the community there. Let’s check it out!


How long have you worked at AO and what interested you about working here?

I have worked for AO for a total of three years now. I was originally hired in 2016 while I was in college. After I graduated I ended up coming back and ultimately became the manager here in Mobile. – Collin



What we love about Mobile

My favorite thing about our city is the uniqueness. Mobile and the community we have here are unlike any other in Alabama. While we don’t have the mountains like other areas of Alabama, we do have amazing deltas, rivers, and beaches. – Collin

Did you know?

Mobile is home to the original Mardi Gras celebration. The vibrant city of Mobile has been celebrating carnival since 1703 and they are proud of it! Complete with parades, beads, and family-fun all around, there is a lively spirit in Mobile during Mardi Gras. While this year will look different due to Covid-19, there will still be some parades that are on the schedule. So head on down to Mobile and be ready to catch some famous and delicious Moon Pies!

When you are there, stop in at our store to say hi to us and grab our Limited Edition Mardi Gras t-shirt (coming soon)!



Which Alabama Outdoors core value resonates with you the most?

Our purpose, which is to equip and inspire others to get outside in Alabama and beyond. The best feeling I get while working is when you outfit a new camper, hiker, skier, etc. and, then return to tell you about their awesome experience. – Collin


Our staff is full of passionate and knowledgeable team members who truly live our purpose day-to-day. At Alabama Outdoors, we believe that everyone should experience life in the great outdoors. We are the trusted resource in products and services to enhance your adventures. Whether you shop with us in-store or online, you will receive 5-star customer service with team members that love to share their experiences and knowledge. Come in and say hi and see what we are all about- we would love to help you!


Our favorite places to explore near Mobile

“Gulf State Park. If you haven’t been there you don’t know what you’re missing. Gulf State is a hidden gem of the coast and Alabama.” – Collin

Gulf State Park is located in Gulf Shores, AL just under an hour from Mobile. It has two miles of beaches, over 6,500 acres of beautiful land and nature, and 28 miles of paved walking/biking trails and boardwalks. So while you are down in L.A. (Lower Alabama) be sure to hit the beaches and trails and book a campground at Gulf State Park for a little R&R after your day of adventure.

Some other places we love near Mobile:

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

  • Location: Gulf Shores, AL
  • National Refuge with over 7,000 acres
  • Best for: Bird watching, photography, wildlife, fishing, and light trails to enjoy the sights and sounds of the wildlife refuge

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

  • Location: Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and the Gulf State Park
  • Over 15 miles of backcountry trails through 6 different ecosystems
  • Best for: Nature walks, camping, Butterfly Pavilion, hiking, cycling

Chickasabogue Park

  • Location: Eight Mile, Mobile County, AL
  • 1,100-acre outdoor recreation park with over 17 miles of trails
  • Best for: Hiking/biking, disc golf course, camping, fishing, swimming


Some of our favorite things at AO

Vuori. This brand has actually made get out and run again after taking a lot of time off. I love how innovative their products are and everything the company stands for. – Collin


What is your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Either hiking or skiing. But it’s actually skiing. – Collin

We are your hometown shop in Mobile for Aftco’s and your next favorite Chaco’s; but when the air is crisp and the mountains are calling, come check us out for all of your Ski gear essentials. We love to travel as much as you and we know preparing for a trip can be daunting especially when you have to outfit the whole family. To make it simple, we have everything you need to hit the slopes! All you will need to do is rent your ski’s and boots and of course- have fun!


We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Store Spotlight: Inverness

Even though this last year was well, different; we are so thankful to all of our team members and customers who helped us make it through to 2021! To kick off the start of a new year we want to highlight our wonderful stores and communities who help keep us doing what we love!

This week we are headed to our Inverness store on Highway 280 in Birmingham to chat with our store manager, Carl Stanfield, and some of our other awesome team members! Our Inverness store opened its doors in the Inverness Plaza in October 2012 and we have loved being a part of the community there. Let’s check it out!


How long have you worked at AO and what interested you about working here?

Pictured: Carl, Inverness Manager

I started working at AO just over 2 years ago in November 2018. I have a real passion for helping people discover the magic of enjoying the great outdoors, so I was stoked to see that AO places such a high value on just that. -Carl


I’ve been with AO since August 2019. Having grown up in the Birmingham area, Alabama Outdoors has always been a “go-to” to supply for outdoor adventures so when I began looking for a part time-job while also preparing for a Grand Canyon Adventure, it was at the top of my list. -Jonathan



What we love about Inverness

Did you know? Our Inverness store was the old Blockbuster Video!

I like the feeling here of being so near the big city and yet being close to a lovely stretch of State Park. We have a solid base of AO ‘loyals’ around here that are always excited to shop and see some familiar faces. -Carl


The Inverness community is one of the best suburbs of Birmingham. I have lived in Inverness for most of my life, and I love it because it has a great atmosphere. Everywhere you go, there are friendly faces to greet you with the southern hospitality that is common in Alabama. Inverness is perfect because it has aspects of a big city while still having lots of places to get outdoors and enjoy nature! -Ben



Which Alabama Outdoors core value resonates with you the most?

I love how much value we place on inspiring people to get outdoors. Our society has such an obsession with social media and binging on technology that it’s really refreshing to see a retail location place an emphasis on something different. We genuinely want to help folks get outside and have a great time, and I think that clearly shows in how we interact with customers. -Carl


Our core value of trust resonates with me the most. I believe that it is important to create a community of trust between a store and its customers, and I think Alabama Outdoors has done a great job at that. When I first started working at Alabama Outdoors, I was encouraged by the fact that we strive to build trust with our customers and let them know that we will not cut corners in equipping them with the best outdoor gear possible. -Ben


Our favorite places to explore near Inverness

My favorite place to explore near Inverness is Veterans Park. There is an awesome 5k cross country trail course that loops around the park. It’s perfect for some light trail running! -Anna


My favorite place to explore near Inverness is Oak Mountain State Park. It is such a great place to get out and enjoy the outdoors and it’s right here in our backyard! – JC



Some of our favorite things at AO

My favorite brand right now is Pura Vida. I love the reason behind why they started, and they always have cute things. -Bryndie

My favorite brand right now is Hydro Flask. I love that it comes in a bunch of fun colors :), and I can always take it on the go! – Natalie

My favorite brand right now is Yeti. They have a great selection of products, especially drinkware. I take my Yeti cup with me wherever I go and I love that it can keep my coffee piping hot all morning and my cold drinks cold all day long. – JC



What is your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Pictured: Anna, Inverness Operations Manager

My favorite way to enjoy the outdoors is being by or in the ocean. Surfing and snorkeling are my two favorite parts of being by or in the ocean. -Bryndie

My favorite way to enjoy the outdoors is by hangin’ out in an Eno because it’s super relaxing and a good way to just chill out. – Natalie


My favorite way to enjoy the outdoors right now is meditating on my yoga mat in the woods. During this crazy year, I’ve been looking for ways to calm down or be at peace and meditating has really helped. -Anna


For me, there is a great feeling of hiking a tough section of trail and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment while enjoying the view or seeing a unique landmark. Day hiking and backpacking is a great way to escape the crowds and the occasional craziness of daily life to slow down and enjoy some quiet solitude. I have also recently started running a little. – Jonathan



We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors