There are nine National Parks in Alabama including National Monuments, National Military Parks, National Preserves and more.
From one of the longest rivers in the nation that flows almost entirely atop a mountain to the place where Andrew Jackson’s soldiers forever ended the power of the Creek Nation, the National Parks found in Alabama provide a unique cross-section of natural wonders and historic landmarks.
National Parks in Alabama
If you have been wondering if there are any national parks in Alabama we have the answers for you!
Little River Canyon National Preserve is one of the newest of the state’s national parks, covers thousands of acres atop Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne. Protecting the natural wonder called the “Grand Canyon of the East” by many, the preserve provides spectacular views of mountain scenery, stunning year-round waterfalls, rare plants and animals and a whitewater river that should only be attempted by seasoned enthusiasts.
The canyon, cut as much as 600 feet into the top of Lookout Mountain over thousands of years, is a favorite place for outings, sightseeing, photography, picnicking and more.
In the far northeast corner of the state, Russell Cave National Monument preserves a cave shelter used by Native Americans for more than 10,000 years. Archaeological research at the cave leads some to believe this may be the oldest cave shelter site in the United States.
It is believed that Native American hunters and their families used the cave from around 6500 B.C. to roughly 1650 A.D. The monument is located near Bridgeport. You can walk along a boardwalk that leads you into the cave structure. You can see where part of the cave was excavated in years past and how the park service is protecting the cave today.
Native American and military history, meanwhile, highlight the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in the central part of the state. Located near the small community of Daviston, Alabama, the park preserves the scene of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
Here, in March of 1814, an army under General (and future President) Andrew Jackson attacked an entrenched force of Creek warriors. The culminating battle of the Creek War of 1813-1814, Horseshoe Bend was also one of the major engagements of the War of 1812.
The Creeks were American Indians members of the “Red Stick” faction, a division of the nation that rebelled in hopes of sparking a return to native ways and lifestyles. They literally fought to the death at Horseshoe Bend, with more than 500 losing their lives after Jackson stormed their fortifications. The park features overlooks, interpretive facilities, a tour road through the battlefield and beautiful scenery along the Tallapoosa River.
Groundbreaking cultural history also took place at a pair of national park sites in the city of Tuskegee. Here, at Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, men including Booker T. Washington and Dr. George Washington Carver created new opportunities and new lives for African Americans in the decades following the end of slavery.
The site includes the George Washington Carver Museum, which recognizes the spectacular contributions of the scientist who developed scores of products using native plants and agricultural products. Other features of the park are the historic campus of Tuskegee Institute and the home of Booker T. Washington.
Nearby, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site preserves the airfield where the famed Tuskegee Airmen were trained during World War Two. The Tuskegee Airmen were the nation’s first African American fighter pilots and among the most successful of the war. Over 1,000 men trained here and paved the way for full African American integration into the United States Armed Forces.
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument is a park in progress. You can check out the amazing statues and civil rights walk around the city of Birmingham, Alabama. The A.G Gaston Motel is being rehabilitated by the National Park Service for a future visitor center and interpretive site.
A small section of the Natchez Parkway also passes through the northwest corner of Alabama, completing the state’s fascinating collection of national park areas.
Here is a list of the nine National Parks in Alabama and a few sites that are located in multiple states
Alabama National Parks
- Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
- Freedom Riders National Monument
- Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
- Little River Canyon National Preserve
- Natchez Trace Parkway
- Natchez Trace National Historic Trail
- Russell Cave National Monument
- Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
- Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
- Mussel Shoals National Heritage Area
- Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
- Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
These parks have over 1 million visitors each year as of 2018. These visitations produce over $55 million in economic benefits according to the National Park Service.
Alabama also has 1,313 National Register of Historic Places listings. 38 National Historic Landmarks, 7 National Natural Landmarks, 1,259 places recorded by the Heritage documentation program and 257 Archeological sites within the national park sites.
There are 11 threatened and endangered species found in the Alabama National Parks.
Check out this list of US National Parks to check off and see how many you have been to!
If you have ever wondered about how to become a Park Ranger check out this article on How to Become a Park Ranger.