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Bankhead National Forest



Sipsey Wilderness Area- The Sipsey Wilderness is located in the Bankhead National Forest in northwest Alabama. Visitors can either drift down the Sipsey River in canoes or hike the trails that lead deep into the wilderness.

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General Information

Description - The 180,000 acres of the Bankhead National Forest offer scenic beauty, tall trees, flowing streams, picturesque rock bluffs, and abundant wildlife. The rock cliffs that rise from the waters of Lake Lewis Smith and along the canyons of the Sipsey River are outstanding examples of the Bankhead's rugged beauty. Streams on the Bankhead often cascade over faces into deep canyons to form beautiful waterfalls.

41,000 acre Lake Lewis Smith and the Clear Creek and Houston Recreation Areas which are located on the lake are major recreation attractions on the Forest. Brushy Lake Recreation Area is another smaller center for recreation activities. Natural Bridge, northeast of Double Springs features a sandstone bridge millions of years old. The Sipsey Wilderness, one of only two designated wilderness areas in the state, is located on the Bankhead. The Sipsey River which flows through the wilderness area is a designated Wild and Scenic River. The Bankhead boast numerous hiking trails and even a horse trail system.

Recreation - The Bankhead offers a variety of recreation opportunities. The most popular activities on the forest include camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain bike riding, target shooting and archery. Recreation sites are available through most of the year, except for those with water systems subject to damage from freezing weather.

Climate - Much of Alabama receives nearly 60 inches of rain each year. The highest amount of rain reaches the region as afternoon thunderstorms in July, August and September. Summers are extremely hot and humid with temperatures frequently reaching above 100 degrees F. Summer nights cool slightly and provide a good time to travel through the region.

Winter temperatures are mild, rarely dipping below 40 degrees with the humidity level at its lowest in November and December. Spring and fall are very pleasant times to visit the region. Spring brings mild temperatures and blooming trees and flowers. During the fall temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees F with low humidity levels. Northern Alabama is generally cooler than the south due to its higher elevations.

Location - The Bankhead National Forest is located northwest Alabama with its District Office in Double Springs. U.S. Highway 278 runs east-west through the Forest and through Double Springs.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Linn (Kansas City, MO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I just returned from BNF and after a quick view of several beautiful sites, I bought land, which butts against the northern end of BNF. I cannot believe my fortune! As I have relation in the area, I go back to visit 3-4 times/yr & will be relocating in 2007. If anyone has questions or requests, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. All I know to recommend at this time is Brushy Creek Lake & the hiking trails along the Sipsey River.

Filed By: K4NWX (HACKLEBURG, AL)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Day hiked trail 201 on a warm friday about 80 degrees. This is a easy hike until you reach just above the SIPSEY and then not a very difficlt descent into the canyon. After the passage of a cold front on sunday returned and day hiked trail 202 also a easy hike with a beautiful cove to camp at near the X of 202 and 209

Filed By: K4NWX (HACKLEBURG, AL)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: A REALLY GREAT AREA FOR DAY HIKES OR 3 TO 4 DAY TRIPS.I STAYED OVER NIGHT IN NOVEMBER OF 2002 AND WEATER WAS ABOUT 38 DEGREES, BUT WILL GET COLDER. A TRAIL MAP AND COMPASS ARE A MUST HAVE ITEM.I CARRIED A GPS BUT WAS NOT ALWAYS ABLE TO GET A LOCK WITH THE GPS. ONE OF THE FEW PLACES IN THE DEEP SOUTH YOU CAN EXPERIANCE THE TRUE WILDERNESS SETTING

Filed By: Duncan (Huntsville, AL)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This was my first time visiting the Bankhead Forest, the trip was fantastic and I'll be returning. The scenery was beautiful. I went with a group who 'ran' the trails to Big Tree and back...round trip was 16 miles. I do not know the trails we ran and see how someone could easily get turned around. There were numerous waterfalls and we had to cross the river on the return leg. Yep we got wet.


More Information

Contact Information:
Bankhead National Forest, P.O. Box 278, AL 33 North , Double Springs, AL, 35553, Phone: 205-489-5111

Additional Information:
Alabama National Forests & Parks - Alabama has four National Forests, an Historic Site, a Military Park, a Monument and a Preserve. These areas are scattered throughout the state and offer a full variety of recreation opportunities.
North Alabama - North Alabama includes the northern third of the state, from Birmingham, north. This region offers waterfalls, fish-filled rivers and lakes, rapids suited for rafting and caves to explore.

Links:
Alabama National Forests - Official agency website

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