Another link in the growing chain of connected walking and biking trails in Jefferson County is now complete.
Representatives with the nonprofit Freshwater Land Trust, the city of Birmingham, the county, Jefferson County Department of Health and Red Mountain Park, among others, recently cut the ribbon on a new section of the steadily expanding Red Rock Trail system.
The section extends the two-mile High Ore Line, which runs south from Midfield, by a mile, linking the elevated rail-to-trail into the western end of Red Mountain Park.
Along with the High Ore Line extension comes a new western entrance to the 1,500-acre park, complete with a new visitor parking lot along Venice Road.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of High Ore Line Trail,” said Freshwater Land Trust executive director Rusha Smith. “This trail provides a beautiful place for walking and biking and makes accessing Red Mountain Park even easier.”
It is the latest addition to the Red Rock Trail system, an ambitious plan to build 750 miles of walking trails, bike paths and sidewalks connecting every corner of Jefferson County. As of midyear, more than 115 miles of trails had been completed.
In June, officials cut the ribbon on a new, two-mile section of trail in Gardendale, along the Five Mile Creek Greenway corridor of the Red Rock – one of six major corridors that make up the Red Rock master plan. The Gardendale section connects to an existing portion of the Five Mile Creek Greenway in Fultondale.
Last year, officials opened an extension of the Vulcan Trail, which begins atop Red Mountain on Birmingham’s Southside, just below Vulcan Park and Museum. The extension takes the trail farther west, to Green Springs Avenue, where walkers can connect to recently built sidewalks stretching from Homewood to George Ward Park in Birmingham.
Meanwhile, plans are under way to extend westward the Shades Creek Greenway in Homewood, also known as the Lakeshore Trail, under Interstate 65 and into the Wildwood area, southeast of Red Mountain Park. The trail is part of the Shades Creek corridor, which extends east to the Jemison Trail in Mountain Brook.
Also in the works is a proposed extension to the Jones Valley Trail, east of downtown Birmingham, which connects to the popular Rotary Trail, just east of Railroad Park. The extension could eventually create a walkable connection between downtown and the redeveloping South Avondale neighborhood.
Much of the work to expand the Red Rock Trail network in Jefferson County is being undertaken by individual municipalities and nonprofit organizations, with support from individuals and charitable foundations. The Alabama Power Foundation is among the organizations that have provided support for the project. The foundation also helped support the creation of Red Mountain Park and Railroad Park.
To learn more about the Red Rock Trail network, visit http://freshwaterlandtrust.org/about-red-rock-trail-system/.