By Sydney Cromwell
When life is feeling stale and you need a break in your routine, the Magic City delivers. From 14,000 feet in the air to hundreds of feet underground, we found the best adventures in the Birmingham area. This is the first in a six-part series.
Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest
Red Mountain Park, 2011 Frankfurt Dr.
$50 per person (two hours)
Hidden in the trees of Red Mountain Park is a series of ropes, cables and wooden planks that create both a mental and physical challenge. The Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest consists of 13 tree platforms, the highest sitting over 60 feet off the ground, with 20 obstacles spanning the space in between.
These challenges include a slack-line, rope bridges, a climbing wall and a variety of other things to crawl, climb, jump or balance upon. Meagan Odom, the adventure operations and service manager, said one of the most popular parts is the “surfboard,” a hanging plank that people can ride back and forth between two platforms.
Odom said the course was built in May 2013 to accommodate growing interest in the outdoors in Birmingham and “to encourage a bunch of shapes, sizes and ages to get up and challenge themselves in a safe way.” Since then, she has seen hundreds of children and adults take on the Beanstalk Forest.
“I like that everybody does it differently,” Odom said. “You’ll see a six-year-old kid and a 32-year-old man do the same event within the same two hours and it will not look like the same event.”
One of the other advantages of the course, Odom said, is that people can choose which challenges they want to try. Some want to experience every obstacle, and others have fun just trying two or three. Both of those approaches are encouraged.
For those who want multiple adventures in one day, the park also has a zipline that is visible from the Beanstalk Forest, a climbing wall under construction and miles of hiking trails. Odom said Red Mountain Park’s adventure area “does nothing but grow.”