Visitor Information

September 27, 2023

Fall Plant Sale Every Saturday in October at Ruffner Mountain

We say it every season—Fall is the best time to plant!

To usher in the Fall planting season, the Ruffner Greenhouse will be open every Saturday in October from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for visitors to shop for native plants from Ruffner Mountain and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. This means more opportunities to buy native plants! As an added bonus—Members will receive 10% off their purchase! FYI, since partnering together, membership supports both Ruffner Mountain and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve!

Not a member? Sign up at the link below!

Please note: Some plant species may not be available for all dates, quantities may be limited, and in-person only—no online sales this time.

The Greenhouse is located at the entrance of Ruffner Mountain’s South East Lake Entrance and Nature Center; 1214 81st Street S. Birmingham, AL 35206. Parking for plant shoppers will be shared with all Ruffner visitors at this parking lot and don’t worry, we will have directional signage to the greenhouse!

We also encourage visitors to bring a shopping cart if they have one!

Poster by Kyle Humphrey

August 17, 2023

Parking Lot is Now Open!

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve parking lot(s) are now open! That’s right—there are now two lots of designated parking at the Preserve which will enable visitors to safely park their vehicles in designated spots rather than along the shoulder road which is a safety hazard and has caused erosion issues. Big thanks to Jefferson County, AL and Commissioner Joe Knight for their support as well as Vulcan Materials Company for providing the boulders and the hard work accomplished in such a short turnaround time! Thank you, also, to Alabama State Lands Division and Forever Wild Land Trust for their commitment to improving accessibility and safety at Turkey Creek with the new lot at the Falls!

June 15, 2023

Upcoming Road Closures

6/15/2023 Update: Due to ongoing parking lot construction and excessive parking issues, weekend parking will be extremely limited.

Beginning Saturday, June 17, our road will be closed to all vehicles beyond the Blue Hole Parking Lot during weekends.

We expect this change to remain in place on Saturdays and Sundays until the completion of the new parking lot.

During this time, visitors will only have access to parking in the Blue Hole Lot and will be required to access other parts of the Preserve on foot. No other parking options will be available.

It is highly likely the lot will fill so please plan your visits accordingly.

A few reminders/tips:

-Consider carpooling

-Arrive early

-Have alternate plans (visit other greens spaces) if capacity has been reached.

Alabama’s Forever Wild Program and Alabama State Lands have committed to improving visitor access at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve by funding the redevelopment of the Fall’s Parking lot. This $250,000 improvement project will be allocated towards the construction of a much-needed asphalted parking lot contracted by Norris Paving and Asphalt. This construction will help alleviate roadside parking— one of the biggest safety issues facing the preserve. 40 new parking spots will be added with ADA-compliant parking spots available as well. The parking lot will also include improved drainage for the site which will alleviate erosion issues. 

Construction for parking lot improvements begins on WEDNESDAY, May 31st, 2023, and is expected to last approximately 6 weeks and will likely require road closures, decreased parking availability, and increased congestion until the project has been completed. We are entering our busiest season at the preserve so we ask for your patience during this time. 

 We would like to thank Insite Engineering for donating their time and expertise to all of the designing and engineering plans for this project without which this project would not have been possible.   

Admission to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is always FREE, but maintaining it is NOT! Please visit our support page to learn how you can help keep TCNP open.

Exciting News: Ruffner Mountain + Turkey Creek Partnership


The rich history of the preserve dates back to documented prehistoric Native American inhabitants. During the early days of Alabama statehood, the preserve played a key role in the birth of industry in this area by the works of early entrepreneur and industrialist David Hanby. The Hanby family ran a grist mill and a small iron forge on the banks of Turkey Creek. David Hanby’s forge made horseshoes for the Confederacy until he was killed by Union Soldiers on April 19th, 1865.

For more information on the Hanby enterprise at TCNP, check out TCNP Currents: The Hanby Enterprise Part 1 and TCNP Currents: The Hanby Enterprise Part 2

For information on how Turkey Creek Nature Preserve became the beautiful nature preserve it is today, please check out :  TCNP Currents: A fresh S.T.A.R.T. for Turkey Creek Part 1 and TCNP Currents: A fresh S.T.A.R.T. for Turkey Creek Part 2

Natural Wonders

In addition to the incredible scenery, TCNP contains some of the most biologically diverse habitats in this region of Alabama. The waters of Turkey Creek are home to three endangered species of fish: the Vermilion Darter (Etheostoma chermocki), the Watercress Darter (Etheostoma nuchale), and the Rush Darter (Etheostoma phytophilum). The Vermilion Darter occurs only in Turkey Creek and nowhere else in the world. Turkey Creek is also home to a threatened bat species (long-eared bat), an endangered bat species (grey bat), an endangered turtle (flattened musk turtle), and an endangered flower (eared cone-flower). This makes a total of 7 protected species that can be found at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, making it one of the most critical habitats for rare species in the entire country!

Rules and Regulations

NO Alcoholic Beverages or Controlled Substances (coolers and cups are subject to search)
NO Discharging of Firearms
NO Littering
NO Horses
NO Wood or Charcoal Grills
NO Metal Detectors
NO Tents or Camping
NO profanity
NO Music
NO Balloons
NO Loitering in vehicle
NO Speeding
NO Parking where red lines are present
ALL vehicles must be parked with all tires OFF of the road
ALL Visitors MUST exit BEFORE posted closing time
DO NOT Disturb, Harm, or Remove ANY Wildlife or Artifacts

Our rules and regulations are strictly enforced. Any violators of our posted rules (including traffic laws) will immediately loose access to the Preserve and could face prosecution. There will not be any additional warnings provided.

Still and Video Photography: All professional and commercial photographers must apply and be accepted for a photography permit prior to shooting within the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. This includes any shoots that use models, advertising, promotional/marketing materials, or results in any financial gain. Photographers that meet these requirements but are found shooting at Turkey Creek without a permit will be required to immediately cease all activity and will be banned from returning to the property. More information and permit applications can be found here:

All visitors must remain properly clothed at all times. Traditional swimwear is permitted, but no provocative clothing  will be allowed. Changing rooms are provided at the Falls parking area.

Dogs are welcome, but always must be kept leashed and all waste must be removed. Other than dogs, no other pets, animals or exotic species are permitted.

Fishing at TCNP is permitted under the following guidelines:

Keep in mind that Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is a Nature Preserve, so please, leave it as you found it.

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Contact Information

By Phone: 205.680.4116

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