There’s no mistaking that “Alabama the Beautiful” got its appropriately named reputation from of its many different geographic regions. While the state is primed with world-class interior architecture, charming “mom and pop” shops and all the comforts of Southern hospitality, one would be devoid of the quintessential Alabama experience without stepping into the great outdoors.
Alabama’s geographic landscape is diverse and vast, encompassing high mountains, low valleys, sandy beaches, eutrophic lakes, rich soil and much more, making it the fourth most biodiverse state in the country. This reality has not only captivated newcomers but is a reason many homegrown generation Z and millennials are proud to stay put and deepen their roots.
In north Alabama, one would step outside to a view of the high, Appalachian Mountains and robust National Forest. In south Alabama visitors can stick their toes in the white sand, feeling the breeze of the bright blue ocean. Low hills and flat ground for fertile soil can be found in east Alabama’s “black belt.” Finally, the west part of Alabama boasts southern pines, rolling hills and stunning lakes of Tuscaloosa County.
In the heart of Tuscaloosa sits The University of Alabama, who know their outdoor amenities well and have embraced their surroundings with countless opportunities for students and the public to enjoy.
The University of Alabama has been named “Tree Campus USA” for the seventh year in a row with over 12,000 trees on campus, students and visitors can admire beauty in every season!
The University stated, “The campus boasts an urban forest and tree canopy, including nearly 65 species, such as oak, magnolia and more, that not only provide beauty and shade but also a home for a plethora of wildlife.”
The iconic Denny Chimes is positioned in the wide-open green space outdoors known as the Quad, where tailgating and events happen, and is a serene location for a family picnic, throwing the frisbee, riding a bike and soaking up the Alabama sun.
While there’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had on campus, the University also facilitates access to outdoor recreation off-campus that is open to the public through University Recreation.
Whether a first-time hiker or experienced rock climber, guided trips are offered at all levels throughout the year. All the gear needed is included, trips are guided so your planning is minimal and transportation to and from campus is included as well! Not only are guided trips a great way to get outside and experience something new, but a fun way to build community with people who love doing the same activities.
Bike Shop and Bama Bike Program
The University of Alabama’s bike rental program is specifically geared (see what I did there) to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. Bike rental provides a great alternative transportation method for getting to class and a fun, affordable activity to breathe in the fresh air with friends.
Uniquely, the University has a Bike Shop on campus for personal bicycles in case students need help with a wide range of repairs, ranging from flat fixes to major tune-ups.
The University of Alabama rental center has made it possible for anyone to “create their own adventure.” Offering equipment like kayaks, paddle boards, sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, crash pads and so much more. You may be visiting Tuscaloosa for a football game and leave as a rock climbing expert!
In the Community
Tuscaloosa lies on the waterway of the Black Warrior River. The Riverwalk is a 4.5 mile paved trail for walkers and bikers to use. The Riverwalk is a center-point attracting outdoor community lovers of all ages. In the fall, visitors can hear the crackling of the fallen leaves as they walk to a perfect tree to hang a hammock or sit in a gazebo. The playground, Public Library and splash pad at the Bama Bell makes for a great spot family spot for outdoor fun.
Home to three different lakes, Tuscaloosa’s water sport scene is thriving. Renowned for its boating culture and year-round fishing, the largest lakes, Lake Tuscaloosa, is a hot spot for students to travel off-campus and houses the University’s Boone Cabin vacation rental. The rustic cabin is a charming location for any getaway or intimate event.
The University of Alabama has not only made the most of every opportunity provided by the surrounding landscape, but also contributed to west Alabama’s continued topographical abundance through tree planting, biological research and overall participation in community involvement of the great, Alabama outdoors.
(Courtesy of SoulGrown)