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Featured National Recreation Trails

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Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.



Veterans Park National Recreation Trail, Hoover, Alabama

The 4.8-mile trail features a running/walking cross-country course and boardwalk winding through an open field, wetland and woodlands in the City of Hoover’s newest and largest park.


Map of Alabama

photo of pond and building

Veterans Park, an eighty-two acre site in the City of Hoover, AL

Veterans Park Trail (VPT) is a five-mile (8K) compacted crushed stone trail located in Veterans Park, an eighty-two acre site that is the City of Hoover’s newest and largest park. The trail, constructed and maintained by the City of Hoover (pop. approx. 70,000), is open to the public year round at no charge.

The trail directly accesses a middle school, high school, community college, two small lakes, two playgrounds and is a short drive (1 mile) from single-family neighborhoods.

VPT has many special and unique features. The multi-use nature, running, and boardwalk trail winds though diverse open fields, wetlands and forested areas. The trail provides many opportunities for individual fitness programs for all ages and is used as a cross-country running course that hosts major cross-country events in the Southeast.

The trail was designed with a connector tunnel so that people can use the full length of the trail without having to cross a public road. The location of the trail and its multiple uses attracts daily users and tens of thousands of visitors every year participating in various events at the park.

There are many amenities along the trail such as parking, restrooms, water fountains, picnic table, trail benches, and trash receptacles with disposable pet waste bags. Recreational activities include such things as picnicking, beach volleyball, fishing, and open field play.

photo of runners

cross-country running event on Veterans Park Trail

Trail Features

 A main feature of the trail is that it serves as access to the major areas of the park:

The trail provides access to a large veterans memorial, which is the focal point of the park. This monument, dedicated in 2007, memorializes those who have served in each branch of the United States Armed Forces.

 The main trailhead is located at the parking lot adjacent to the main pavilion. Trail leads to a large grassy area that provides direct access to a two-acre lake and pier. This area, which includes two pavilions, picnic tables, and benches, accommodates individuals, families and large groups especially on evenings and weekends.

 The trail provides access to four beach volleyball courts and two children’s playgrounds.

Three different level schools are adjacent to an access the trail: Spain Park Middle School, Spain Park High School, and Jefferson State Community College. All three schools are connected to various parts of the trail by sidewalks, a wooden pedestrian bridge or a tunnel. A wooden pedestrian bridge, crossing a small creek, provides trail access from the high school parking lot to the north of the park. The under road tunnel provides access to the east side of the trail from the Community College and provides for continuous use of the entire trail system without the conflict of maneuvering traffic.

photo of people walking on trail

Trail through Nature area at Veterans Park

Another feature of the trail is its connectivity to the surrounding area and future greenway. The Trail will connect to a proposed 4-mile greenway that winds along Valleydale Road and through a nearby planned unit development (PUD). The greenway is in the design development phase with construction of Phase 1 expected to begin in 2010.

The City of Hoover hosts a variety of community, charity and sports events at the Trail.

Community Events:

• “Celebrate Hoover Day” – Hoover’s citywide celebration with more than 7,600 residents attending this free family event in 2008.
• Healthy Hoover 5K Community Walk
• Weekly walks with the Mayor
• Run/walk events during Celebrate Hoover Day
• Jog in July, an annual event hosted by Hoover Parks and Recreation – 100-200 including a Wheelchair Division

Charity Events:

• Petapalooza – Annual Community Wide Dog Festival featuring “Hallo weenie” races and an Agility Course
• Brenda LaDun Conquer Cancer Run
• Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
• Run Without Limits
• Big Brothers Big Sisters Night Run
• Paws for the Cause
• Partnership Walk
• Hydrocephalus Walk

photo of trail bridge

Jefferson State Community College overlooks the trail

Regional and Statewide events:

• Samford University Cross Country Invitational
• OVC Cross Country Championships
• Gulf South Conference Cross Country Championships
• Great American Cross Country Festival
• Southeastern Cross Country Showdown
• Spain Park High School Cross Country Invitational
• Hoover High School Cross Country Invitational
• State High School Sectionals Cross Country Qualifier
• USATF Alabama Association Cross Country Meet

Recognizing the potential environmental and educational benefits of the trail, the City engaged the design services of landscape architects Macknally Ross Land Design to develop an Environmental Restoration and Trails Plan. A hidden gem of Veteran’s Park is its natural amenities such as the wetlands, water bodies, streams and forested areas. All of this is readily available to park visitors and adjacent schools.

These plans include an analysis of existing flora and fauna, hydrology, and topography. The plans provide management objectives for lake-edge vegetation and educational components associated with the area. Accessibility is also part of the plan for this area. Design development phases of the plan will include other aspects of accessibility, wildlife interpretations and other educational components. Although, not fully accessible, plans for more accessible trails are considered. Access to these amenities opens the park to an entire new group of users.

The variety of recreational experiences in a system of loop trails along with the educational component of environment restoration and wetlands area provide unique experiences for the surrounding schools and casual passers-by.

For more information:

City of Hoover, 100 Municipal Drive, Hoover, Alabama 35216 - (205) 444-7500

photo of trail and lake

running along the lake on Veterans Park Trail


trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Trail managers can update online trail information in the NRT database. You may also e-mail information on minor changes or to update Featured NRT pages.



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