Do you enjoy going for a visit to historic sites or places of natural wonders? Well, what I think is who doesn’t want to explore new places; traveling and tourism is something we enjoy, many times alone or with our near and dear ones.
If you love to go on tours, why not go to such a place where you will be taken back to the past 100 years or 1000 years. Isn’t it amazing?
We all have heard or read about the famous battles or wars of all times like the World wars, various revolutions in America, India, France, and many civil wars like the great American Civil rights movement. We are going to get glimpses of this in the below article.
The U.S. is a country where there are numerous historical and natural wonders. The native Americans have contributed to the US heritage a lot.
Today in the following article, we will see about the nine national parks in Alabama, all of which with their history and importance in the heritage of the North American state.
Let’s get into Alabama.
Home to natural wonders like the Natural Bridge rock, Wetumpka Crater, and the most popular, Little River Canyon, Alabama is the 30th largest state, with over four percent of its area covered with water, in the southeastern US.
It is a state of the rural Mississippian culture, a native American civilization that flourished in most of the country’s parts during 800-1000 C.E.
Alabama will take you into its prehistoric time and civil rights era as it is full of prominent events in American history. You will get a lot of knowledge related to the American continent from this state. So do explore it.
The National parks in Alabama
1. Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
America has a long history of established slavery. The Africans brought as slaves by the European settlers in their colonies continued to be ill-treated even after the American revolution.
There was huge discrimination between the blacks and whites which resulted in the American civil war, after which the changes were ushered in.
Tuskegee institute site has a rich historical significance and intellectual culture. It was the first black-owned university for the African-Americans; it was designated Tuskegee institute national historic site by the National Park Service. Its located in Tuskegee, Alabama. The historic campus is also a National Historic landmark.
Booker T. Washington founded it, the first African-American to get a dinner invitation at the white house, who was involved in building the complex with his own hands.
The Tuskegee Institute had the famous black agricultural scientist George Washington Carver whose significant contribution was improving soil depletion.
If you get a chance to visit the Tuskegee institute national historic site among the national parks in Alabama, visit The Oaks, the Grave of Booker T. Washington, the Grave of George Washington Carver, and the George Washington carver museum.
2. Little River Canyon National Preserve
This natural beauty in the national parks in Alabama is located on top of Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne in northwest Alabama. It is spread over 15,000 acres and constitutes part of the southern Appalachian mountain range. The National Park Service looks after it.
If you love to see beautiful waterfalls like DeSoto Falls, Little River Falls, and the seasonal Grace’s High Falls, it is one of the best places to enjoy this scenic view.
The preserve is a tourist attraction mainly due to its forests, waterfall, and mesmerizing scenic views. The little river canyon is also rich in biodiversity.
You can go kayaking and hiking in the Little river canyon national preserve. To explore the national park, you can go on the scenic drive, Little River Canyon Rim Parkway on the Canyon’s western rim. For any inquiries, you can visit the Little river canyon center.
3. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
Horseshoe bend national military park in the national parks in Alabama is a national historic site commemorating the last battle of the decisive Creek War, which decided the fate of the Red Stick Creek warriors. The site is located at the Tallapoosa River in the Tallapoosa country, Alabama.
The battle of Horseshoe bend was fought in 1814 between General Andrew Jackson’s regiment and the Red Stick American Indians of the Upper Creek. The battle took the lives of over 800 Red Stick warriors who fought for their desire to go back to their native ways and lifestyle in their motherland.
The war, which made Andrew Jackson a national hero and set his path for the future president post, was the largest battle in the history of the United States where such a big number of Native Americans lost their lives.
The visitor center at the national park display exhibits and a short movie on the historic battle. The visitors can go hiking, fishing, and horseback riding through the battlefield and take pleasure in the scenery along the Tallapoosa River.
4. Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
Now comes on the list of National parks in Alabama is the Natchez Trace National scenic trail which comprises five sections, Rocky Springs, Potkopinu, Yockanookany, Blackland Prairie, and the Highland Rim.
It is a 60 miles trail running through the states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, following sections of the Natchez trace parkway.
The visitors can go hiking and horseback riding on this trail, discovering and enjoying the beauty of this national historic trail. The National Park Service manages the Natchez trace National scenic trail.
5. Russell Cave National Monument
Located in northeastern Alabama, close to the town of Bridgeport, is the National Park Service administered prehistoric Russell cave national monument in the national parks in Alabama.
It is a cave shelter site inhabited by prehistoric Indians, mostly during the winters for thousands of years during the earliest human settlements period.
The hunter-gatherers living here relied on the surrounding forest produce like stone and game for tools and wood fuel for fires.
Tons of artifacts depicting the prehistoric culture of the southeast have been found here; they include charcoal from fires, bones of animals, spear and arrow points, and the remains of buried children and adults.
The major attractions of the Russell Cave National Monument include
- Gilbert H. Grosvenor Visitor Center – You will see the exhibits of the prehistoric culture in the museum and watch documentaries on it. There is also a gift shop and bookstore available in the center.
- Cave shelter – Located at some distance away from the visitor center, you will see here the way of life of the prehistoric people through the ranger-guided tours.
- Russel cave is the 3rd longest cave in Alabama and the 314th most extensive cave in the world.
- There are two major walking trails, the Nature Trail and the Backcountry Trail, which will allow you to view the forests and the Montague Mountain very closely.
6. Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Again comes a national historic site in the fame of the African Americans, in the national parks in Alabama.
The airfield located at the Moton Field in Tuskegee, Tuskegee airmen national historic site, depicts the contribution of the nation’s first African-American fighter pilots in the historic World War ii.
We all are well aware of the discrimination faced by the blacks on the American continent. They were not allowed for the post of pilots in the American Military.
The Tuskegee institute became the first to provide flight training to the black pilots during the World War who came to be known as “Tuskegee airmen.”
Moton field was the primary training facility for the Tuskegee Airmen, where they got rigorous training in subjects like meteorology, navigation, and instruments for pilots, navigators, and bombardiers.
There are two hangars at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical site, containing aircraft, exhibits, and artifacts from the “Tuskegee Experiment.” Overlook, and outdoor walk facilities are available at this one of the National Park Service Sites.
7. Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Declared as a United States National monument by President Barack Obama, Birmingham civil rights National monument is situated in the Birmingham Civil rights District, spread over an area of 36 acres in Birmingham, Alabama. The national monument is dedicated to the American Civil rights movement.
Birmingham, like the Tuskegee, is a city where the African-Americans fought for their rights through the Birmingham campaign led by Martin Luther King Jr, a non-violent protest.
The protest turned into a violent clash between the young black students and the white authorities, which attracted huge media attention.
The Birmingham civil rights National monument showcases how the police turned violently on the peaceful protesters on the streets of Birmingham.
The cruelty and inhumane behavior by the police, like letting the dogs harm the students and spraying water in full force using water hoses to disperse the crowd, displayed the reality of the whites.
The sites to be visited in this one of the national park service sites include the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, and the St. Paul United Methodist Church.
The Magna Carta of one of the national parks in Alabama is the Birmingham civil rights institute, a museum and research center related to the civil rights movement.
8. Freedom Riders National Monument
Established on the same day as the Birmingham civil rights monument by President Barrack Obama, the Freedom riders national monument features in the list of the national parks in Alabama as one of the national park service sites.
The national monument is located in Anniston, Alabama. The establishment is also related to the incidents during the Civil rights movement.
There was a ban on the integrated interstate traveling before 1961. To end this discriminatory practice followed by the whites, the freedom riders initiated the movement.
The freedom riders national monument includes two locations, each having its historical significance.
- Greyhound Bus Station – Stationed at 1031 Gurnee Avenue in Anniston, a violent mob in 1961 damaged a bus containing an integrated group of blacks and whites by pelting stones on the bus and breaking the windows. The mob followed the bus when it left the depot. Today you will see the paintings and educational panels on the depot’s nearby wall depicting more than a hundred years of history.
- Site of bus burning – As you read above, the mob followed the bus after leaving the depot. They continued to carry on the assault on the bus and threw a bundle of flaming rags in the bus, which eventually led to the bus explosion. Not only that, they even tortured the fleeing commuters. This incident garnered huge media attention, and finally, the Civil Rights Act was passed.
9. Natchez Trace Parkway
Last in the National Parks in Arizona comes the section of a national parkway in the southeastern United States known as the Natchez trace parkway.
The parkway has more than 50 access points in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Natchez trace parkway is dedicated to the historic Natchez trace.
Natchez Trace is a primitive forest trail extending from Nashville in Tennessee to Natchez in Mississippi, connecting the Cumberland, Mississippi, and the Tennessee River. The trace was highly used by the native Americans, who found it easy to traverse the path than to cross the high mountains and hills.
The Natchez trace visitor center is located in Tupelo, Mississippi, which describes the history of Natchez trace.
There are worth seeing historical sights like the Meriwether Lewis Museum, Mount Locust stand, and the center of Mississippi’s indif=genous art; the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland, Mississippi.
The state-of-the-art ceremonial mound, Emerald Mound, the 2nd largest native American ceremonial mound, is located west of the Natchez Tracee parkway. There are also some nice waterfalls which catch visitors’ attraction.
There are other three popular National Park sites, two of which are National Park Service sites not included in the nine national parks in Alabama. Still, they hold historical significance and must be read along with the national parks in Alabama.
# Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
We all have read above the Birmingham campaign and freedom riders movement played a leading role in the American civil rights movement.
This national historic trail from Selma to the Alabama state capitol, Montgomery, is in the commemoration of one more significant movement, which became a landmark event in the American Civil rights movement.
Today the adult franchise we exercise is not something we have got so easily. Several movements and protests worldwide have been demanding voting rights, sometimes for a particular tribe, ethnic group, or community.
The march by more than 25000 people on the Selma to Montgomery national historic trail is one such movement.
The African Americans did not have voting rights. To end this injustice, Martin Luther King Jr led this march of 54 miles in 1965.
Again like Birmingham and the Freedom riders movement, there were violent clashes at the Edmund Pettus Bridge that got media attention. Finally, the passage of the Voting Rights Act happened.
# Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Trail of Tears depicts the gloomy picture of sorrow, pain, and ethnic cleansing of 60,000 people of Five Civilized Tribes, the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations living in the southeastern United States. Thousands of people died walking on this trail to reach the west of the Mississippi River.
Do you remember Andrew Jackson, the man who became a National Hero after the Creek War? The same person played a major role in this forced displacement of the native Americans.
The trail traverses nine states, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
The Trail of Tears national historic trail gets its name, “Trail of Tears,” from the Cherokees, who said that this was the trail where they cried when they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma. Many historians term this grave incident “genocide.”
# Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area
It is a National Heritage area centered in portions of the Tennessee River around Muscle Shoals in northwestern Alabama. Wheeler Dam, Wilson Dam, and Barton hall are some famous sites in the heritage area.
This site is established to explore and preserve the rich culture around the Tennessee River. The city of North Alabama administers it.
This was all about the National Parks in Alabama, many of which are administered by the National park service. We have seen Alabama as a country where prominent events happened, shaping the history of the United States.
So, who is not going to visit the national parks of such a historic state? I hope no one.