Originally founded as a station on the stage coach route in the 1830s, Kimberly still keeps a brisk pace for a town of 3,000 thanks to its proximity to Birmingham along the I-65 corridor north of the city. A veterinary practice is 1.5 miles north of Kimberly in Warrior, AL, plus two more a few miles south in Gardendale. Specialists and emergency hospitals are available in other parts of Birmingham.
Whether you’re looking for a quick stretch or a bigger adventure, you’ll find parks aplenty near Kimberly. Kimberly City Park is small and friendly, like Kimberly itself. Walk your pack on the grassy lawns that circle the sports fields and playground and sniff out some of your neighbors.
Just north in Warrior, however, you’ll find a larger place to play. The Rickwood Caverns State Park — about 10 miles from Kimberly — protects some fascinating underground geological features. Your pups can’t join you on a cave tour, but they can help you can examine the fossils visible in the exposed rocks along the one-mile loop Fossil Mountain Hiking Trail.
Less than 20 miles to the south, Birmingham can provide anything Kimberly can’t. The city has more than 120 restaurants that welcome dogs at outdoor tables, which is ideal since al fresco dining weather starts in early spring and runs into late fall here in Alabama. Your pups will get pawsitively frisky about the many parks and trails that highlight Birmingham’s rolling hills and leafy tree cover, too.
Just 11 miles south of Kimberly, the Black Creek Park in Fultondale can please both timid and adventurous dogs. The park features a paved, well-lighted one-mile walking trail along the stream. Or, try the longer Black Creek Park Trail. Part of a Rails-to-Trails program, this 3-mile trail takes you farther off the beaten path but is easy to follow thanks to the converted train tracks. Best of all is the Bark Park! With a waste station and fenced areas for both small and large dogs, this off-leash play place adjacent to the children’s playground will give your fur babies the chance to goof off with some new friends.
Your dogs have probably been talking about Ruff-ner Mountain for years now. One of Birmingham’s most unique trail systems, Ruffner Mountain is 20 miles southeast of Kimberly in the South Eastlake neighborhood of Birmingham. This 1,040-acre nature preserve was created by a community coalition of hikers, conservationists, and dog lovers. There is so much to explore that we suggest downloading a trail map from their website. Each of the 17 suggested walks highlights different aspects of the mountain’s ecosystem, from fossils to wildflowers to the humble opossum. The most ambitious pups can catch the steep Overlook Trail in Gray Fox Gap: if the overlook itself doesn’t wear them out, the ascent to 1,100-foot Sloss Peak probably will.
About 21 miles from Kimberly, Railroad Park in Birmingham’s city center feels like the middle of everything. The 19-acre park is sometimes called “Birmingham’s Living Room” thanks to its prime location and popularity, and your pups will make themselves right at home! With the park’s lake, streams, and water features, dogs can pick their splashing spots on a hot day. The 0.75-mile outer loop trail and three shorter trails are perfect for running off some energy, but your lazier friends can stretch out on the lawns and relax in the sunshine. For total relaxation, cross the street to the Good People Brewing Company: You can sample their local beers on the patio and are welcome bring both outside food and your doggos to share it with.
Red Mountain Park is 26 miles from Kimberly on the southern side of Birmingham, but worth the trip if your dogs like hiking. The park has 15 miles of dog-friendly trails to explore along the slopes of Red Mountain. Bring your camera: social media really needs a photo of your dog contemplating the skyline at one of the two vista overlooks! Plus, you’ll want to capture Spot’s face when he sees Remy’s Dog Park for the first time. The largest dog park in Alabama and part of the Red Mountain Park complex, Remy’s is a beautiful place for making new friends during some off-leash playtime. All dogs are welcome: the park has small- and large-dog enclosures as well as a special-needs area.
The suburb of Homewood in Birmingham is 23 miles from Kimberly, but we think your dogs would enjoy that car ride a great deal. (Plus, it would be easy to combine a visit to Red Mountain Park with a stop in Homewood for an epic day out.) Why make the journey? To shop at the Whole Dog Market. You can browse premium food and puppy apparel, but don’t forget the treats! Whole Dog partners with a family-owned ranch in Georgia to harvest humanely-raised cattle for their own line of hand-crafted rawhide chews and treats. These rawhides are so good that Spot might even forget about the self-service dog wash station! After you get some retail therapy, relax at one of the 12 dog-friendly restaurants in Homewood.