202 - Randolph Trail     Map

Easy - Moderate.  The western portion follows an old road and passes between two cemeteries. The trail then climbs modestly before descending somewhat steeply to the river. The canyon and bluffs at the eastern end are worth the hike.

From the Randolph Trailhead, trails 202 and 201 run together for about a quarter mile. A sign indicates where 202 forks to the right. This trail follows an old road and hence is straighter and wider than some of them, especially in its western/southern section.

After about a mile, you pass between the two Johnson cemeteries which are small and usually well-maintained, particularly the western side. After that, the trail gradually climbs, the mix of trees changing subtly with elevation. As you approach the river, you find yourself in hemlock forest.

The hill down to (or up from) the river is fairly steep for a little way but with a lovely side excursion along the bluff over to a canyon. The trail then swings back to the water, connecting with trail 209 - Sipsey River on the other side of the river.

Camping is limited along most of the route mainly due to the unavailability of water. There are several good campsites however near the river and up the canyon nearby.

One might be tempted to try a loop hike with trail 201 - Rippey. Both 201 and 202 originate at the Randolph Trailhead and end at the river. This will work but in between the two river endpoints, you will want to cross the river, follow trail 209, and then re-cross the river. The near side of the river, i.e. the south and western side, has almost no trail connecting 201 and 202. You can hack your way through but expect to climb over downed logs, discover detours to avoid eroded stream banks, and frequently dodge branches in your face. The 209 side is much easier - but you have to cross the river twice.