The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) wants to say thank you to the state’s military, veterans, and the families who have served—through a unique memorial and museum trail system.

The North Alabama Patriot Trail offers a self-guided tour of 79 patriotic stops across the 16 northernmost Alabama counties, which together honor veterans of the United States military. The trail aims not only to recognize people and places in the state’s military history but also to attract locals and tourists alike to visit parts of the state they may be unfamiliar with.

In addition to a variety of parks, museums, and memorials along its path, the North Alabama Patriot Trail features several annual events and festivals to honor and celebrate veterans, including parades on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. Together, each and every stop desires to pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed for their country, as well as demonstrate their community’s gratitude.

Take a closer look at some of the stops you are invited to visit along the North Alabama Patriot Trail.


Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives 

The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, located in Athens, began as a personal artifact collection of the late Veterans Service Officer Kenneth David. His desire for a permanent home of these artifacts led to the establishment of the Veterans Museum, whose goal is to honor all of the brave men and women, from the Revolutionary War to present day, who have given their lives in service of their country.

Sandra Thompson, Executive Director of the museum, believes the trail provides a welcomed incentive for visitors to explore the state’s military history. “The trail is a wonderful way to honor our veterans while attracting visitors to places they may never have considered traveling before,” says Thompson. 

The museum contains an impressive display of artifacts including uniforms, medals, and weapons, as well as a database of veterans. Guided tours are provided by local veterans, and the museum’s outdoor park is under construction and set to be completed in the fall. 


Cullman Veterans Memorial Park

Located at the entrance of Sportsman Lake Park, the Cullman Veterans Memorial Park seeks to honor men and women from all branches of service who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The park is home to the Alabama Veterans Memorial Wall, a monument that honors 1,209 fallen Alabama soldiers who were killed in Vietnam from 1963 to 1975. Additionally, the park includes monuments from World War I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Cullman Veterans Memorial Park provides ample space to rest and reflect on the sacrifices that are represented in its monuments, and an impressively large cement flag rests in the center of the park along with an army tank and helicopter. The park also hosts annual Veterans Day events in the shade of its large pavilion. 

(Malcolm Howard/Contributed)

Colonel Ola Lee Mize Patriots Park & Etowah County War Memorial (Gadsden)

Across from Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden, the Ola Lee Mize Patriots Park pays tribute to Etowah County servicemen and women who lost their lives in combat. The park is dedicated and named after Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Ola Lee Mize, who went beyond the call of duty as a member of Company K in the Korean War. Stationed at Outpost Harry, Mize implemented an effective defense system and saved countless lives; the park honors his namesake for his selfless service.

The park features the Etowah County War Memorial, a moving tribute to all those who gave their lives in service of their country from WWI to present day. An adjoining museum houses displays of local military interest and military equipment, including a UH-1 helicopter and an M-60 tank. 

To read about all of the stops along the North Alabama Patriot Trail, and to request a brochure that includes a trail map, visit the North Alabama Patriot Trail page here.