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.  

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