Sipsey Wilderness: Randolph Trail, Loop via Sipsey River Trail, Borden Creek Trail, Bunyan Hill Trail, Bee Ridge Trail, & Rippey Trail, Double Springs, Alabama
The Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River is Alabama's only federally designated Wild and Scenic River. The small, sandy waterway's clean waters flow through a narrow gorge in the northwestern section of Bankhead National Forest in western Alabama. While the river itself may be a bit tame, you'll encounter several different waterfalls on its tributaries, and some of the rock outcroppings - most importantly the Tunnel of Borden - are astounding. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 9th, 2015. My plan was to start my hike at the Randolph Trailhead. I would combine several well-known hikes with more secluded sections of trail. I would first take Randolph Trail to the Sipsey Fork. Then, I would ford the Sipsey Fork and take the Sipsey River Trail downstream to Borden Creek. Following a ford of Borden Creek, I would take the Borden Creek Trail upstream to the Borden Creek Trailhead. Next, I would take the Bunyan Hill Trail to Bee Ridge Trail, and the Bee Ridge Trail back down to the Sipsey River Trail, with a short diversion along the way to East Bee Branch Falls and The Big Tree on the East Bee Branch Trail. Once I got back to the river, I would take the Sipsey River Trail upstream, ford the river one more time, and break the rim, reaching the Rippey Trail. I would finish by following the Rippey Trail back to the trailhead.
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