Ridge Loop is one of the seven trails composing the Tashka Trail System in Lake Lurleen State Park. If your pup is new to hiking, you can't go wrong with this trail; the wide corridor and gentle elevation changes make it the easiest path in the system.
Spanning 4 miles, Ridge Loop is situated in the upper section of the park, near the northeast shore of Lake Lurleen. You and Fido can access the trail from three points: across from the children's playground, at picnic pavilion number four, and at the North Trailhead. Go for option one or two if you're only visiting the park for the day, as day-use guests cannot enter the campground area where the North Trailhead is located. If you're taking the first option, look for the side trail next to the playground.
Once you and your pooch are on the Ridge Loop Trail, you're off to a leisurely hike into the undeveloped sections of the park. Winding through a mostly hardwood forest with splashes of pine, the trail is dotted with various flowering plants during the spring and summer. If you visit in the fall and winter months, you'll be treated to woofderful views of the rolling landscape and evergreen trees, and you'll find pine straw and large leaves covering much of the trail surface.
With Lake Lurleen State Park being part of the Alabama Birding Trails, the trail and lake are also pawrific spots for birdwatching. To help you keep track of your progress, markers are installed along the way every 0.5 miles.
Practice proper trail petiquette by keeping your little four-legged hiker on a leash at all times and picking up after them. While the trail is beginner-friendly, bringing enough water for you and your pup is always a good idea. For an easy hike to beautiful Lake Lurleen and through the Tuscaloosa wilderness, there's no better choice than the Ridge Loop Trail!
Some parts of the trail have plenty of small rocks, but hikers report that these areas are still manageable.