nature trips

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Great place to hike I’ve been hiking there for 16 years

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.

Beautiful fall foliage! From a hiking standpoint, this trail was challenging. It wasn’t well-marked and we traveled through some heavy brush. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the waterfalls - mainly because we were running out of daylight. Bankhead is one of my favorite places to hike - maybe just not this particular trail.

Trail was a great trail but hard to follow at times. We lost the trail several times and fortunately our gps kept it's signal so we were able to stay on course. I wouldn't recommend doing this trail without gps. It was a challenge but definitely worth it. Allow at least 6 to 8 hours to complete this trail as it is actually 11.6 miles for the whole trail.

Trail was not marked and was pretty much non existent. We hiked for 2 miles and was not able to follow any kind of trail or find the waterfalls. We turned back because we were running out of light. I wouldn't recommend trying this trail unless you had a lot of time and don't mind walking through moderate brush on steep terrain.

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 ..

Me and my 8 year old son hiked this loop. There were some deadfalls in Whiteoak hollow and in the canyon leading to Big Tree. Being a wet summer the creeks were still full in June and the waterfalls were flowing. After hiking over the hill and heading down leads past some beautiful waterfalls. After hiking to the Big Tree and playing in the creek we were glad to take the longer but a lot easier route out. My 8 year old did not want to cross back over the hill. To me this is the best route to the big tree due to it short length and beautifull scenery. If you have the stamina it can be shorter by just hiking back over the hill as you came in. The trail up Whiteoak Hollow and over the hill was well worn for not being an official trail. The trail took us just under 6 hours. That is with a couple of rests, a good bit of time spent playing in the water at the big tree, and about 45 minutes cooling off in Thompson Creek next to Needles Eye.

1 month ago

Chose this trail because it had no pictures and only one review. So glad I did. I followed the loop counterclockwise. Eventually the trail descended slightly through a canyon — slippery when wet. At the bottom you’ll see water to the left and large rock formations to the right. Follow the trail inland until there are more rock formations of even greater magnificence off to the left. The falls are straight ahead shortly thereafter.

I’m not so sure this trail really is a loop like the map shows. After resting and enjoying the sound of the falls I attempted to continue the loop and ended up just drudging SW through incommodiously fallen trees until I rejoined the straightaway portion of the trail. Would’ve been better off turning around at the falls and exiting the way I entered. Not sure who is more tired, me or my dog.

2 months ago

This trail itself is good and for the most part it is easy to follow. There were a few places where we briefly lost the trail, but that was likely our fault.

There are tons of rock formations and the river is great. When we went the water was not too cold and the air was the perfect temperature for hiking. I will definitely be coming back to this trail and I feel like I will see something new each time I come back.

Also, I don’t know how common it is to see the bioluminescent worms (glow worms/Dismalites), but I did get a chance to see them for some time in the very early morning hours - very cool to see next to the river!

Great place, the only thing was with all this wilderness a group of idiots had to camp right by us & make noises & scream all night. Besides that it was very nice.

Trail was poorly marked very easy to get lost several places never did But still A big adventure to say the least To river crossings Lots of water until the last 3 hours out Camp sites everywhere I stayed Where the 2 creeks Fort together closest to the Big tree

Great Trail

Walked the Randolf-Sipsey-Rippey trails loop (202-209-201) this past weekend, Aug 25. As there was no recent rainfall I can only assume the drip, drip, drip I heard coming down the cliffs at the end of Randolf trail was Feather Hawk Falls. Even the Sipsey was barely moving. I crossed from 202 where the stones were placed across the river, got lucky as this IS the trail crossing. Used the same thought process when crossing from 209 to 201. I have a map that calls this crossing trail 205 but did not see that in the field. Fell into some great company at this point and walked out with them. Aside from the spider webs, and no waterfall, a real nice hike. 6 hours to make the loop including trail finding time and 8-10 rest stops.

We never found the waterfall. Cemeteries were neat and rock formations at end of the hike were nice. More spiderwebs than I have ever had to deal with.

Not sure what the deal was with the off trail loop many people have taken at the end of the trail, but we took it and saw some great rock formations.

easy at first, but gets tricky towards the end. My husband and I are novice hikers and got a little lost at the end. Thank goodness for the alltrails app!

Great day hike with varying terrain and several cool campsites along the way and at the waterfall. Any idea what the name of this falls is?

4 months ago

Made part of this trip July 21, 2018. From the road to the river is an easy 20 minute walk. Once at the river, however, is another story. Trees are downed trees everywhere, even some of the overhangs have collapsed. The trail, I believe, crosses the river back and forth. It's easier to walk in the river. Get you some cheap booties. The Quillan Cascades are very cool, even the Big Cascades. But if you go any further BEWARE! Even if there is/was a trail chances are that the pigs will have it all torn up. I could not find the trail out so I went down to Ship Rock then back up Thompson to the road.

5 months ago

Easy hike on the way down since it’s all downhill. Not long before you see the waterfalls. Trail is pretty easy to follow, but no markings or signs. We didn’t pick the best day to go to see water falling, but everything else was nice and no one else was out.

easy hike, beautiful place, just wear hiking shoes and not regular shoes.

the main falls are beautiful getting down to them was a little nerve racking with a 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12 year old. had to cross the water several times and not all the feet servived. the trail is overgrown and a hiker ahead of us going in met a timber rattler.

5 months ago

Loved this hike!!! My 4 year old golden retriever kept up really well too! The waterfall is amazing. It’s such a hidden gem!

6 months ago

Truly majestic! We went a mile up stream from the falls and found an old old man made dame and old Forrest signs grown into the trees. A great hike all around.

7 months ago

The trail was easygoing for about a mile, but then there were some tricky spots. I would not recommend this trail for the very young or the elderly. Some climbing experience is helpful.

I hiked about 2.5 miles of the trail (trail #200) yesterday from south to north, starting at the Sipsey trailhead and thought it was a great hike. The bluffs and outcroppings were magnificent and one could easily visualize our native Americans, and peoples before, using the area for shelter and subsistence.

I hiked the 209 at the cranal road outside parking lot .... i wasnt sure if you were suppose to pay 3 bucks to park there or if only to cross the wooden bridge and use that lot ...... any ways it follows it the creek for little bit then curves in to some bluff walls with a small water fall or 2 then goes back to the creek ...... it was moderate id say........ i saw a dead copperhead someone was kind enough to lay right where you would reach to grab the rock for support

7 months ago

beautiful place. Trail is no more than a foot path. a few small falls before get to the main falls.

Great trail for a beginner that doesn’t want to hike too far. This trail takes you through the woods, past a old cemetery, down to a creek, and to a super big waterfall. Easy day trip ! Beautiful as well.

Great loop trail with the infamous Big Tree at the end. Plenty of places to camp along the way and some very gorgeous scenery.

If someone has mentioned this trail crosses Borden Creek I missed it, and after all the spring rains, it was a hazardous crossing.

7 months ago

This area was great. While most of our day was off trail, exploring other areas, we did find quite a few cool things both on the trail and off. We are planning to return again soon, to hike farther and find more cool things.

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