Saturday, September 12, 2015


Besides the iron and steel industry in Birmingham proper, the mountains immediately surrounding the city are full of the remnants of the many iron or and coal mining operations.    Red mountain was mined extensively for iron ore by US Steel, Sloss, and others.    US Steel donated much of their former iron mining properties for use as a park.  To date, a portion has been made into nature trails, bike paths, zip line courses,...etc...    I spent the morning of my second day in Birmingham exploring some of these trails

Number 13 Mine Portal

Number 14 Mine Portal

Wash House for #14 Mine

Looking down incline toward #13 Mine - the incline skip tracks would have passed under the  railroad bridge in photo.  Some distance behind me the incline continued to the tipple.

Map of mountain during mining days.
The trails have excellent historical markers describing industrial operations.    Most of the main trails are former railroad rights-of-way.  There are some connecting trails that are much narrower and steeper than the main trails.  Overall the mountain has reverted to nature, compared to the photo above.  There were a number of other mines and industrial structures I didn't have time to visit.  I spoke to a park ranger who said they were opening more and more of the property every year and there is extensive IA on the remainder.    The closest mine portals are at least a mile or two in from the entrance, so be prepared for some walking, with some hilly travel.   If you wanted to hit all the sites you'd be looking at a full day and probably at least 6-7 miles of overland hiking.

Closer to the city proper is Vulcan, the largest cast iron statue in the world.  Erected on Red Mountain  virtually on-top of  a mine, and overlooking the city as a tribute to the iron industry that built it.  

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