Red Rock Ridge and Valley

RRRVT logoThe Red Rock Ridge and Val­ley Trail Sys­tem is trans­form­ing our com­mu­nity by mak­ing the Birm­ing­ham region a bet­ter place to live, work and play.

Over the past decade, Birm­ing­ham has made remark­able strides in devel­op­ing new green spaces. The Red Rock Ridge & Val­ley Trail Sys­tem allows us the chance to con­nect our exist­ing parks into a greater net­work of green­ways, mak­ing our com­mu­ni­ties health­ier and safer. Each mile of green­way cre­ates an envi­ron­ment where healthy choices become easy choices, and peo­ple are able to become recon­nected with the outdoors.

Each mile of the Red Rock Ridge & Val­ley Trail Sys­tem is as unique as the neigh­bor­hoods that con­nect it. It is our goal to cre­ate pos­i­tive impacts for the phys­i­cal, eco­nomic, envi­ron­men­tal, and social well-being of the Birm­ing­ham Region, one mile at a time. Together, we can cre­ate a health­ier, more con­nected com­mu­nity for everyone.

What is the Red Rock Ridge and Val­ley Trail System? 

The 750-mile sys­tem is a net­work of multi-use trails (use­able by walk­ers, jog­gers, cyclists, etc), side­walks, and bike lanes link­ing peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties through­out Jef­fer­son County. Some of the trails already exist, such as the six-mile Shades Creek Green­way that par­al­lels Lakeshore Drive in Home­wood, or Vul­can Trail which runs along an aban­doned rail­road bed atop Red Moun­tain over­look­ing down­town Birm­ing­ham. Other facil­i­ties are cur­rently under­way, includ­ing the new Civil Rights Trail that includes bike lanes, side­walks, and a 1-mile trail in the Smith­field com­mu­nity of Birm­ing­ham. Other projects, such as the Rotary Trail and the High Ore Line Trail, are sched­uled to be built soon. The Red Rock Trail Sys­tem is a vision for ensur­ing every res­i­dent within Jef­fer­son County has a trail that they can call their own.

Where exactly is the Red Rock Trail System?RRTMap

The Red Rock Sys­tem con­tains six pri­mary trails that con­nect the region together.  The trails pri­mar­ily fol­low the area’s water­ways, includ­ing Shades Creek, Five-Mile Creek, Turkey Creek, Vil­lage Creek, Val­ley Creek, and the Cahaba River.  Side­walks and bike lanes are designed to stretch into com­mu­ni­ties and neigh­bor­hoods and improve access to these main trails.  Once com­plete, every­one within Jef­fer­son County will have access to a safe trail in their community.

 When is all of this sup­posed to be complete? 

Build­ing a 750-mile trail sys­tem that spans over 30 munic­i­pal­i­ties sim­ply takes time.  Plan­ning and engi­neer­ing has to take place, right-of-way has to be acquired, and util­i­ties often have to be relo­cated.  Then, fund­ing for con­struc­tion has to be iden­ti­fied.  It’s a process. How­ever, sev­eral miles of trails were built in the past year, and addi­tional miles are sched­uled to be com­plete in the next few years.  Other con­nec­tions are funded and are in var­i­ous stages of the process men­tioned ear­lier.  So, even though the full sys­tem might take some time to build, new trails are com­ing soon.

Why is this impor­tant?  Why should I care? 

whyTrails change com­mu­ni­ties. For starters, let’s look at the health ben­e­fits. Two out of every three Alabama res­i­dents are over­weight or obese, result­ing in mil­lions of dol­lars in health care costs related to pre­ventable obesity-related ill­nesses.  Research has shown that peo­ple who have access to a safe, acces­si­ble place to exer­cise are over 50% more likely to do so.  A UAB study found that imple­men­ta­tion of the Red Rock Trail sys­tem would result in up to $42 mil­lion in health care sav­ings annu­ally. Stud­ies have also shown that trails increase adja­cent prop­erty val­ues and bring rev­enue into cities.  They also pro­vide oppor­tu­ni­ties for social inter­ac­tion that are among the core com­po­nents to a vibrant com­mu­nity.  Trails can also pro­vide trans­porta­tion options, mit­i­gate flood­ing near bod­ies of water, and even reduce crime.

Who all is involved in the Red Rock Trail System?

The Red Rock Trail Sys­tem was devel­oped by first lis­ten­ing to the com­mu­nity.  Over 3,000 peo­ple pro­vided feed­back about the trails, side­walks, and bike lanes that will make their com­mu­ni­ties safer for every­one.  That infor­ma­tion was shared with city lead­ers to ensure the trails were included in local trans­porta­tion and devel­op­ment plans.  Efforts to build more trails are cur­rently coor­di­nated by the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust, in coor­di­na­tion with com­mu­nity mem­bers, city offi­cials and staff from all of the munic­i­pal­i­ties within Jef­fer­son County, and part­ner orga­ni­za­tions that rec­og­nize the value pro­vided by trails.

How is the Red Rock Sys­tem being built?

Funds to build trails often come from trans­porta­tion fund­ing sources at the fed­eral, state, and local lev­els.  These funds are typ­i­cally focused on reliev­ing con­ges­tion, pro­vid­ing alter­na­tive means of trans­porta­tion than an indi­vid­ual auto­mo­bile, or pro­vid­ing safe access to schools or bus stops.  Pri­vate fund­ing, either from orga­ni­za­tions, foun­da­tions, or indi­vid­u­als may also be used to con­struct trails.

To learn more about how the Red Rock Trail is con­nect­ing Birm­ing­ham, visit and watch our video at

Tour­ing Your Town: Red Rock Tuesdays

Red Rock Tuesday Kelly Ingram Park _00053_141104On the first Tues­day of every month, the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust and Fox 6’s Good Day Alabama with Jeh Jeh Pruitt visit a town in Jef­fer­son County to walk their por­tion of the Red Rock Ridge & Val­ley Trail Sys­tem in an effort to edu­cate our com­mu­nity on where they can get out and active. Each month, we talk about the health, eco­nomic and envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of parks and trails through­out Jef­fer­son County with our part­ners, as well as fea­ture spe­cial give­aways and announce­ments about upcom­ing projects. Tune in to Red Rock Tues­day every first Tues­day of the month to stay updated and learn more about how you can con­nect to this effort.

Good­wyn Mills and Cawood

Good­wyn Mills and Cawood (GMC)was hired in August of 2010 to help the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust cre­ate a green­ways mas­ter plan for Jef­fer­son County. GMC has expe­ri­ence devel­op­ing green­ways across the state includ­ing Chief Ladiga in east Alabama, Aldridge Creek, Indian Creek and Big Cove Green­ways in Huntsville, Aque­duct Trail in Tar­rant, the Polly Reed Road Trail in Cen­ter Point and the down­town trail in Eufala.

Part­ner Coali­tions: REACH Birmingham

Build­ing the Red Rock Ridge & Val­ley Trail Sys­tem is not a one man job. In order to bring the Red Rock trail to life, we often part­ner with local orga­ni­za­tions on community-driven projects that allow us to encour­age peo­ple to improve their health by using trails and open spaces to exercise.

In addi­tion to the Health Action Part­ner­ship and other coali­tion work, the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust is join­ing forces with sev­eral local orga­ni­za­tions as part of “Birm­ing­ham REACH for bet­ter health.” Click here to learn more about REACH and our work to imple­ment a Parks Rx pro­gram in Birmingham.