Bankhead National Forest
Caney Creek Falls

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Location: Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
Members: Doris, Gary, Johnnie, Larry & Mimi, Shelby

Upper Caney Falls Larry and I met Johnnie and Gary at the Ranger Station as planned. We all accepted Gary's offer to drive us to the trailhead. We joined up with Doris and Shelby along the way and we were ready to go.

The day was cool and cloudy, ideal for a hike. We began walking and talking and before we knew it we were at a hemlock stand - lush, green and alive with the hiss of water faintly in the distance. It was the perfect spot to stop and anticipate what lay ahead. Outer layer shirts came off, shoelaces were tightened and we began a twisty descent into the tree-lined canyon.

Upper Caney Falls was loud and easily drowned out our gleeful shouting. It was purely exhilarating. We lined up behind the wall of water for photos and then carefully crossed the creek over a small rock bridge to the other side of the shallow pool to a white sandy beach.

Gary was intrigued that due to the way the rocky shelves next to the falls are aligned vertically, it is possible for three people to stand, one above the other, each on their own rock, and all will have the same GPS reading. I am not sure this proves the earth is flat, however.

The area is wet year round, Caney being one of the waterfalls in the Bankhead that never dries up. Doris located a lovely little whorled leafed plant and identified it with the help of her guidebook as Indian Cucumber, Medeola virginiana, which has a dangling yellow lily-like flower.

Following the creek for another half mile and crossing it several times, we arrived at the lower falls in about 50 minutes.
Johnnie crosses the creek
Lower Caney Falls
The canyon at the lower falls was beautiful with several cascades flowing together. Johnnie noticed a large "nursery" Magnolia which had fallen, with a horizontal row of smaller trees growing out of the main trunk. The new young fresh green leaves had not yet opened and they stood out in marvelous contrast against the dark canyon.

We arrived back at the upper falls and clambered up the short but steep path to the vehicles. It had been cloudy and cool all morning but now the wind picked up and the sky threatened rain. Perfect timing, and it was only noon! Not too surprising since the total distance cannot be over five miles round trip.

Caney Creek is an absolute gem and a very accessible waterfall, one of the best in the Bankhead. Go take a hike!

Directions to Caney Creek Falls

Submitted 30 Apr 2009
Text: Mimi Barkey
Photos: Doris Alexander

Trip Reports