Lake Lurleen State Park is located in Tuscaloosa County, nine miles northwest of the city of Tuscaloosa and 14 miles from the University of Alabama campus. The park is named after Alabama's only female governor, Lurleen Burns Wallace, wife of former governor George C. Wallace and a native of Tuscaloosa County. As governor, she was instrumental in funding a major renovation project within the Alabama state park system. In 2009, the park had 44,000 visitors, annual operating expenses of $417,000, and a staff of seven people.
The 1,625 acres on which the park is located were purchased originally by the local Chamber of Commerce during the early 1950s using donations from private citizens and businesses. The state of Alabama purchased the land in 1952 and began constructing a dam to create a 250-acre lake, picnic areas, restrooms, and bait shop. The park, named Tuscaloosa County Public Lake, operated from 1956 until 1970 under concession contracts with different companies. In 1970, the State Parks Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources took over management of the park and built additional facilities. Construction of the existing park facilities was completed in 1972, and the park was officially named Lake Lurleen State Park at that time.
The park's centerpiece is the 250-acre lake stocked with largemouth bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. Anglers have access to three fishing piers, two boat launches, and fishing boat rentals. Visitors seeking other recreational activities can tour the nature center and enjoy a beach and swimming area as well as paddle boat and canoes rentals at the fishing pier. A wooded campground with 91 campsites, all with water and electricity hookups, overlooks the lake. Picnic areas include grills and tables, and four multipurpose pavilions are available for rent for large groups.
A recently added, multi-use trail network provides 19.5 miles of hiking and biking trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels; the trails skirt the shores of Lake Lurleen and loop through the park's interior. The biking trails are heavily used by local mountain biking clubs and by students from the nearby University of Alabama campus. The park hosts a number of races, trail runs, and biathlons and triathlons.
Thomas V. Ress
Published June 3, 2010
Last updated April 20, 2012