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hiking
snow
8 hours ago

Hiked in counter clockwise. The weather was cold, and do to a front that moved in the night before, everything was covered or dusted with snow. The trail looked amazing. I branched off to the Appalachian trail at the split. It’s a bit confusing with the way the sign reads but it’s a left toward Neals Gap if you’re wanting to do the loop. A good majority of the little runoffs were frozen over so water wasn’t available until I reached the base of Blood Mountain. Going up to Blood Mountain overlook was challenging as many of the steps were completely iced over. I would recommend having some spikes available for these parts if you plan to venture out in the same conditions. I stayed overnight at the summit for the Super Blood wolf moon lunar eclipse. Pretty impressive from up there. The following day I hiked down and finished the Slaughter Creek trail to complete the loop. More running water on that side of the loop. All in all a good hike.

Nice views from the top. It’s borderline moderate. Not as strenuous as others. Finished in about 2.5 hours.

I called the National Forest Service and they said that since Sipsey Wilderness is part of Bankhead Wildlife Management Area (hunting is allowed) and Bankhead National Forest, they do not “promote” day use, as such, at least not to the extent as some forests. There is a small team of trail volunteers that had to go through forestry training in order to provide maintenance to the trails. For example, no gas chainsaws are permitted and all trees must be cut with hand saws, if they are allowed to be cut at all. Also, NO BLAZING OF, NOR ON, TREES. And I am guessing that the trail post numbering are probably a curtesy of the volunteers and not the Forest Service. So if you are wondering why the trails are so primitive or seem unkempt, this is why.

Pretty trail that’s probably amazing in spring. As mentioned, Jarrard and Slaughter trails not well marked. Therefore, I felt like Moses wandering through the desert. AT section is nice. $5 fee for parking, cash or check only.

Atlanta trails has better info on route to take and landmarks. Highly advise starting at Jarrard end and not the Slaughter end.

Went in counterclockwise with some nice rock scrambles but up on the rim the storm has almost made it impassable.We went about a half mile in a hour then just gave up on following the trail and went cross-country until we finally picked the trail up later.Made us late getting into Sawmill and we exited the River trail on Sunday which in a nice workout.Overall a good weekend but would have liked to have had a heads up on the storm damage on the rim trail

great hike, but be prepared. it is not an easy trail. this loop transitions from a well maintained trail to steep stone steps, to rock hopping across areas where no trail is defined. the stagecoach rd is amazing, when you think of how it was built, hiking up it, know it is a long steep grade on a rock road. the rim trail leaving the stagecoach rd is your typical trail, and easy hiking untill it gets back around to the point it has to cross Collins river. it becomes more difficult there with some rock hopping.

overall I liked it, the camp sites are nice, water is plentiful, while it is not an easy loop, it is not overly difficult. it is well marked.

[TL;DR: Solid trail, good workout. Varied terrain so you won't get bored. Watch out for false trails.]

First, if you're reading this close to the date of this post, go now. The leaves just started really changing color about a week ago, and now it is in full swing. Lots of pines, but in the deciduous areas it is all red and gold. The trail is casually beautiful, with the occasional stunner just laying nonchalantly in full view of the trail. Waterfalls, cliffs, boulder fields, etc.

You will have a scramble on either side of the trail head. The one to the right (counterclockwise) is more continuous, with no real flat spots until you begin your trip up to the rim. The one to the left (clockwise) is not a continuous scramble, but seemed more difficult due to a number of odd angles and weird transitions. I would call them equally difficult, but in different ways. I would recommend going to the right from trailhead, though, if only because the left-hand side gives you a beautiful spot to appreciate once you get close to trailhead on the way back.

Outside of the scrambles the path tends to be very broken and rough, but nothing worrisome. You will need to cross 4-5 streams, so keep an eye on the rain and prepare accordingly. Be aware, when it rains heavily, there is a both boulder field and a stream that will turn into rivers (which you will have to ford.)

The ascent on the way back is fairly rapid, but not too much so.

hiking
2 months ago

This loop is actually Jarrard Gap trail to AT to Slaughter Creek trail. The Jarrard section was poorly marked in some places. At one point, after losing the trail near an old campsite and wandering for 20 minutes, I ended up just sitting on a log and waiting until someone came down the mountain from the other direction - never would have found the trail otherwise. The AT section doesn't really have any views even though it follows the ridgeline, thanks to the tree cover. Recommend doing a spur up the AT to Blood Mountain, which has a great view and is worth the extra mile or so. The Slaughter Creek section was the prettiest, with lovely foliage and lots of picturesque creek crossings. Next time, I would choose to do Slaughter Creek out and back. My dog liked this hike and had no problems with the terrain.

backpacking
2 months ago

Awesome place .We have been here several times but on this weekend we did a 3 day hike ..We started at the Randolf trailhead .Took the 202,209,and the 200 the first day .In which we figured was around 9.5 miles to where we camped for the night ..The next morning we finished the 200 to the 224,204,204b and then set up camp at the crossing with the 209..We figured this to be around 9.5 miles as well ..This spot next to the river is, in my opinion, the best camp spot Ive found In the Sipsey.. The next morning we packed up and followed the 209 to the 201...Finding the 201 is pretty tough if youve never been here.. Signs are not real clear here ..The trail ,once you cross the river an go right for about 40 yards , will actually go left straight up the hill on the other side ..The beginning of the 201 is a tough one too, but fun and beautiful like all the others here .The 201 took us back to the truck .For what we figured to be around 6 miles ,making the total trip around 24 to 25 miles and the end of an awesome weekend ..Each trail on this loop is unique in its own way..I would say of all these trails ,the 224 would be an easy trail (especially if you went south east on it..It all be down hill ) ..The 204b would be the hardest by far .It can test you for sure .One of my favorites so far . I will definately be back .And looking foward to doing more of the nothern trails ..

did this trail Oct 13. nice trail. not the best rim trail. there is a huge mistake on this trail map. I took the trail to the gulf first on advice from a hiking pro. saving the bolder field for last. better than a 3 mile up hill out of the gulf. If you do this route please note that when you get to Sawmill Camp take the connector trail to the right just past the foot bridge. The map on here shows you going on the river bed and making a large loop to the stagecoach trail. I tried to blaze this trail but lost track of the trail. Had to backtrack to the bridge. If there was a trail there it would add around a mile and a half. Which it did add 1 mile on my hike going in and back out. Just watch for the connector trail on the right past the bridge. It takes you to the Stagecoach.

truly spectacular! streams and rhododendron tunnels, followed by gorgeous ridgeline views, then back down into the valley

I am so glad I picked this trail. We started from Backcountry Info Booth, right near Standing Indian Campground.

We started counter-clockwise on the Kimsey Creek Trail from the Campground and hiked about 5 miles until we reached Standing Indian shelter, where we camped for the first night.

Day 2 we walked around 15 miles northbound on the AT. When you reach the junction to get on the AT at the end of Kimsey Creek, make sure you go North, which will be to your left (this happens before Standing Indian Campground). We hiked all the way until the summit of Albert Mountain and camped at the top. The best parts of the trail are immediately before you begin the ascent to Albert Mountain and the views here. I would also recommend staying at Carter Gap shelter if you’re looking to shorten the mileage / day. We stopped here for lunch around 4:00 pm after leaving Standing Indian Shelter at 11:00 am.

Day 3 was very quick, purely downhill 5 mile finish back to our car. Nothing too remarkable.

Overall, some inclines that are challenging, but the two newbies with me never felt really exhausted. I would recommend going clockwise if you want to avoid a very steep climb over rocks up to Albert, but those with some experience I do endorse the counter-clockwise route.

Great weekend!

In my opinion some of the best views and waterfalls in the park. We started at Collins West trailhead and made the trek to Sawmill campsite #2 then dumped our packs put our tents up then decided to take the short trip over to the historic cabin built in 1910 .Very cool little cabin sitting in a green field. The next morning we took the Connector Trail over to Stagecoach and then over to the South Rim Trail and out to the Savage Gulf Ranger Station. I'll spare you the true details about how we ended up waaay over there at the ranger station instead of the CG loop back to to Collins West trailhead...

This is a great 3-day hike that you can do as a loop from the Standing Indian Campground. We enjoyed hiking North to South, starting from Standing Indian, going up the Long Branch Trail to the AT, then turning right and hiking until the Kimsey Creek Trail, then back to the campground.

We camped the first night at Long Branch Shelter (great water source, new shelter and picnic table), and the second night at the Beech Creek tenting area. We loved both spots. This hike isn't super strenuous, goes through pretty canopy and has some pretty vistas, especially at the top of Albert Mountain from the firetower. We carried a bear canister and had no problems.

I didn't love the Kimsey Creek trail - it's very wet and slippery, with a lot of fallen trees crossing the trail. Otherwise, the rest of the hike was wonderful, with well maintained trails.

Very solid and well maintained trail. I'd recommend using Guthook's Guide as well as AllTrails app since you are walking the AT for most of this loop. It'll help with planning your water stops. Finished the trail in 2 days, but I'd recommend 3 if you want to have a more casual time. The shelters and sites are spaced pretty well if you'd rather average 8-9 miles a day.

I headed counter-clockwise down the Kimsey Creek trail first. It was bit overgrown and there were several blowdowns for the first half mile or so, but as long as you are paying attention you shouldn't have any issues. This portion follows and cuts across streams almost constantly so you will have no problem with water. I'd suggest filling up before heading up to Standing Indian mountain though, just in case.

After Carter Gap shelter, it's pretty much smooth sailing until a couple miles before the Long Branch junction. On my trip, there was a massive blowdown fully blocking the trail. I climbed over the tree, but I would 100% recommend that you try to squeeze under it or maybe hike up the mountain a bit to walk around it. It had rained earlier that day and everything was slippery.

If you are heading NOBO, the hike up Albert Mountain is pretty intense. It's half stairs, half rock climbing. There is a bypass you can use which follows a forestry service road for a bit and reconnects on the other side. It took me roughly 30 mins to climb the 0.3 mi from the base to the fire tower. I hiked this part after it rained, and the rocks were pretty slippery. You can always do the bypass then just hike SOBO up to the tower.

This was my third hike and my first one in August. The area looks completely different in the summer and not nearly as pretty as winter or fall. The spring was just a trickle. According to my tracker which is Wickiloc it was right at 14 miles, which when you are dead tired at 12.6 that extra mile or so is a killer. Do this COUNTER CLOCKWISE. Get the really bad boulder field out of the way at the beginning. This is really more suited as an overnight hike that a day hike. Just take plenty of water and give yourself way more time than you think you will need. The difficulty is up there with the Fiery Gizzard (maybe even more difficult). You are gonna feel it for a few days afterwards.

fun trail. second time doing this loop trail. great hike.

I completed this trail as a day hike. It is extremely beautiful. The mileage and strenuous rating are accurate. The path is extremely rocky along the old stagecoach section, and there are boulder scrambles in both directions from the beginning of the loop. This is a really nice hike, but I would recommend less experienced hikers build up to this trail and allot plenty of time for completion. Big Creek Gulf and Rim trails are easier and may be a good test run before venturing this way.

Great

Great hike, great workout. If your going to do it as a two-day hike I recommend going counterclockwise and staying at sawmill campsite and rest up for the shorter yet more difficult last leg of the hike which is almost all uphill. The water was down quite a bit when we were there even though we got rained on for about 50% of the two day hike. There were a TON of crazy looking spiders that kept weaving webs across the trails too which was frustrating. I felt that I was constantly waiving a stick in front of me to try to avoid them. I definitely recommend trekking poles (two of them) for each hiker unless you're an extremely experienced hiker. I slipped and fell pretty hard once on a slick rock even with poles. The sawmill campsite truly feels like you're out in the middle of nowhere and you can forget about the port-a-potty at that campsite. FULL of spiders and nastiness. Otherwise very beautiful hike.

hiking
6 months ago

Good hike. The course is a bit confusing if you don't know that the blue tags do not continue on the AT, which is marked in white. So, if you start from the trailhead and do the loop counterclockwise, it's blue to Jarrad Gap, then white for the AT, and then back to blue for Slaughter Creek to complete the loop.

We just took a short hike to the water fall. The trail is rocky so have good hiking shoes and trek poles . Some place can be very slippery even when it has not rained in some time. Going in and coming back out has some changeling part of the trail but over all worth the hike down to see the falls.

My son and I did the Collins Gulf trail on a beautiful July weekend and spent overnight at Sawmill Camp backcountry camp. Instead of the loop we did down and back on this trail with full packs. This is a great variation of rock hopping, switchbacks and slight elevation forest trail. The elevation change was almost 1100’ over approximately 5.2 miles, most of which is in the front end from the trailhead parking lot. So down was not bad but back a different story.

This is a strenuous hike as plotted. I would recommend doing the loop rather than down and back if you do as a two day. Gulf trail down and rim trail back.

some of the markers where hard to see and I walked 2 miles past my turn so had to turn around and go back but in all a great place to hike.

hiking
7 months ago

This route seems to have been created before the 2011 Super Outbreak that damaged/caused a few trails to be closed. A few of the trails this route suggests aren't on the trial map anymore. Trail 209 at route mile 19 no longer splits into 2 trails. A better option would be to jump on trail 207 at route mile 18.

The listed mileage for this route is inaccurate. By the time I had reached route mile 9, my recording was saying mile 11, so be aware. I improvised and went down trail 204, kept right where the trial splits, then left as it splits again onto East Bee Branch Canyon trail. From there I went left onto trail 209 and followed it until it met back up with the original route. This put me at 21 miles total and brought me to 3 separate waterfalls.

This route is best suited for a 3 day weekend, and is not a good over night trip unless you are an experienced backpacker who likes to put in long days.

Water is scare from route mile 8-14 so when you get to the wooden bridge at the County 3 trail head fill up all your bottles. Alternatively, you can hike down trail 204, then keep right when the trail splits to get you to a nice creek/waterfall, but that will add about 2 mile to the loop.

The only reason I'm giving this route 3 starts is due to the mileage being inaccurate, and it leading you to trails that are no longer officially listed. For an over night trip, I'd say this route is difficult, due to the long miles you'd need to put in, but a 2 night trip this hike is moderate.

This is a nice, tough day hike. The trail is a great alternative to the busy stone door side of the park. I completed this on a beautiful Sunday in June, and I only saw two other hikers. Long sections include hopping over wet rocks, so it is slower hike.

This time it was after rain. Slick rock field to start. Water flowing across places it normally doesn't. Good times. Saved a couple of hopefuls from making a mistake. They'd never done the trail, and had started at 2 for a clockwise hike. Boulders last. In the dark. Wet.

If this is your first time on the trail, don't start after noon, and please, take the boulder field first. That part's bad enough when you can see. Also, some of the stable looking stuff moves, so, yeah.

Great hike once again! This is my second time hiking this one and I love it even more now. Very challenging hike. We saw a large rat snake (harmless but huge!) hanging out pretty close to the trail, and a hiker we ran into said he saw a rattlesnake sitting in the middle of the trail close to the end... be careful!

Just did this hike for a 3day trip. We parked at standing Indian campground for $2 per day. Day 1 we went about 12 Miles south/clockwise and camped at carter gap. There were plenty of tent sites and fire rings there but it was crowded. So don’t expect privacy here. Day 2 we went about 9.5 Miles and camped at deep gap. Several spots here as well, but is right off of a road. We found a private site close to the creek and there was only one other group camping in the area. Someone had recently cut down a tree and chopped up firewood so that was convenient. Day 3 we hiked the kimsey creek trail (3.7 Miles) back to our car. You will cross and walk through creeks and streams the entire time your on this section and there were a lot of downed trees. It was rated as easiest, but definitely was not that. It was a good trail overall though. The whole hike was great.

Top of the gulf, in the gulf, swinging bridges, waterfalls. campsites, springs, history, and challenging terrain all add up to a great trek. Can’t ask for much more fun!

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