Bike to Sloss Furnace from Railroad Park

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Bike to Birmingham’s historic Sloss Furnace by connecting several of the city’s best downtown trails.

Sloss Furnace is a historic industrial site in downtown Birmingham. For nearly a hundred years, this blast furnace produced iron for the “Steel City.” The site is now designated as a National Historic Landmark, and is a fun place to explore, wandering throughout the plant and past old machinery. Along the way, you can read about the significance of Sloss Furnace in Birmingham’s history, as well as the struggles of the people who worked there. The site is now used as a venue for events including concerts, festivals, exhibitions, ghost tours and a haunted house, and it also includes a new visitors center.   

One of the best ways to get to Sloss is an enjoyable 4-mile round trip bike ride, starting at Railroad Park. Park near 1st Ave South, and start biking along Railroad Park at 14th Street, heading east. At 18th Street, you’ll exit Railroad Park, and in two more blocks you’ll come to the Rotary Trail, a four-block pathway that was recently redeveloped out of an abandoned section of railroad. Bike alongside the Rotary Trail from 20th Street to its end at the 24th Street overpass. Here, 1st Ave South merges back into a two-lane road that includes a bike lane. You’ll ride right by First Avenue Rocks, a popular downtown indoor climbing gym. Just past 25th Street, the bike lane becomes its own trail, which is part of the more extensive Jones Valley Trail that runs through much of downtown. This open stretch of trail runs all the way down to 32nd Street, where you’ll take a left and cross the railroad tracks to get to Sloss Furnace. Once you cross the tracks, take the first left to get to the new visitors center, biking alongside the towering furnaces that are now an iconic piece of the Birmingham skyline, and can be seen from Ruffner Mountain.

Notes: Metered parking is available along 1st Avenue South and the adjacent blocks at Railroad Park, and is free after 6pm and on weekends. Also, at the end of the Jones Valley Trail at 32nd Street, there’s a fixed bike pump and workstand.    

Pack List

  • Biking gear
  • Water
  • Camera
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RT Distance 4.2 Miles
Activities Cycling, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
Scenic

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