There’s a very special place just three-tenths of a mile from AWC’s main facility in Oak Mountain State Park where you can stroll along a broad, elevated boardwalk that winds through the trees in a secluded woodland valley. As you wander along, you catch sight of some of Alabama’s most thrilling wild creatures — Barred Owls, Black Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, a Barn Owl, Great Horned Owls, and most magnificent of all, a rare white Turkey Vulture. The birds are living in spacious, naturally-furnished enclosures “up in the treetops” along the elevated boardwalk so that you can see them as they should be seen: in the wild.
Each resident bird has a special reason for being there. The birds were brought to AWC with serious injuries which would prevent them from surviving in the wild. Now healthy, though physically impaired, the birds live a sheltered existence in a natural setting at the Treetop Nature Trail, where Alabamians of all ages can learn to understand and appreciate these magnificent wild predators.
But there’s more than birds to be seen along the boardwalk. White oaks, shag-bark hickories, maples, dogwoods, and other native trees form a shady canopy overhead, while a clear mountain stream meanders along beside the walkway. Benches are built in to the boardwalk at frequent intervals, for sitting and enjoying the undisturbed natural surroundings. A special entrance makes the elevated boardwalk easily accessible for wheelchairs.
A 1/3 mile hiking trail connects the Treetop Trail to AWC, which is situated on a ridge at the head of the valley. Treetop Nature Trail is open during regular Park visiting hours.
How to Reach Treetop Nature Trail
On Foot: Take the 1/3-mile Eagle Trail from AWC. The Trail takes you directly to Treetop Nature Trail. After your tour you can retrace your steps along the Eagle Trail back to AWC or to visit our next door neighbor, the Oak Mountain Interpretive Nature Center. Walking time: about 10 minutes one-way.
To Reach Treetop Trail By Car: From AWC go down the steep hill and turn left at the bottom onto Terrace Drive and go about l/4 mile. Park in the main parking area on the right. The entrance is immediately across the street.
Handicap Access: Treetop Nature Trail has a special handicap parking area at the level of the main walkway. Continue past the parking on the right and look for the handicap parking sign on the left, opposite the park’s Tennis Courts.
The Alabama Wildlife Center was selected as one of the winners of the Rand McNally Best of the Road Editors’ Picks for 2006. Only 29 sites were given the honor in the 2006 Rand McNally Road Atlas. These roadside stops include food, shops, and attractions along trips in Colorado, Alabama, Tennessee, Minnesota, California, Ohio, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada.