FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What are Ruffner Mountain's operating hours?
Trails are open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. The Nature Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our offices and the Nature Center may be closed on select holidays throughout the year. Check our Facebook page or the ruffnermountain.org homepage for news and updates regarding holiday hours.

 

Where is Ruffner Mountain located?
Ruffner Mountain is located between the communities of South East Lake, Roebuck Springs, and Irondale, just minutes from downtown Birmingham. Our address is 1214 81st Street South, Birmingham, AL 35206.

 

What is the best route for driving to Ruffner Mountain?

From I-59 North

  • Take exit 131 and keep right onto Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Continue on Oporto-Madrid Blvd. to Rugby Avenue.

  • Turn left onto Rugby Avenue.

  • Continue to 81st Street South.

  • Turn right onto 81st Street South.

  • Continue on 81st Street South until it ends at Ruffner Mountain.


From I-59 South

  • Take exit 132 to 1st Avenue North.

  • Turn left onto 1st Avenue North.

  • Continue to Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Turn left onto Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Continue to Rugby Avenue.

  • Turn left onto Rugby Avenue.

  • Continue to 81st Street South.

  • Turn left onto 81st Street South.

  • Continue on 81st Street South until it ends at Ruffner Mountain.


From I-20 East

  • Take exit 132A at Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Turn left onto Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Continue for 1.6 miles to Rugby Avenue.

  • Turn right onto Rugby Avenue.

  • Continue to 81st Street South.

  • Turn right onto 81st Street South.

  • Continue on 81st Street South until it ends at Ruffner Mountain.


From I-20 West

  • Take exit 132 at Montevallo Rd.

  • Continue straight, through the light, keeping right toward Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Turn right onto Oporto-Madrid Blvd.

  • Continue for 1.6 miles to Rugby Avenue.

  • Turn right onto Rugby Avenue.

  • Continue to 81st Street South.

  • Turn right onto 81st Street South.

  • Continue on 81st Street South until it ends at Ruffner Mountain.

 

Is Ruffner Mountain ADA accessible?
We are currently working to make Ruffner Mountain open and accessible to all. In the meantime, our Tree House Nature Center is fully ADA accessible. If you would like to contribute to our campaign to make an ADA accessible trail, email our Operations Coordinator at Carmen@ruffnermountain.org or 205-833-8264.

 

I am bringing a group for a hike. What do I need to know?

  • Thank you for choosing Ruffner Mountain as a site for your gathering! For your safety and convenience, we request advance notification of every group of 10 or more that will be hiking on the trails. Please contact our Programs Director at Christine@ruffnermountain.org, or call (205) 833-8264.

  • Events at Ruffner may sometimes cause limited parking or parking lot closures. We ask that you notify us at info@ruffnermountain.org, or by phone at (205) 833-8264, when you are planning to hike, where you are hiking to, and how many people you are hiking with, so that we can accommodate your group.

  • All groups and scheduled hikes must stay on designated public-use trails.

  • Any requests for off-trail use must be approved by our Conservation Director, Jamie Nobles, a minimum of two weeks in advance. All questions about our Land Use policy and requests for use may be directed to info@ruffnermountain.org.

 

Can my group or organization volunteer at Ruffner Mountain?
Yes! We would love to host and work with your group or organization for a Work Day. Past Work Days have ranged from gardening and planting in the Habitat Demo Gardens to trail work and trail head maintenance to native habitat restoration. If your organization would like to volunteer at Ruffner, we ask that you notify us at least four weeks in advance by sending an email to info@ruffnermountain.org, or call (205) 833-8264.

 

Are there mines or caves to explore on Ruffner Mountain?
The exploration of all mines and caves on Ruffner Mountain is strictly prohibited. If you are leading a class, would like to conduct research, or have a special interest in our caves and mines, special permission must be granted by our Conservation Director, Jamie Nobles. Jamie can be reached at Jamie@RuffnerMountain.org or 205-833-8264, ext. 18.

 

What is the status of the Wetlands area?
The Wetlands may be accessed via the Buckeye and Pipeline Trails. However, the boardwalk at the Wetlands is closed. The Wetlands are visible from the trail, though venturing beyond the trail onto the boardwalk is strictly prohibited at this time.

Wetland dams have been repaired by a new resident American beaver (Castor canadensis) that has restored water levels and added additional wetland habitat to the area. Other wildlife in the area includes frogs, salamanders, newts, and water-loving fowl.

Currently, we are formulating a plan to repair and improve the Wetland boardwalk and footpaths. We estimate this project to cost approximately $500,000. If you would like to make a donation toward the completion of this project, please contact our Executive Director, Carlee Sanford, at Carlee@ruffnermountain.org, or call (205) 833-8264.

 

Does Ruffner Mountain offer zip-lining, rappelling, climbing, caving, mountain biking, motorcycling, or horseback riding?
No. However, Ruffner Mountain does permit walking, hiking, trail running, birding, and on-leash dog-walking.

 

Can I walk my dog on Ruffner Mountain?
Yes! Ruffner Mountain is dog friendly. We require all dogs to be on-leash, at all times, and please pick up after your dog to keep our trails clean for all.

 

What wildlife can be found on Ruffner Mountain?
Ruffner Mountain is home to a variety of urban wildlife species such as raccoons, foxes, coyotes, snakes, and birds. In fact, Ruffner is one of the most popular birding sites in the Greater Birmingham Area. All wildlife on Ruffner Mountain is protected. The killing of any wildlife species on Ruffner Mountain is strictly prohibited. Remember: if you leave it alone, it will leave you alone.

While on the trail, you may encounter myriad species of native wildlife, including: the gray rat snake (Pantherophis spiloides), common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), green tree frog (Hyla cinerea), the hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus), and many more.

Continue reading below to learn more about Ruffner's native fauna.

BATS
Sixteen species of bats are found in Alabama. Some of these are year-round residents while others migrate through the state. Two species known to commonly occur on Ruffner Mountain are the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the tri-color bat (Perimyotis subflavus). Bats on the property use natural and man-made habitats throughout the year and have been found under shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), in natural limestone caves, and in the abandoned mine shafts that remain on the property. More information is needed on the health and size of bat populations on Ruffner Mountain, especially with the progression of white-nose syndrome (WNS) throughout the state.

WNS is named for the white fungus apparent on the nose and wings of affected bats. It was first detected in New York state in the winter of 2005 to 2006 and has been spreading southward ever since. Bats do not die from the fungus itself, but from the irritation caused by the fungus during hibernation. Affected bats move more and lose their fat reserves causing them to starve or freeze to death during hibernation. The fungus is likely spread from bat to bat, but humans may also be responsible for transmission of the disease from cave to cave. Protection of potential hibernacula will be important for protecting the bats on Ruffner Mountain.


BIRDS
Ruffner Mountain supports over 150 species of birds which are made up of residents, breeding pairs, and migrants. Ruffner Mountain is an important stop-over for neo-tropical migrating birds, as a feeding ground and as a refuge in a highly developed urban area. Ruffner has documented six species that have been considered of the greatest conservation need by the state of Alabama They include: cerulean warbler (Setophaga cerulea), worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum), Swainson’s warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii), Kentucky warbler (Geothlypis formosa), wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), and the American kestrel (Falco sparverius).

 

Can I hold my wedding/birthday party/event/meeting/retreat at Ruffner Mountain?
Due to limited staff and resources, weddings are no longer held on Ruffner Mountain, either at the Pavilion or Nature Center. However, the Pavilion is free to use and open to the public on a first come, first served basis for gatherings, parties, meetings, and other small events. If you are interested in using the Pavilion, please email Carmen@ruffnermountain.org.

The Nature Center is a LEED-certified, corporate and non-profit meeting space that features a wall of windows allowing views onto a mountainside canopy of Ruffner woodlands. This space also includes a side porch and can accommodate up to 60 people. You may rent the Nature Center by clicking here.

 

Does Ruffner Mountain take in abandoned or injured wildlife such as birds, raccoons, rabbits, and etc?
While Ruffner Mountain has given a home to several animals who, due to imprinting or injury, cannot survive on their own in the wild, Ruffner is legally unable to accept any wildlife drop-offs. There are, however, two wildlife rehabilitation facilities in our area that do:

If you are unsure who to call or need some advice, feel free to call us at 205-833-8264.

 

I have some urban wildlife in my yard and would like some advice/information about them. I would also like help identifying a snake or other wildlife species, or finding out what dangers they present to me and my family. Can you help?
Absolutely. Please call our main line at (205) 833-8264, ext. 16, or call and ask for the Wildlife Curator, Chivon. She will be able to answer many of your questions as well as give you more resources of people to contact or helpful literature on the subject.

 

Can I schedule a field trip/educational program through Ruffner Mountain?
Yes. Please contact our Programs Director, Christine Harlan, at Christine@ruffnermountain.org to schedule a field trip or educational program.

 

Can I schedule an animal program through Ruffner Mountain?
Yes. You can contact our Wildlife Curator, Chivon Morse, at Chivon@ruffnermountain.org to schedule an animal program.

 

What is Ruffner's legal stance on wildlife?
Ruffner cannot legally accept injured or abandoned wildlife. Doing so may endanger the education permits we already hold. We also do not have the facilities to help abandoned or injured animals. We have no medical facilities, no vets, no stocks of baby formula, and no one trained or certified in rehabilitation. Ruffner did, at one time, run a rehabilitation facility which eventually broke off to become the Alabama Wildlife Center.

If you have injured or abandoned wildlife please contact Wild Mammal Care of Alabama for mammals (205) 871-7803, or the Alabama Wildlife Center for birds (205) 663-7930. Note: these hotlines are volunteer based, and often checked once every 30 minutes to an hour. The calls are addressed on priority. It may be a while before anyone calls you back.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact our Wildlife Curator, Chivon Morse at Chivon@ruffnermountain.org, or call (205) 833-8264.

 

Can I film on Ruffner Mountain property?
If you would like to film on Ruffner Mountain you must apply for a filming permit with us. Also, filmmakers must sign a waiver. Please contact our Operations Coordinator, Carmen Molay, at Carmen@ruffnermountain.org, or call 205-833-8264.

Ruffner Mountain is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. As such, all for-profit entities must pay a location fee prior to filming and may do so by contacting Anne@ruffnermountain.org. Non-profits may contact Carmen@ruffnermountain.org.