What a lovely little slice of heaven. Quiet serene gorgeous and private. I backpacked in about a month ago. The hike in was easy which was good because my pack was a bit too heavy. Please note that you need to bring water unless you have a water treatment kit. Animals include that normal squirrels, raccoons and feral pigs. The pigs are not dangerous but they are curious. I heard one snorting around my tent in the night. I always hang my food and cosmetics just in case. I will definitely return.
We had a blast on this trail. This was my first time doing a legit hike. we camped about half way through. 5 of us went. we chose to take the un-maintained part of 204, and even with packs it was very do able (though we did have to climb over and under trees). Over all it was a wonderful time and I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice hike.
It's a beautiful place but not an easy trail for all skill levels as the website claims. Parts of the trail are washed out and lots of inclines especially on the way back out. You need to be very good physically fit or young. Me and my had to be carried out.
Directions put me on Smith Lake dam Rd and had my road location on the road just about 1/10th of a mile from the boat launch. On one side was a chained off dirt road access that was clearly marked Private Property on the opposite side of the road was another chained off dirt road access to a radio tower. It was labeled tower access road and no "No Trespassing sign was noted & the pin marker was located on that side of the road. We went down the road till we were 90deg parallel with Pin marker so we went off trail to see if we could get to the pin marker and we did make it to the marker but were not on any type of trail. The description on this states it is a paved path. Either the GPS coord's are off or? On the way back out we saw a No Tresspassing sign laying on the ground just inside the gated entrance - so am assuming I shouldn't have even been on that site.
Heading south on tr204 from tr224 you will eventually hit a fork. Left is the maintained 204 and right is the "non-maintained" 204a. I have hiked down both ways and both have lots of things to see. The 204a will lead you down to two water falls and a small canyon, good place for lunch. There are a couple campsites around as wellbut be careful as some of the ways down are steep and i could see them getting slick after a rain. Past the falls on 204a the trail gets very thick with lots of down trees. I had some problems getting over some of the trees that were too high to go over but too short to easily go under, I'm a tall guy so I had some troubles. The regular 204 has some beautiful sights as it zig-zags down towards tr209. Nothing too difficult and some beautiful terrain. Overall liked the two trails
Took us all day to hike this loop, about 7 hours plus a hour break at the Sipsey river for lunch and water fn. The terrain was not overly difficult but it was a LONG hike and we were beat by the end. We had a couple instances of confusion when it came to trail connections. There are many non-marked and non-maintained trails that separate from the main trails and can be a bit confusing. We brought three different maps that we found online, each had slightly different trails marked and there were still some that were not on any map, a compass helps as well. I would recommend reading the trail descriptions that Sipsey Wilderness Hiking Club have published online they are very helpful.