Decatur, AL: Sipsey Wilderness

Traverse old-growth forest and clamber over sandstone boulders on this 13-mile hike in Alabama's premier wilderness area.

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Tucked into Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest, the Sipsey Wilderness is home to wild, brushy trails and massive towering oaks—including the state’s tallest tree. The first 5.5 miles of this 13-mile out-and-back are along the flat, sandy Trail 209; after 1 mile, pass Fall Creek Falls, then continue another mile past the Trail 204 junction and head upcanyon toward the Bee Branch along an unsigned trail. Stay right at the creek divide, following the east branch uphill into an ancient box canyon. Leave the trail at the head of the canyon and clamber over giant sandstone boulders to the record-holding 150-foot tulip poplar. Turn around at the falls just beyond, or create a loop (also 13 miles) by heading to FR 224 (Bunyan Hill Trail) and taking it southeast to the Borden Creek Trail 200, which leads south to Trail 209. –Hike submitted by Russell Helms, author 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Birmingham (Menasha Ridge Press)


Sipsey Picnic Area

Location: 34.2845039, -87.399025