Wild South Hikes in the Sipsey Wilderness

Saturday, December 3

9:30 a.m.

Warrior Mountains Trading Company

Sign up at janice@wildsouth.org or 256-974-6166.  All participants must sign up in advance.  Group size in Sipsey Wilderness is strictly limited to 10.

Madison in tree

Two hikes to choose from:

Rock Garden Falls

Leader:  Tim Davis

Distance:  3 miles, roundtrip

Level of Challenge:  Moderate

All ages welcome; read description carefully to determine if this hike is appropriate for you or your children.

The hike to Rock Garden Falls will begin on Gum Pond Motorway on the northeastern edge of the Sipsey Wilderness.  Hikers will proceed onto a tributary of Hagood Creek through upland and cove hardwood forest.  There are no trails but the understory is fairly clear and the terrain is not difficult to traverse.  Interesting features on the hike are tall bluffs, a sinkhole, dry waterfalls and rock formations.  Unless there is a good amount of rain before the day of the hike (not expected) all waterfalls, including Rock Garden Falls, will be dry.

Expect some moderate elevation change, roots and rocks underfoot covered by dry leaves.

(Read “For Both Hikes” below)

Trail 202 to Featherhawk Falls

Leader:  Carroll Wilson

Distance:  6 miles roundtrip

Level of Challenge:  Moderately challenging

Ages 8 years and over.

Beginning at Randolph Trailhead on the southern border of the Sipsey Wilderness, this hike will proceed along the ridge on Trail 202, through the Johnson Cemeteries then drop into the Sipsey Fork canyon.  At the Sipsey Fork, hikers will be led upstream on Featherhawk Creek through lush, green hemlock forest for a short distance to Featherhawk Falls, which will be dry.

Distance is the most challenging part of this hike.  The trail is clear and well-maintained.


Be prepared for

  • rocky, rooty forest terrain with leaf-concealed rocks (make sure footwear is up to the task – no flip-flops or slick-soled shoes)
  • ticks (see “Ticks” below).
  • weather (watch the forecast)
  • extraordinary natural beauty (bring a camera)


  • a daypack with lunch, snacks, drinking water

Dogs on Wild South hikes:  Only dogs that are well-behaved, peaceable, that get along well with other dogs and humans are welcome on Wild South hikes.  Dogs must remain leashed and under owner’s control at all times and not be allowed to mooch food from other hikers at lunch time.  If dog poops on trail, poop must be picked up and discarded away from trail and any stream or packed out. There is a danger in Bankhead of dogs contracting Pseudorabies from feral hogs.

Ticks:  The most effective protection against tick-borne diseases is the type of permethrin product that is sprayed on clothing.  Permanone (by Repel) and Sawyers are a couple of brands.  Spray on clothing (not skin) at least 4 hours before wearing (that) clothing.  It has no scent whatsoever.

Wild South hikes are smoke free, and we don’t just mean forest fires.  Thank you for not smoking.

Meet up:  After signing up, meet at the Warrior Mountains Trading Company at 11312 AL Hwy. 33, Moulton (map link above) at 9:30 a.m..  Park on the south end of the building and come into the store.  You will meet your group at the tables toward the back of the store.  On a table you will find sign-in sheets and a donation bucket.  If it makes sense for you to meet us at the trailhead instead, please indicate that upon sign up.

Wild South hikes are part of our Outreach and Education Program and are free of charge.  However, donations to our Outreach and Education Program are gratefully accepted and keep the program going.  Thank you.