Birdwatching – The northwest loop of the North Alabama Birding Trail boasts more than a dozen sites located primarily in the Shoals area. Winding back and forth across three major sporting lakes along the Tennessee River, Wheeler, Wilson, Pickwick, these sites offer fantastic birding opportunities. Several sites are noted for their impressive congregations of winter birds – waterfowl, eagles, gulls – as well as a long list of rare or vagrant species to the state. Leighton Ponds, with its assemblage of flooded sinkholes, is one of Alabama’s best interior sites for shorebird migration. The Natchez Trace Parkway with its wooded, scenic byway offers Barred Owls and Wild Turkey. Another site on the historic Trace, Rock Springs, is renowned for its concentration of fall migrating hummingbirds. These sites and more make for great birding in the Shoals area. (256) 383-0783. www.northalabamabirdingtrail.com
Walking, Hiking, Biking Trails, Several miles of hiking, walking, jogging and biking trails are available to the public on the TVA Reservation located in Muscle Shoals and Sheffield. Nature and wildflower walks are scheduled on a regular basis. A six mile-bike trail through historic downtown Sheffield is accessible from N. Montgomery Avenue. Two trails travel north on Montgomery Avenue, through the historic district and Standpipe (overlook) and then alongside the water’s edge at Riverfront Park, looping back to the starting point. Fifteen miles of hiking trails are maintained in Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, located just a few miles outside the city limits of Tuscumbia. The Natchez Trace Parkway, a short distance to the west, is a designated bicycle route and boasts a bike-only campground at Colbert Ferry (mile marker 327) on the Trace.
For more information: (256) 383-0783
Whippoorwill Park, 1201 N. Montgomery Ave., Sheffield, AL 35660. This 44-acre, wooded park is accessed within the historic downtown residential district and was laid out in the original town of Sheffield in 1884. Home to many species of wild flowers and plants, it is a bird sanctuary. Walking trails go all the way to the river. Vietnam Memorial on site. www.VisitSheffieldAL.com
Riverfront Park, 1416 Alabama Avenue, Sheffield, AL 35660. This park boast one mile of inviting shoreline on Pickwick Lake. Variety of recreation available, including boat launch, fishing piers, docking facilities, picnicking, walking trails, splash pad, playground and restrooms. Kiwanis Boundless Playground located here. Park used for hosting major fishing tournaments and youth fishing rodeos. (256) 386-5615 www.VisitSheffieldAL.com Hours: 6 am-10 pm daily
Old Railroad Bridge, 2100 Ashe Blvd., Sheffield, AL 35660. This pedestrian bridge is 1,580 feet long and 14 feet high, offering a beautiful view of the Tennessee River. The pier dates back to 1832, the superstructure to 1903. The original bridge opened in 1839 as a toll bridge with trains crossing on the upper deck while wagons, pedestrians and livestock crossed over the bottom. Today, the pedestrian bridge provides a venue for special events and a beautiful view of the Tennessee River and Pickwick Lake. Adjacent to the bridge, access several miles of walking, jogging trails on the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
4900 Hatch Blvd., Sheffield, AL 35660
Emerald River Hotel, houses 201 rooms and is a full service hotel. Amenities incuded are pet friendly rooms, exercise room, swimming pool, sauna/jacuzzi, restaurant, lounge, suites, high speed internet, complementary breakfast, banquet and meeting rooms, and outside plug-ins for fishing boats.
“Rock of Ages Trail” Take a driving tour past 18 cherished churches of Colbert County. These church buildings are at least 100 years old with the congregations in most cases being even older. The architecture ranges from simple log, to primitive wooden, to rock and brick. Of varied denominations, a brochure presents these churches as the “Rock of Ages Trail.” (256) – 383-0783
Village One (A planned community built in 1918 in Sheffield, Alabama) This unique community of 85 bungalows, barracks, school, and parks was built as government defense housing in 1918. The streets were laid out in an unusual Liberty Bell design. The houses feature red tile roofs and stucco exteriors. This is an example of an early 20th century planned community and an excellent example of early prefabrication and standardization in housing construction. Residents enjoy a quaint lifestyle in what is now known as “The Village.” National Register Historic District.
Historic Sheffield (Two Distinct Districts: Montgomery Avenue and The Village) North Montgomery Avenue with its wide, tree-lined streets is the setting for many historic homes in Sheffield. The city was incorporated in 1885 and soon after, fine Victorian homes were built, followed by large, craftsman style bungalows. National Register Historic District. Historic Sheffield Walking/Driving Tour brochure is available. (See Events for Summer Walking Tours.) www.VisitSheffieldAL.com
The Ritz Theatre, 111 West 3rd St. Sheffield, AL 35660. This 1920s silent movie house is restored to its Art Deco Style and is used for community theatre. (See website for Production Calendar.) (256) 381-8370; (256) 383-0533. www.tvaa.net Open for productions and for group tours by appointment.
Cypress Moon Studio, 1000 Alabama Av., Sheffield, AL 35660. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio moved from its original location in 1978, converting this former Naval Reserve building on the Tennessee River to a multi-studio complex. Many of the most important recording artists of the era created their gold and platinum records here, including James Brown, Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Julian Lennon, Melissa Etheridge and Little Milton. The building now houses a film production company with the historic recording studio still in use. (256) 381-5745. www.cypressmoonproduction.com. Hours: M – F 10 am-7 pm
Muscle Shoals Sound Studio Museum, 3614 Jackson Highway Sheffield, AL 35660. This iconic address is one of the most photographed locations in the Shoals area for music pilgrims from around the world. Established in 1969 by a group of former FAME session musicians this was the location where the Rolling Stones, Cher, Bob Segar, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkle, and many others created some of the most popular hits of the 1970’s. The session musicians were dubbed “The Swampers” in the lyrics of Lynrd Skynrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” (256) 783-2641. www.muscleshoalssound.org. Appt. suggested.