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Birmingham's much anticipated Rotary Trail opened April 2016. At its entrance, the trail features a 46-foot-tall sign which reads: "Rotary Trail in the Magic City." It is modeled after the historical "Birmingham the Magic City" sign.
Although only a half mile—stretching from 20th Street to 24th Street—the trail links two of the city's unique attractions. Near its western end, the 19-acre Railroad Park offers the Railroad Park Rail Trail, a skate park, a playground, and overlooks for trainspotting and viewing the city's skyline. Near the east end of the Rotary Trail is a National Historic Landmark, the Sloss Furnaces, which serviced the city's iron-producing industry for nearly a century.
At its western end on 24th street, the trail connects with the Hugh Kaul Trail, which continues along 1st Avenue to 38th Street. All three trails are included in the Jones Valley Trail network, which is part of the Red Rock Trail System, a developing 750-mile network of multiuse trails in Jefferson County. The Red Rock Trail System connects important destinations throughout the region such as Red Mountain Park, which—at 1,500 acres—is one of the largest urban parks in the country.
The trail’s name comes from the city’s Rotary Club, one of the largest such clubs in the world, which spearheaded the project as part of its 100th anniversary celebration in 2013. The rail-trail is also known as the “1st Avenue Cut” due to its placement along a former railroad trench 14 feet below street level. This was once part of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL), which provided freight and passenger service to Birmingham beginning in 1904.
Bicycles and skateboards are not allowed on Rotary Trail, but on-street bike lanes run along 1st Avenue South and cover the same route. There are picnic tables, benches, recycling and trash cans, device chargers, and pet waste cleanup stations along the trail.
Stairs and ramps from street level provide access to this below-grade rail-trail. Street parking is available along the outer perimeter of nearby Railroad Park (1600 1st Avenue South), along 1st Avenue South. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
Birmingham's public transit system, BJCTA, provides convenient access to the trail. Visit the BJCTA website to plan your trip.
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy
(a non-profit) and we need your support!