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Welcome to my web page for the Vestavia Hills Passport to Fitness trail. I continued walking the Passport to Fitness program and hiked the trail in Vestavia today (May 8, 2010). This was another solo journey. The trail runs through the middle of Vestavia and mostly consists of walking up and down Highway 31. The trail calls for a couple of hikes through the woods but at this time I would advise not taking the trails and just sticking to the street portion of this walk. I will discuss this in more detail later in the page. The trail is about 5 1/2 miles long, not counting the walk through the woods.

The temperature for the hike was in the upper 60's with partly-cloudy skies when I started. You will find pictures and descriptions from my walk below. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to drop me an email through the link below. Enjoy! :)

  The trail starts and stops at the Park & Recreation building. From here you will head South down Highway 31. Behind the Parks building is Wald Park.
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The next "highlight" on the trail is the Walmart Neighborhood Market. I'm sure you've seen these before, so I didn't take any pictures. However, this is where you will cross Highway 31. At the present time I would advise skipping the Boulder Canyon trails and just head north on Highway 31.

If you decide to walk on the trails you will go behind Vestavia Hill's Elementary School. I did not see any signs pointing to the trail, so I just walked behind the school until I found the southern trailhead. According to the map, you should be able to walk north from the trailhead and come out on Roundhill Road. Well, apparently the new library construction has eliminated the northern trailhead. I wandered on the trails for over an hour and finally exited out the way that I had entered. If you want to walk the Boulder Canyon trails then I suggest doing this as a separate trip from the Passport to Fitness program

I will say this, the trail was really nice. It is hard to believe that there is such a natural hiking area in the middle of a bustling suburb. This trail is listed in the 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Birmingham book. As I said earlier, I walked the trails for over an hour and here are a few pictures that I took.

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After making my way back to the southern trailhead I walked past the school again and back out to Highway 31. From here you turn north and head to the heart of Vestavia. While the walk is mostly uphill it is on a well-kept sidewalk. The next feature on the walk is a McDonald's. Again we have all seen them so there are no pictures.

Continue north and turn east at Kentucky Avenue. About two blocks down the street you will see Methodist Church

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  Across the street from the church is Vestavia Hills Elementary East School. While the Passport map shows this trail running beside the school and out to Tyson, in reality it just makes a loop. There's not much to see here so skip the (loop) trail. You should walk up towards the school and then turn right to go in front of the school. Across the street from the school is, what I am assuming, Byrd Park. I could not find any signs with the park name.
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  Walking past the park and continuing on towards Southwood Road, you will come upon Happy Hal Burns' Ranch House. Happy Hal appeared in several western movies in the early 1930's and was a radio icon for many years after that at WAPI.
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  From here you will head east towards Sunset Drive. This will take you north to Vestavia Drive. This street runs along the crest of Shades Mountain. The view of the valley below is pretty spectacular. However, most of the land along the north side of the road is marked "Private" so you can't get too close to the edge and get a really good view of the valley.
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  Following Vestavia Drive you will come to Shades Crest Drive and then to the intersection at Highway 31. On the northeast corner is a very pretty flower garden the city has constructed.
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  Heading back south on Highway 31 you will come to Fire Station 1 and the Vestavia Hills Municipal complex.
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  From here it is just a walk south down the highway. Again, most of the walk is along well-kept sidewalks. The walk back to the trail end takes you past the Southminster Presbyterian Church.
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Last Updated: July 8, 2010

  Updates to this page:
  • July 8, 2010 - updated page content, added links full-size pictures
  • July 1, 2010 - created web page
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  All content and images © Copyright 2010 Phil Sellers