If you’re like me, the recent events in the world have made you long for the days when getting outside in a new destination seemed less daunting. Finding places to visit within close proximity is more important than ever. I recently ventured to a new-to-me destination to record some #100ALMILES and do a little exploring—Hurricane Creek Park.
Located in Vinemont in Cullman County, the park is a 70-acre woodland area featuring a 500-foot-deep canyon dissected by Hurricane Creek. There are almost 4 miles of trails to explore, as well as some great rock formations to climb. The trails have names like Heaven’s Staircase, Twilight Tunnel, and Dead Man’s Squeeze, so you know you’re in for a good time!
You are immediately surrounded by stunning scenery and impressive rock formations as soon as you start down the North Highland Trail. Water flows off the mountain around almost every bend in the trail, making it both beautiful and very slippery—be sure to watch your step! I recommend taking the North Highland Trail down to Hurricane Creek and then returning on Heaven’s Staircase.
Once you get down into the bottom of Hurricane Creek Gorge, you’re greeted with a picnic area and plenty of swimming spots. If you’re not looking to get wet or you go once the weather turns chilly, you can sit on one of the many boulders in the creek and relax to the sound of the flowing water.
The Creek Trail is a flat and meandering out-and-back that crosses the creek a few times, eventually coming to some private property where you need to turn around.
The opposite side of Hurricane Creek is full of rock formations to explore and overlooks to gaze down into the Gorge. Be aware though that the trail isn’t very well-marked and while you won’t get lost, it can be confusing to stay on the path. But your navigation skills will be rewarded! There are many waterfalls cascading down the rocks into Hurricane Creek below, even some that you hike under.
The Twilight Tunnel is well worth the visit—you enter a narrow, chilly tunnel while sunlight streams in from above. It’s not for the claustrophobic, though! Outside the tunnel is a nice overlook and some low rock overhangs to duck underneath.
Further down the Ridge Trail, you will come across Dead Man’s Squeeze—two boulders sitting very close together. Don’t worry, there is a trail skirting the rocks for you to walk through if you choose not to squeeze in between them.
Back at the bottom of Hurricane Creek, you can retrace your steps on the North Highland Trail, or if you feel up for a challenging hike you can go up Heaven’s Staircase or the Hurricane Trail. Your burning thighs may disagree with this decision, though!
Admission is free, and you should take extra precautions while on the trails because there is no ranger on duty. The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily.
Hurricane Creek Park is located right outside Cullman, and you can fuel up for your adventurous day by hitting Karma’s Coffee House. There are many sandwich options to choose and a variety of coffee drinks. Or, you can celebrate afterward with a visit to Goat Island Brewing or 412 Public House.
Greg Wingo is the manager of the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge Ambassador Program and owner of ROAM Projects, an outdoor recreation consulting company.