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.

For directions to the Big Tree, click here.

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(N)
204a East Bee Branch 1.0 ** *     Braziel(N), Borden(N)
206 Thompson 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
  Blank suggests that you may wish to look elsewhere for campsites
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.

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