Holmes Chapel Falls, March 7

Holmes Chapel Falls, March 7

Three Springtime hikes in the Bankhead National Forest

Saturday, March 28

9:00 a.m.

Warrior Mountains Trading Company

Sign up at janice@wildsouth.org or 256-974-6166.  Group sizes are limited and advance sign-up is required.  Specify desired hike and include phone number in e-mail.

 Hike #1:  Wiggins Hollow

Leader:  Robert Howell

Distance:  2.5 miles roundtrip

Level of challenge:  Moderate

All ages welcome

There is lots to see and learn on this hike, which will take place in the northeastern section of the Bankhead National Forest.  Wiggins Hollow was the long-time land of hike leader Robert Howell’s family so Robert is knowledgeable of the history of the area.  Robert is a volunteer hike leader, Helping Hands volunteer and volunteer wilderness ranger for Wild South.

Hikers will see springs, wildflowers and two waterfalls. It is a fairly easy hike with several stream crossings and a short uphill walk to the waterfalls.

There are no trails on this hike.  Be prepared for walking through forest undergrowth and crossing narrow, shallow streams.

Hike #2:  Coal Mine Branch and Holmes Chapel Falls

Leader: Tim Davis

Distance:  2.5 miles roundtrip total

Level of Challenge:  Moderate

All ages welcome

This will be a two-part hike, first to Coal Mine Branch then, after a short drive, Holmes Chapel Falls.  Both destinations are in the eastern section of the Bankhead National Forest in the Brushy Creek watershed.

The hike to Coal Mine Branch is about 1.5 mile roundtrip, all off trail.  After a stop at Coal Mine Branch Falls, the hike will continue downstream to Brushy Creek.   The second part of the outing will be to Holmes Chapel Falls which will be a short, half mile hike roundtrip.   Participants must be capable of hiking on rough terrain with no trail.  There will be a few shallow, narrow stream crossings, a stretch or 2 of brief, steepness (going into and out of the canyon).

Hike #3:  Botanical hike on Thompson Creek Trail

Leader: Kevin England, botanist

Distance:  5 miles roundtrip

Level of Challenge:  Moderately challenging

All ages welcome

The display and diversity of spring wildflowers on Thompson Creek, on the western side of the Sipsey Wilderness, is spectacular.  Hikers will be led on trail 206 to Ship Rock at the headwaters of Sipsey Fork.  There is little elevation change on the trail, bounded by Thompson Creek on one side and tall sandstone bluffs on the other, but there are some brief steep places and several small creek crossings.

For all hikes:

Bring a backpack with lunch, snacks, drinking water.  These are extraordinarily scenic areas, so you’ll probably want your camera!  A walking stick may help with creek crossings and the uneven, rugged terrain.

Dress for the weather, in layers.  Bring rain gear if rain is forecast.  Keep an eye on the forecast.  We do not always cancel a hike because of rain, so be prepared!

Meet at the Warrior Mountains Trading Company at 11312 AL Hwy. 33, Moulton, AL at 9:00 a.m.  Park on the south end of the building and come into the store.  Meet your leaders at the Wild South picnic table toward the back of the store at 9:00.

DOGS ON WILD SOUTH HIKES:  Well-behaved, socialized, non-threatening dogs may come on Wild South hikes but must be leashed at all times.

Wild South hikes are free of charge because we want people to get out there and get to know their forest!  However, there will be a donation bucket on the picnic table.  All hiker donations directly support the work we do in the Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness.  Thank you for your support!