Thanksgiving Hours

The Nature Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, November 24th. However, our trails are open from dawn until dusk and we have public restrooms, trail maps and water fountains on the back porch pavilion. 

In the meantime, enjoy this video of our beloved opossum George eating his opossum friendly "pumpkin pie." 


Thank you, Birmingham

Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017

Thank you to everyone who came out to Ruffner's 40th anniversary celebration! It is a wonderful feeling being a part of not only The Magic City, but each of the communities that surround the mountain— East Lake, Irondale, and Roebuck Springs included. We work every day to promote community interconnection through ecology, so it our hope that events like today help bring the people of Birmingham just a little closer together. Because one thing we can all gather around, no matter your background, culture, beliefs, or status, is the natural world and its beauty. Thank you, Birmingham, for your Magic.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Coca-Cola, Alabama Power, Bud's Best, Golden Flake, Lloyd & Hogan, and Seasick Records. Photos by Bob Farley.

Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017
Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017
Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017
Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017
Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017
Ruffner Mine #3 Bats 05012017

Ruffner Turns 40: The Guided Hike Line-up

If you haven’t already made plans to join us for our 40th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 21st from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, perhaps these four, unique guided hikes will entice you—that’s right, we have a little something for everyone lined up.

Please note all hikes are on “first come first served” basis and hikes will fill up fast!

Here is the guided hike schedule:

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1. Where: Ruffner Ballfield Entrance

When: 8:00 am

Who/What: Tom Spencer, Nature Hike. Tom covers it all—geology, history, and ecology. The route will be the Ridge and Valley loop, a vigorous 3.5 mile hike from the base of Ruffner Mountain to its highest elevation at Sloss Peak. A great hike for fall colors, with mining ruins, and mountaintop views to boot. Thomas Spencer is the author of Five Star Trails: Birmingham, a guide to hiking in Birmingham and the surrounding region. Born in Birmingham, Thomas Spencer grew up hiking and camping in his native state, and for almost two decades he crisscrossed Alabama as a reporter for the Anniston Star, The Birmingham Weekly, and The Birmingham News, specializing in coverage of the outdoors and the environment.  

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Spencer is now the senior research associate at the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama based at Samford University. 


2. Where: Ruffner Mountain Nature Center

When: 10:00 am

Who/What: Gary Bostany, Industrial History Hike. Gary will lead a hike focused on mining history. He has led hikes to the old mine sites as a volunteer educational docent for the last ten years, while explaining the history of the area. Gary Bostany is a volunteer educational docent at Vulcan Park and Museum, and a history buff regarding Birmingham’s early days of the making of iron and steel.



3. Where: Ruffner Mountain Nature Center

When: 1:30 pm

Who/What: Peter Van Zandt, Natural History Hike. Peter Van Zandt will lead a hike on finding often overlooked natural history. Pete VanZandt is an evolutionary ecologist who studies how plants and insects interact with each other. He teaches field botany, ecology, and evolutionary ecology at Birmingham-Southern College.


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4. Where: Ruffner Ballfield Entrance

When: 1:30 pm

Who/What: Michelle Reynolds - Nature Hike - Michelle Reynolds is a Native Plant enthusiast and Habitat Gardener from Birmingham, AL. Michelle believes that enthusiasm is her super power. She is the author of many garden profiles, how-to articles for publications, leads field trips, and makes nature inspired art weaving in stories about ecology and biodiversity.  

Ruffner 40th Poster.png

October 21st, Ruffner Turns 40!


*Presented by the Ruffner Mountain YP Board*

On October 21, Ruffner will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition. Yes, it really has been four decades! We can’t believe it either.

Ruffner was founded in 1977 when a small group of dedicated individuals decided to save a mountain threatened by deforestation and development. This was the start of the modern nature movement as we know it today in Birmingham.

Over the years, Ruffner has grown from a few acres to more than 1,000, making it one of the largest privately held, urban nature preserves in the country. Today, it is the urban forest of the Magic City.

Join us on Saturday, October 21st at Ruffner Mountain for

-Yoga from 8am - 9am

-Your favorite records spun by Seasick Records

-Guided Nature Hikes and Mining History Hikes

-Eco-arts activities for all ages

-Plus a good ol’ fashioned cookout (or grill out, or barbeque, or get-down), sponsored by Alabama Power, Bud’s Best, Coca-Cola, Lloyd and Hogan and Golden Flake! 

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s sure to be a great time.

Additional activities and events planned. Check back later for more details!

Annual Ruffner Road Cleanup, October 6, 2017

Ruffner's Old Truck.jpg

*UPDATE* Thank you to the City of Irondale Public Works for jumping in and helping us pick up trash bags along Ruffner Road tomorrow!

Ruffner couldn’t be more excited for tomorrow’s annual Ruffner Road cleanup, one that will be made all the more special by students from the Alabama School of Fine Arts joining us for the work day! There’s just one small problem.

A few months ago, Ruffner’s beloved work truck went out of commission due to a cracked engine block (a problem not easily fixed, if at all). Which means that since that time, Ruffner has been without a utility vehicle of any kind, something that is absolutely crucial to work on the mountain and at outlying areas, like East Side Park and Ruffner Road.

There’s no other way to slice it—we have to have a truck in order to maintain trails on the mountain, clean up trash and debris, haul heavy tools and equipment to project sites, and much, much more. We have made a few asks of local auto dealerships, but with little luck thus far.

If you or someone you know has a truck that could be donated for use by the Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition, we would be more than grateful such a gift. And if you have a truck to donate by tomorrow’s Ruffner Road Cleanup, all the better.

As a privately held nonprofit, we rely on membership, donations, and grant funding to operate and carry out conservation projects. It is our hope that someone out there, an individual or company, can donate a truck to further the work of conservation and the preservation of green space, streams, and wildlife. Please give us a call or message us if you, or someone you know, can.

We are so grateful for the constant support we receive from the communities surrounding Ruffner every day. Help us to preserve our natural resources so that they are not only protected, but thrive for all the generations to come.