July 28, 2017

Trail Descriptions


The information below is based on a consensus of club members' input and is intended for use by anyone planning an outing in the Sipsey Wilderness. A key to the column headings and other phrases used in this section follows the chart.

 

Trails in the Sipsey Wilderness Map

FT # Trail
Miles
Hike
Camp
Horses
At TH
Nearest THs
200
Borden Creek
2.7
**
**

N S
Borden(N), Sipsey(S)
-
West Borden 2.0
*
**

N
Borden
201
Rippey
2.6



S
Randolph
202
Randolph 3.4
*
*

W
Randolph
203
Lookout 4.0
*


N S
Flannagin(N), Borden(S)
204
Bee Ridge 2.6
*
*


Braziel(N), Borden(E)
204a
East Bee Ridge 1.0
**
*


Braziel(N), Borden(E)
206
Thompsom Creek 3.7
**
**

N
Thompson
207
Braziel Creek 4.6
**
*

S
Gum Pond(N), Borden(S)
208
Northwest 7.0
*
*
Yes
E W
Gum Pond(E), Thompson(W)
209
Sipsey River 6.7
**
**


Sipsey(E), Borden(E), Randolph(W), Thompson(W)
210
Mitchell Ridge 7.3
*



Braziel(N), Gum Pond(S)
223
Gum Pond 1.8


Yes
N
Braziel
224
Bunyan Hill 4.8


Yes
S
Borden

FT #

US Forest Service trail number in the Bankhead National Forest
Trail

Name of the trail
Miles

Approximate length one-way
Hike

Quality from a hiking perspective:

** Excellent - varied terrain, scenic beauty, good exercise

*
Good - still good but less than the excellent category


Fair - not bad but without the waterfalls, bluffs, and other points of interest
Camp

Quality from a camping perspective:

**
Many established campsites, water and firewood available

*
Campsites exist but water and/or firewood may require more effort



Horses

Are horses and horse-drawn wagons permitted? If so, "yes"
At TH

Trailhead parking areas adjoining one or both ends of this trail (North, South, East, West)
Nearest THs

The nearest trailhead(s) for access to this trail and which end if more than one
 

 
The description of each trail begins with an assessment of its difficulty. While conforming to the conventional designations as given on many hiking websites, it must be noted that these values are totally subjective. And sadly, I must disclaim on behalf of the Sipsey Wilderness Hiking Club any injury or inconvenience that may occur as a result of misinterpretation.

What is meant by "easy", "moderate", "difficult" is meant in the context of hiking trails, not sidewalks through city parks. None of the trails can be considered "strenuous" though an out-of-shape Boy Scout dad toting a 60-pound pack would probably disagree. The key here is to understand your own abilities and not bite off more than you can chew.

Easy: Not difficult to follow; reasonably level with no steep inclines; trivial stream crossings (if any); hiking boots (while always desirable) are not required.

Moderate: Trail not as easy to follow, may require searching at times - take map and compass; elevation varies; probably some stream crossings though most involve nothing more than some balancing acts on a log or testing the "waterproofness" of your boots; and you will probably want those boots.

Difficult: Trail may just disappear at times, you definitely need maps and compass (no kidding); some serious hills; stream crossings which may require taking off shoes if not pants; and while some fools will attempt anything even barefooted, it is for these trails why you spend so much money on hiking boots.



The eponymous Wild and Scenic stream that flows through the Wilderness is technically the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River. Many people, including those who create road signs, erroneously refer to this body of water as the "Sipsey River". This misnomer would not be an issue except that there actually is a Sipsey River in west central Alabama; it flows into the Tombigbee near Tuscaloosa. In this document "the river" and "the Sipsey" always refer to the Sipsey Fork.
 

The web pages in this section have been assembled and edited by Larry Barkey. Outings in the Sipsey Wilderness require proper equipment and adequate provisions. The information presented here is intended merely as a rough planning guide. Whereas every effort has been made to insure accuracy, neither Larry nor the Club nor the Forest Service can be responsible for typographical errors or any circumstances resulting from the use of this material.