Hi @KelHerd - Thanks for reaching out! There are many great opportunities in the northern Alabama region, so you're in a wonderful spot to start hiking. I'm from New Orleans and friends and I used to head up to that area often to spend time outdoors.
You'll find some great ideas for hikes in another thread titled Alabama Outdoors. Over on the Alabama Hiking Trail Society website, there is a list of hiking clubs and organizations that might be another good spot to find a hiking buddy.
We're also hoping some fellow community members from the area will chime in. @ajordan, @AdHocAdventure, @Nomad, @drrocket, @imix4u, @tco2504 - do you all have any trail suggestions or tips to pass @KelHerd's way? Are any of y'all looking for someone to hike with or know other people that are?
This community is a perfect spot to look around for answers to questions you have and to ask your own! We're excited that you're here!
Alabama Hiking Trail Society is a good place to start. They have chapters across the state and work on the trails. Of course with COVID, most events have slowed down but it would be a good place to start. Me? Nah, I'm an alpine skier. Really out of my element in Alabama.
I know that the Nantahala Outdoor Center did put together some hikes along the Appalachian Trail but again COVID... They're a little drive from Pelham; but for a weekend hike and camp, the Blue Ridge Mountains are just awesome. Best of luck! Leave it like you found it.
In addition to the other folks mentioned by @REI-CarterC , we wanted to introduce you to @joshbwhite, who recently posted a thread in the community called Backpacking Trip to Linville Gorge interest. Given your close proximity in Alabama we thought it might be good to connect you two!