Sipsey Wilderness
Trail 224, Clifty Creek

Date: Saturday, February 12, 2011
Location: Sipsey Wilderness, Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
Trails: 224 - Bunyan Hill, then off-trail to and along Clifty Creek and Braziel Creek
Members: Bart, Charlie, Gary, James, Jim, Larry, Mimi, Nancy, Owen, Sandy, Yvonne
Dogs: Honey, Jewels

With a cold start on an otherwise promising day weather-wise, we set out from Borden Trailhead promptly at 8:00.

We found trail 224 no better no worse than before so far as obstacles go and the prettiest I've ever seen it. Usually all you get are just some evergreens plus a dull array of gray and tan. But today tossed in yellow sunlight filtering through the trees with just the right amount of snow on the ground for contrast.

We turned off to the right just south of the trail 204 junction; I don't know exactly where this was but there was a "no horse" marker on a metal post.

SWHC 12 February 2011
Clifty Creek Falls
Bushwhacking from there, we proceeded east along what was probably a road at some time, following a tributary of Clifty Creek along a ridge; eventually we reached Clifty Creek itself, stopping for a break near a pretty little cascade.

The real falls were about 300 yards downstream. Gary, Mimi, and Charlie climbed down a steep incline for a closer view; the rest of us continued along the ridge, finding our way down to the creek at some point though with a fair amount of struggling through the underbrush en route. The low road may have been the better idea.

Clifty Creek was just lovely, highlighted with even more snow accents. Its faint trail – apparently an old road – was neither terribly difficult to find nor walk. None of the downed trees required much effort to get over or around.

We eventually hit Braziel Creek where the trail became even better with fewer obstacles and not nearly so many branches poking at us as earlier in the day. We did have to jump across some of the feeder streams, probably more than on the other "official" trail 207 side, but this side was really no more of a challenge.

The hike ended at 2:45. The temperature climbed from below freezing at the start to nearly 50F by the end. We counted 26 vehicles at Borden Trailhead on our way out (including our 6).
Clifty Creek
To view more photos and a video, please see our Picasa Web Album Sipsey Hike February 2011.

Submitted 16 Feb 2011
Text: Larry
Photos: Gary, Mimi

Trip Reports