WILD WEDNESDAYS in the Bankhead National Forest

Wild South’s Wild Wednesday hikes in the Bankhead National Forest are opportunities for kids and their adults to enjoy our public lands together.  We come to love a place when we spend time in it, and what we love we want to protect.  Our hikes teach kids and adults about the wonders of nature in our magnificent forest, Leave No Trace principles and where families can spend time in stunning wild places on their own and how to do it safely.  As hikers’ perceptions of the natural and cultural history of our national forest is broadened and deepened, a sense of ownership of this place that belongs to all of us is born and, consequently, the responsibility for its care. 

Grab a kid and GET OUTSIDE!

Each Wednesday from the last week in June through the first week in August, Wild South staff will lead a nature hike for kids and families to the coolest, wettest creeks and canyons of northwest Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest!

Sign up at janice@wildsouth.org or 256-974-6166

Group size for each hike is limited and advance sign-up is required.  Be sure to specify which hike(s) you are signing up for, the number in your group and ages of those under 18 and please include your phone number.  Hikers with at least one child under 18 will have priority on the sign-up list.  Hikes fill quickly!

There are 2 choices for each day, except for the July 4 hike.  When signing up, be sure to indicate the date and the desired hike and your phone number.

All hikes are appropriate for most abilities and ages and are rated moderate.  Hikes are on trails that are rough as one might expect in forested, rocky canyons.  We will be in streams, under waterfalls, in swimming holes and maybe even in rain.  In other words, expect to get wet!

Destinations are subject to change according to weather, water levels, road and trail conditions.

After reading THE LIST, be sure to continue reading all the way down through For All Hikes for important details.

And now… THE LIST!

June 27 Hike #1:  Sipsey Fork at the Low Pressure Bridge

 

Distance:  2 miles roundtrip

This spot on the Sipsey Fork is a summertime dream come true.  Swimming holes and shallow pools filled with aquatic life, the sandy river bank and a deep, cool sandstone canyon with rock shelters and a waterfall make this area perfect for playing, exploring and learning about the Black Warrior watershed.  This part of Sipsey is home to several species of salamanders, fish, turtles and a lush diversity of plant life.

June 27 ~ Hike #2:  Fall Creek Falls, Sipsey Wilderness

Distance:  2 miles roundtrip

$3 day-use fee

Fall Creek Falls is located on trail 209 in the southern part of the Sipsey Wilderness on a tributary that flows into Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River.  The hike begins on Trail 200 in the Sipsey parking lot on Cranal Road (County Road 6).  In half a mile, trail 209 is accessed by wading across Borden Creek.  In another half mile, walking along the Sipsey Fork, the waterfall is reached!   On the return, there will be time to play in the water and explore at the confluence of Sipsey Fork and Borden Creek.

 


July 4

Brushy Lake and Brushy Creek

Distance:  1 to 2 miles round trip
$3 per car day use fee

Brushy Lake is in the northeastern section of Bankhead NF. It  was developed as a recreation and picnic area back in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) when Brushy Creek was dammed.  There is a trail that follows the bluffline above the lake, which we will explore, as well as a paved trail to the dam.  We will hike downstream through the hemlock forest on Brushy Creek below the dam and search for salamanders, fish, crawdads and other water creatures!  Birds, fish and turtles in and around the lake are abundant. There are picnic tables and our lunch will be picnic style under the tall pine trees after the hike.  No need to pack lunch in backpacks for this one.

 


July 11 ~ Hike #1:  Borden Creek Trail 200 (upper section), Sipsey Wilderness

 

Distance:  Approximately 3 miles roundtrip

This hike begins at the Borden Creek trailhead on Bunyan Hill Road on the eastern side of the Sipsey Wilderness.The group will follow trail 200 through the forest along Borden Creek to see sandstone bluffs and rock formations then the famous Fat Man’s Squeeze, a 30 foot long narrow tunnel through the sandstone!  Coming out on the other side, the scenery becomes even more dramatic.  Of course, there will be a chance to get in the creek!

July 11 ~ Hike #2:  Sipsey Recreation Area Trail and Sipsey Fork

Distance:  1.5 mile or less with longer option

$3 per car day use fee

The Sipsey Recreation Area trail follows the Sipsey Fork downstream on the southern edge of the Sipsey Wilderness, curving in and out of coves with waterfalls and old-growth trees.  On the way back upstream, this hike will be in the water much of the time, water level permitting, navigating from one sandbar to another.  At the end, we will have our lunch at the swimming hole!

 


 

July 18 ~ Hike #1:  Kinlock Shelter and Kinlock Falls

Distance: 1 mile roundtrip to Kinlock Shelter, then .5 mile or less roundtrip on Hubbard Creek.

This 2-part outing will begin on Kinlock Road on the far western edge of the Sipsey Wilderness. This is the Kinlock Historic District, which was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 because of its enormously significant Native American, pioneer and Civil War history. Kinlock Shelter is a huge rock shelter that is a sacred site for Native Americans. Habitation dates from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
After the shelter, we will drive a mile back down to Hubbard Creek, which we will have crossed on the way up, and explore this beautiful, deep-shaded stream!

July 18 ~ Hike #2:  Borden Creek Trail 200 (lower section), Sipsey Wilderness

Distance:  Approximately 3 miles roundtrip.

$3 per car day-use fee at the trailhead.

This hike on the southern edge of the Sipsey Wilderness will begin at the Sipsey Recreation Area on Cranal Road (Lawrence County Road 6, Winston County Road 60).  We will head north on the trail, and follow Sipsey Fork under deep shade of Eastern hemlocks and giant yellow poplars and Big leaf magnolias.  The trail threads through a canyon created by towering sandstone bluffs to the east and Sipsey Fork and Borden Creek to the west.  On the return, we will enjoy swimming and wading and exploring the shallow water at the confluence of Sipsey and Borden.  Sipsey Fork is the only Wild and Scenic River in Alabama.


July 25 ~ Hike #1:   Low Pressure Bridge on Sipsey Fork

Distance:  2 miles roundtrip

This spot on the Sipsey Fork is a summertime dream come true.  Swimming holes and shallow pools filled with aquatic life, the sandy river bank and a deep, cool sandstone canyon with rock shelters and a waterfall make this area perfect for playing, exploring and learning about the Black Warrior watershed.  This part of Sipsey is home to several species of salamanders, fish, turtles and a lush diversity of plant life.

Sipsey Fork is the only Wild and Scenic River in Alabama.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

July 25 ~ Hike #2:  Kinlock Shelter and Kinlock Falls

Distance: 1 mile roundtrip to Kinlock Shelter, then .5 mile or less roundtrip on Hubbard Creek.

This 2-part outing will begin on Kinlock Road on the far western edge of the Sipsey Wilderness. This is the Kinlock Historic District, which was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 because of its enormously significant Native American, pioneer and Civil War history. Kinlock Shelter is a huge rock shelter that is a sacred site for Native Americans. Habitation dates from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
After the shelter, we will drive a mile back down to Hubbard Creek, which we will have crossed on the way up, and explore this beautiful, deep-shaded stream!

 


August 1 ~ Caney Creek Falls

Distance:  Approx. 2.5 miles roundtrip

Caney Creek Falls is a summertime dream come true!

A one-mile walk from the trailhead on Winston County Road 2 brings us to the waterfall and one of the best swimming holes in Alabama.

The hike into the canyon is mostly on an old road that has turned to un-maintained trail.  The descent into the canyon is quite steep, briefly, as is the climb out on the way back.  For most hikers, this is the most challenging part of the hike, the steep beginning of the walk out.

The trailhead is located on Winston County Road 2, south of Sipsey Fork on the west side of the Bankhead National.  If it would be more convenient to meet the group at the trailhead or somewhere along the way, please let us know when signing up and directions will be provided.


For All Hikes:
After signing up, meet at the Wild South office at 552 Lawrence Street, Moulton, Alabama at 9:30 a.m.

Wear clothes comfortable for summer hiking that can get wet, including shoes!  If tick and insect repellent is used, spray only at the trailhead (not before getting into car) and as sparingly as possible.

Bring a backpack lunch (except for the Brushy Lake outing where we will picnic close to the parking area), snacks and plenty of drinking water.

No dogs and no smoking on Wild Wednesday hikes, please.

Our Wild Wednesday hikes are free but donations to support Wild South’s Hikes Program are gratefully accepted!  There will be a donation bucket on the picnic table at the Wild South office.

 

Contact us with questions or to sign up!