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Friday, December 3, 2021

Hurricane Creek: All You Need to Know

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Savor the breathtaking nature by making a short trip to the ideal destination, Hurricane Creek, abundant with biota and recreational opportunities in the presence of ethereal mother nature.

The foothills of the Appalachian Mountains gracefully root the venturous Hurricane Creek Park, crowned as a small preserve situated off Highway 31, South Vinemont of North Alabama. This spectacular treasure is hidden in the dense maze of woods and rocky boulders, offering a panoramic view and a wide array of adventurous activities.

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Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Endowed with diverse aquatic wildlife and native species, Hurricane Creek Park is ideal for savoring nature. The giant boulders standing up tall graciously surges the cascading water creating a luminous effect on the fore walls of luscious green forest and rugged sandstone. The sparkling waterfalls captivate a soul shipping it to the land of paradise. Hurricane Creek Park sets the best picnic spot with waterfalls and a swimming hole right above the dam made by Buddy Rogers.

The creaky but sturdy wooden bridge to cross the creek soars the adventurous side to explore the depths of the park, unraveling the gems of Hurricane Creek. With the weathering of natural rocks, the Twilight Tunnel, Stairways to Heaven, and Dead Man’s Squeeze was formed, which became the main sites of Hurricane Creek Park.

Twilight Tunnel

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Photo by John Ruddock on Unsplash

Crossing the hurricane creek on a creaky but sturdy board is one thrilling experience that leads to the tunnel hidden behind the curtains of thick forest, the Twilight Tunnel. The natural rocks weathered to form a cranny on the stone wall makes a tunnel through the narrow walls brushing both the shoulders upon entering. The blind walk through the Twilight Tunnel heightens the human sense to reach the light of exit.

Twilight is worth exploring with the leveled-up entrance floor, which gradually rises to lead to the mountainous exit.

Heavens Staircase

Heavens Staircase, previously known as Satan’s Stairways, is an important focus of Hurricane Creek Park, with its wooden steps aligned to form a staircase. These steps are designed between two Goliath rock formation trails towards a waterfall and a serene picnic spot through the creek’s ridge trail.

A gleeful day out with family and friends exploring the forest, crawling up the rocky mountains, and diving in the streams canoeing down the hilltop in the presence of nature is a heart-warming experience. It provides a perfect location for photoshoots within the illuminating greens and whites.

The park with hiking and bird trail winding through the lush woods and gorge cliffs attracts many tourists every year.

History: The Development of Beautiful Hurricane Creek Park

The Appalachian ecology and the Gulf Coastal Plain meets at an area to create the boundaries of Hurricane Creek Park. Traveling to the Hurricane Creek Park from Tuscaloosa city takes you across the ironstone, clay, sandy, and gravel terrain of Fall Line Hills, a part of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Hurricane Creek takes you through the Appalachian areas of sandstone, shale, and coal after turning towards the north of Hwy 216. The east Tuscaloosa welcomes bikers, hikers, and walkers of varied ages in wide numbers.

The first geologist of Alabama State, Dr. Michael Tuomey, reported coal deposits in certain areas of Hurricane Creek, which further led to several mines on the creek’s ridge. Coal was dragged out by the people during the depression from the miners’ supported coal ceiling, causing a dangerous free fuel area.

Hurricane Creek was discovered by William Buddy Rogers, who later converted it into a beautiful Park trail.

A pilot of the U.S Air Force who served in World War II, Buddy Rogers was captivated by the serene Seven Falls in Denver post-retirement with a major rank from Air National Guard. After returning to his homeland, Alabama, he found solitude in the depths of Highway 31, a narrow canyon 500 feet tall gushing through the rocky walls united with the wide creek at the bottom. The tall standing pine trees, wildflowers, and trees stood straight with the massive rock walls that reminded him of Seven Falls’ picturesque.

Driven by the love for nature, in 1961, Rogers purchased an undeveloped property of 120 acres in Cullman County known as the Hurricane Creek Park. He devoted 40 years to form the narrow-winding trails and communicated with the visitors to transform the land into a park.

All by himself, Rogers lugged a steel cord of 150 feet into a swinging bridge and constructed a dam to modify it into a swimming pool. Railroad ties were towed into the steps of Satan’s Stairways, today infamous as Heaven’s Stairways. He built a cable car held by a metal railing and discovered Twilight Tunnel upon getting rid of the rocks and boulders.

Buddy Rogers administered Hurricane Creek Park on his own and made it available for business. State of Alabama Wildlife and Fisheries received Hurricane Creek’s ownership in 2003 when Rogers donated the park at 81.

Hurricane Creek Park is now governed by the City of Cullman Parks and Recreation.

Adventures of Hurricane Creek Park

1. Rock Climbing

 

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Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash

The naturally weathered rocks of Hurricane Creek Park attract numerous tourists for its prevailing rock climbing activity and excite a person’s spunky adventurous side. Hurricane Creek’s huge rocky boulders are an idyllic rock climbing place, especially for the new climbers giving a real rock experience.

Top rope climbing can be easily set up with its convenient routes from the edge of the cliff. Gushing streams and waterfalls with their serene ambiance and a family-perfect picnic spot grasp oneself to the dreamy land of rock climbing.

The vast unexplored area of Hurricane Creek Park offers a possibility of developing new routes.

2. Hiking Trail

Hiking was the main attraction during the reign of Rogers. The several miles of peaceful trail zigzags through the dense woods cutting through the gorge leading to the top of the mountain, besides many other trails, have been added.

Signs are arranged throughout the park to avoid travelers getting lost in the abyss of eight miles of hiking trails.

Eagle Scout Trail is thrilling through the ancient rocks and small streams that brand a tree with a blue blaze and begins at the park’s entryway. The other two trails, viz Hi Trail and Lo Trail, begin at the park’s office and wind through the Hurricane woodland and trails to picnic ground, further bifurcating into numerous hiking trails exploring the depth of the park.

Long Steep Trail escorts to the mountain peak, easy to get around the cliff and onto the rocky gorge.

Adults and kids can enjoy these Hiking trails over age five with their small creek crossing and rock climbing areas.

3. Birding Trail

Sitting amid the ancient magnificent trees and snacking while watching the colorful birds flying overhead is indeed a phenomenal sight. The home to diverse bird species trails you through the Birding Trail of north Alabama.

Keep an eye for Red-eyed Vireos and Great Crested Flycatcher along with Carolina Chickadees and Northern Cardinals. The Hawks with red-tailed and red shoulders soar high, fanning out their checkered wings through the canopy. White Breasted Nuthatches and Yellow-rumped Warblers enlighten the winter with their entry.

The signboard along the trail makes it easy for visitors to locate the infamous Bird Trail.

4. Picnic Area

Branching trails leads to a family-friendly area beside the illuminating waterfalls and a swimming hole creating a perfect day out. The picnic tables arranged near the creek bank in an open area are massive enough for a great family meal.

The picnic area is sheltered. The scenic nature and the chilled atmosphere along the stream are pleasing while munching on food.

The deck at the front entrance picnic area is open for birthday parties and special occasions.

Rules and Regulations

Following the rules and regulations is a must while visiting the park or leading to removing the park or an arrest.

  • Park is a public space from dusk to dawn.
  • No vehicles are allowed beyond the entrance of the park.
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Smoking is prohibited.
  • Fishing is not allowed.
  • Glass objects are not permitted on the premises of the park.
  • Do not litter the park. Use the dustbins placed at various intervals.
  • Your safety, your responsibility. Enter the park at your own risk.
  • Swim at your own risk.
  • Wildlife hunting is prohibited.
  • Pets are allowed but to be kept on a leash when using the trails.

Suggestions:

  • Suggested to carry a map.
  • Visitors advised wearing rubber-soled shoes to avoid accidents on the sharp shales.

Directions:

22600 US Hwy 31 North Vinemont Alabama 35179

Located outside of Cullman, Alabama. From the intersection of 1-65 out of Birmingham and US Highway 31 near Lacon, take exit 318 and drive 157 east to the left on Highway 31, then continue north on Hwy 31 for 2.2 miles to the Hurricane Creek Park.

With its diversified nature, wildlife, and countless recreational activities, Hurricane Creek is one of the best parks to visit in Alabama, designed by Buddy Rogers. Its natural beauty has captivated thousands of visitors and will continue to do so with the new explorations setting in.

 

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