Oak Mountain Yellow Trail, Birmingham

Directions: From I-65, take the Valleydale Rd. exit and follow the signs to Oak Mtn. State Park. (The signs begin for the park on I-65.) To enter park it's $2.00/adult. Drive straight through the gate. You will stay on the main road for about 2+ miles. Pass the barn on your left and then the golf course. Pass the entrance to Serenity area on your right. Take the next right and park as close to the covered picnic shelter as possible. Walk to the left of the picnic shelter and then straight ahead. Just beyond the edge of the trees, you'll find the trailhead to Yellow Trail.

Trail Information: This trail goes partially around a small lake and is for moderate/intermediate level. It does not increase in altitude that much on the main trail; however, there are some side-trails that will take you up and drastically/quickly if you want to do so. One of these side trails takes you to a ghost camp with old cabins made from hand-hewn planks. If you don't want to run drastically uphill though, stay on the main trail. Towards the beginning, there is a brief but steep climb up some fairly precarious rocks and I would advise only the most experienced trail runner to do anything more than carefully walk up these. Run or jog up them at your peril if you are not pretty experienced. Otherwise, you risk serious injury. When you cross the little wooden bridge right next to the old dam, you could probably start running again but please note that there are lots of rocks and roots. Fun yes, but take care! I came much too close to landing in the lake one day! Posted  along the way are signs with yellow markers indicating Yellow trail. There are some climbs, but a moderately experienced runner should have no problem especially if you know how to pace yourself uphill.

Miscellaneous Information: Lots of pine, dogwoods, laurel, oak, maple. Probably poison oak and poison ivy in the spring/summer. I carry a stick from late April through Oct. to pull down spiderwebs in my path (the ones I see at least). Weekdays are great if you like solitude. On weekends, particularly in spring & fall, you'll find yourself passing entire families, dogs, mountain bikers, but rarely another runner. The path is wide enough for single file only, so you'll end up off the path in those cases. Oak Mountain has lots of great trails. But this is the one with which I am most familiar.

Suzanne Bradley