ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama
Moss Rock Preserve
Located in Hoover, a key city in the Birmingham
metropolitan area, Moss Rock Preserve is one of
Alabama's finest natural settings.
Falls on Hurricane Branch
Two nice waterfalls and
numerous shoals and
cascades can be found along
Hurricane Branch.
Moss Rock Preserve & Waterfalls - Hoover, Alabama
Waterfalls, Rare Plants & More
Rock Shelter at Moss Rock
The massive boulders at
Moss Rock Preserve were
once used as campsites by
prehistoric Native American
hunters.
Waterfall at Moss Rock
Moss Rock Preserve in
Hoover is a wonder of natural
history, with waterfalls, rare
plants and magnificent rocks.
Photos by Lauren McCormick
Covering 250 acres in one of the most
prosperous cities in Alabama, Moss Rock
Preserve is a treasury of natural history.

Owned by the City of Hoover and located
almost in the shadow of the skyline of
Birmingham, the preserve is extremely
special because it represents a determined
and successful effort to preserve natural
scenery and habitat in a major metropolitan
area. The people of Hoover and their
supporters have made Moss Rock Preserve
a jewel that offers a shining example not just
to other cities in the South, but to cities
everywhere.

Moss Rock is noted by environmental
researchers because it preserves a rare
variant of Little River Sandstone Glade (one
of only 35 known surviving examples in the
world) and four extremely rare plants. Among
these is Nuttall's rayless goldenrod, which
survives today only in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

To both provide access to the most scenic
areas of the preserve and protect the habitats
of the rarest plants, the city and supporters of
the preserve have established a very nice
system featuring over five miles of walking or
hiking trails. These wind through the area,
taking visitors to such features as waterfalls,
rock formations, boulders, the tumbling
waters of a mountain stream called
Hurricane Branch and more.

Moss Rock Preserve features two notable
waterfalls, as well as smaller shoals and
cascades. Like many
Alabama waterfalls,
they flow best in the winter and during rainy
months. When the water is flowing well,
though, they are quite picturesque.

The largest waterfall is Tunnel Falls, which is
easy to access and is one of the prettier
small waterfalls in Alabama.

The waterfalls are formed by Hurricane
Branch, which runs east to west through the
entire preserve. It creates a unique divide
between the south slope of Shades Mountain
and the north slope of the smaller Pine
Mountain. Frogs, sunfish and crayfish (also
known as "crawdads") are common in the
stream and its pools.

Another unique area at Moss Rock Preserve
is its magnificent boulder field. Traces of
prehistoric Native Americans have been
found here and a natural rock shelter in the
field was used as a campsite for ancient
hunters. The availability of game, plant life
and fresh water was obviously a factor in
their use of the shelter.

Also known as the Shades Crest Boulder
Fields, the boulder field is made up of
magnificent sandstone boulders that have
been popular with climbers and sightseers
for years. Bearing such names as "Big Ben,"
"Aristocratic Nose," "I'll Tumble for Ya," and
"Snoopy's House," the size and scope of the
boulders is unique for areas this far South.

Please click here for a printable guide to the
boulder field. It includes climbing details for
those interested in this growing hobby.

The preserve also protects a unique artifact
from Alabama's past. The remains of an old
moonshine still have been found at Moss
Rock, a reminder of the days of prohibition
and mountain-made "white lightning."

Other features of the park include a massive
rock formation called the "Great Wall,"
Tugboat Rock, Window Rock and Turtle
Rock. Some of these massive rocks are
more than two-stories tall.

Moss Rock Preserve is open to the public
during daylight hours and their is no cost to
visit. Much of the preserve protects extremely
rare environments and plants, however, so
visitors are urged to stay in designated
walking and hiking areas.

Please click here to visit the City of Hoover's
official website for the preserve. It is by far the
best resource on the preserve and also
offers printable hiking maps, directions, plant
and wildlife lists and more.

To reach the parking area for the waterfalls
and boulder field from I-459 in Hoover, take
exit #10 (Highway 150) and turn east towards
downtown Hoover. Take a left on Stadium
Trace Parkway and keep going straight. The
street will become Sulpher Springs Road,
but continue straight for roughly 2 miles until
you reach Preserve Parkway.

Turn onto Preserve Parkway and follow it for
one mile until you go around a circle or
roundabout. As soon as you pass the circle,
look for the striped parking places.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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