Advanced Search Module

Close Search

Paul M Grist State Park

Paul M Grist State Park encompasses 1,080 acres of  mature pine-oak forest with a healthy understory of shrubs and some native grasses. It harbors a fine assortment of the region’s songbirds: breeding Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated, Hooded, Kentucky, Pine, and a few Black-and-white Warblers and Eastern Wood-Pewees are fairly easy to locate throughout the mature woodlands. You’ll also find Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Great Crested Flycatchers and Summer Tanagers.

This is a good place to observe Pileated Woodpeckers and Brown-headed and White-breasted Nuthatches throughout the year. The 100-acre lake is home to Wood Ducks and attracts small rafts of wintering waterfowl in the cooler months. Purple Martins, Belted Kingfishers and swallows–mostly Barn and Rough-winged, but more and more Cliff and Tree each year–course the lake for food. You’ll see Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, and Cooper’s Hawks, Barred and Horned Owls and Eastern Screech-Owls throughout the year, as well as Broad-winged  Hawks and Mississippi Kites in the warmer months. The shoreline of the lake is often populated by herons and egrets, particularly in late summer and fall. Ospreys and Bald Eagles occasionally stop by the lake, too.

The hiking trail is a must-do as it passes through multiple habitats. You’ll see Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-breasted Chats, a few Prairie Warblers, Chipping and Field Sparrows, American Goldfinches and Indigo Buntings in the emergent second-growth patches. Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, Prothonotary Warblers and perhaps a few Swainson’s Warblers find refuge in the small creeks and backwaters around the lake. Look for Winter Wrens along the roots and tangles near the lake in winter.  Do not neglect the woods lining the entrance road: the mature trees constitute a terrific migrant trap in spring and fall and are a fine place to observe mixed-species feeding flocks in the winter months.

Paul M Grist State Park has 7 miles of maintained hiking trails, camping, picnic tables, boat rentals for use on the park’s 100-acre lake, swimming and  fishing opportunities. A single road winds through the park-a right hand fork leads to a primitive camping area to the south. A left (north) turn at the fork directs the the visitor toward the fishing center, as well as a playground, picnic shelter, restrooms, and the access point for the lakeside hiking trail. The park is open 7 days a week, year-round.

Directions: From the intersection of AL-14 and AL-22 in Selma (Dallas County–fuel, food, and lodging available), proceed north on Al-22 for approximately 11 miles. Turn left (west) on CR-222 and follow 1.7 miles. Turn right (north) on CR-37. The entrance to Paul M Grist State Park is on the right in approximately 1 mile.

GPS: N 32.597517 W -86.991048

Paul M Grist State Park
1546 Grist Rd.
Selma , AL 36701
334-872-5846

http://www.alapark.com/PaulMGrist/

Nearby Sites

Old Cahawba Prairie Preserve

The Old Cahawba Prairie Preserve in Dallas County adjoins the historic Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, site of the state’s first capitol. The 3,000+ acres preserve substantial black-belt prairie habitat, and include native grasslands and pine-plantation forest. The Old Cahawba Prairie abuts the Cahaba River and includes portions of Big Swamp Creek. Expect a mixture of grassland birds, such as sparrows, buntings, and Blue Grosbeaks, second-growth lovers, such as Chats and Prairie Warblers, and pine forest denizens, such as Brown-headed Nuthatches and Pine Warblers.

More Info

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park

Old Cahawba, Alabama’s capitol from 1820 to 1826, is a present-day ghost town and archaeological site situated inside an oxbow of the Alabama River. The forest here is primarily all-age bottomland-type hardwoods, with varying degrees of understory density. There are open short-grass fields adjacent to the main (paved) road. The site hosts a good selection of woodland songbirds, from warblers and vireos to Summer Tanagers, Great Crested Flycatchers, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. There is an abundance of food and shelter here, and a minimal amount of disturbance, so populations of birds are good.

More Info

Dallas County Lake

Dallas County’s Public Lake is conveniently located less than 15 minutes from Selma. It presents an excellent opportunity to see waders up close and swallows and bluebirds in large numbers. The wet woods in the back (northwest) portion of the property offer some great looks at woodland songbirds. There is substantial early second-growth habitat bordering the property, which is excellent for Chats, Prairie Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and many more. A good site worth a short half-day’s birding. Call (334) 874-8804 for more information. Note that the lake is closed on Mondays and all of December and January.

More Info