Best Hikes in Bankhead National Forest (AL)

Bankhead National Forest Overview

William B. Bankhead National Forest is located in northwestern Alabama and covers more than 180,000 acres. The forest is known as the “land of a thousand waterfalls” and is popular for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and more. Within Bankhead National Forest, Sipsey Wilderness contains dozens of waterfalls and is the most visited Wilderness area in Alabama. Hunstville and Birmingham are both less than an hour’s drive away!

The myriad of waterfalls within the forest draws hikers and photographers from all over. As soon as you step foot within its boundaries, you will be able to hear the rush of water trickling down a nearby stream. Most hiking trails and chances to view wildlife are found in the Sipsey Wilderness area of Bankhead National Forest. Trailhead Traveler’s recommended best hikes in Bankhead National Forest are listed below…hopefully you can visit and get your fill of this wonderful Alabama forest!

Nearest Metro AreaBirmingham, AL
Area Size181,230 acres
EstablishedJanuary 15, 1918
Hiking Trails90 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in William B. Bankhead National Forest

Caney Creek Falls*** – 1.7 miles out and back
caney creek falls, al, Photo by GRYGRGN

This is a popular trail in the area. The hike is beautiful and leads to the picturesque Caney Creek waterfall. The trailhead is located on private property so please be respectful as you arrive.

Sipsey Loop – Randolph Trailhead – 9.8 miles loop
Sipsey Wilderness
Sipsey Wilderness, Photo by Michael Hicks

This trip combines several trails in the Sipsey Wilderness including: Randolph Wild Hiking Trail #202, Sipsey Wild Hiking Trail #209, and Rippey Wild Hiking Trail #201. The loop is pretty remote and some sections are overgrown but the views along the way will make it worth the trek.

Sougahoagdee Falls Trail*** – 3.5 miles out and back

Soughahoagdee Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the central part of the forest. Though it is one of the best hikes in Bankhead National Forest, there is no maintained trail to get to the falls and will require some route planning for those interested.

Turkey Foot Falls Trail (Sipsey River Trailhead) – 1 mile out and back
Turkeyfoot Falls
Turkeyfoot Falls, Photo by Alabama Waterfalls

The hike to Turkey Foot Falls offers well-maintained paths and occasional footbridges that allow for safe and convenient crossings over small creeks. Upon reaching Turkey Foot Falls, you’ll be greeted by a picturesque scene. The falls cascade down a series of rock formations, creating a beautiful display of flowing water and creating small pools at the base. It’s a popular spot for visitors to relax, take photographs, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the forest. It’s worth noting that the trail can be rocky and uneven in certain sections, so wearing sturdy footwear is recommended.

Featured Image: Almost There – Bankhead National Forest in Alabama, Photo by Jody Claborn

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: