Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Trail System

Three nature trails that showcase the unique beauty of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. The paved 0.38 mile Highland trail provides walkers and bicyclers a moderate climb, through the highland forests of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. The easy 0.35 mile Boyscout Trail takes hikers past some of the most scenic reaches along the banks of Turkey Creek. The 1.4 mile Thompson Trace offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing within the Preserve.

photo: The Eagle Scout Trail at Turkey Creek

Length: 2.13 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry, Fitness Trail, Mountain Bike Trail, Nature Trail, Urban Trail
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
     Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (on pavement)
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Dogs - On leash
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Rock Climbing
Snow - Snow Play, General
Wildlife Observation

See more details.


Location: Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, Pinson, Alabama.
State(s): Alabama
Counties: Jefferson
Longitude: -86.69632
Latitude: 33.70273

Driving Directions

Directions to Turkey Creek Preserve
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
3906 Turkey Creek Road
Pinson, AL 35126

From Downtown Birmingham:
Take I-20 E/I-59 N.
Take Tallapoosa Street exit (#128 ).
Keep right at the fork to merge onto Hwy. 79/Tallapoosa Street.
Continue on Hwy. 79 for approximately 11.9 miles.
Turn left onto Narrows Road (at intersection of Hwy. 75).
Turn right onto Turkey Creek Road.

From Huntsville:

Take U.S. Hwy. 231 South.
Follow Hwy. 231 for approximately 60 miles.
Merge onto Hwy. 79 South.
Continue on Hwy. 79 for approximately 23.5 miles.
Turn right onto Narrows Road (at intersection of Hwy. 75).
Turn right onto Turkey Creek Road


The 466-acre Turkey Creek Nature Preserve (TCNP) is located in the City of Pinson, Alabama, and is approximately 15 miles from downtown Birmingham in northeastern Jefferson County. In terms of physiography, Pinson is located in both the Alabama Valley and Ridge and Cumberland Plateau physiographic sections which are divided into separate districts. The City of Pinson lies completely within the Birmingham Valley and Warrior Basin districts which extend over approximately three-quarters of the Jefferson County. The land within the Birmingham Valley district contains some of the densest and most urban development in the county, while the Warrior Basin is largely rural in contrast.

Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Locust Fork and the Black Warrior River system, is both biologically and historically significant area. It is home to three endangered species of fish: the Vermilion Darter (Etheostoma chermocki), the Watercress Darter (Etheostoma nuchale), and the Rush Darter (Etheostoma phytophilum). The Rush and Vermilion Darters occur only in Turkey Creek and nowhere else in the world. The TCNP is also home to a number of rare and endangered plant species: the Alabama snow wreath (Neviusia alabamensis), the Alabama leather flower (Clematis socialis), and the rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens).

Historical accounts record extensive use of the Turkey Creek Falls, located within today’s Nature Preserve site, since the 1870s for gatherings and outdoor recreation. Several prehistoric Native American sites have been documented, and the home and mill of David Hanby, one of Alabama’s earliest industrialists and a pioneer in the development of Alabama’s coal industry, was located within the Preserve. The site is also home to the ruins of the Mount Pinson Ironworks, a small forge and foundry built in 1863 that supplied horseshoes for Confederate troops during the Civil War. TCNP borders the homestead of the late judge and conservationist R. Dupont Thompson, whose circa 1930 sandstone house and swing bridge still stand today as landmarks to early 20th century vernacular-style architecture.

The TCNP’s three trails provide plenty of opportunity for recreation, exercise, research, and education. Information about the trails, including ease of access and educational and recreational use, is provided at the education center at the public entrance to the preserve. The trails can be hiked individually, or can be combined into one long connected trail through use of the paved access road that traverses the preserve. The TCNP trails feature waterfalls, rope swings, areas for fishing, kayaking, and swimming, and popular for birding and picnicking sites.

The TCNP holds enormous value as an educational resource. The Turkey Creek Education Center provides environmental and conservation education to the general public, K-12 school groups, teachers, and other civic groups. Approximately 15,500 students participate in educational programs each year. The Center organizes educational programs about forest ecology, aquatic ecosystems, natural and cultural heritage of the local area, and environmental science, generally correlated to the Alabama Course of Study for Scientific Literacy and Alabama History. Area college students and faculty use the Preserve for research in biology, environmental science, and archaeology.

TCNP was established through a partnership between Alabama's Forever Wild Program and the Freshwater Land Trust and is co-managed by the Southern Environmental Center (SEC) at Birmingham-Southern College, with assistance from the City of Pinson. A significant contributor to operations and maintenance of the Turkey Preserve is the Society to Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek (START). A local conservation group, START works through the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to minimize pollution within Turkey Creek. The TCNP also works with the Alabama River Alliance and Alabama Environmental Council to promote watershed stewardship within Turkey Creek. Volunteer assistance is also provided by the Sierra Club Water Sentinels, Alabama White Water Association, Alabama Boy Scouts, Alabama Water Watch Association, University of Alabama Center for Community Outreach and Development, Black Warrior River Keepers, Samford University, and the Vulcan Trail Association.

Additional Details

Width: 57 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil, Compacted
Secondary Surface: Asphalt
Crushed Rock
Grass or Vegetation
Rock, boulders
Rock, smooth
Soil, compacted
Water, moving

Average Grade: 7%
Maximum Grade: 12%
Elevation Low Point: 544
Elevation High Point: 816
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Charles Yeager
Birmingham-Southern College
3906 Turkey Creek Road
Pinson, AL 35126
[email protected]



Photo Turkey Creek's Thompson Trace Trailhead

Photo Turkey Creek's Thompson Trace Trailhead


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