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National Forests in Alabama, ALABAMA

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Long term

Down here working for a few months and wanted a clean quiet safe place. This place is all the above. The owners are very nice and helpful. Will definitely stay here when ever I'm down here again working. $450 a month including utilities. No pool. Does have a laundry room. Pond on site.

Pretty good

We got a tent site with power. Great price! Clean park, lake is always a good thing. Lights at camp ground kinda bright, but guess if I needed to go pee that would help lol. Lady working office was pretty nice and helpful. Has a little store can get almost anything you might need. Bath house shower had great hot water with good pressure. Felt safe here that’s important. I’d definitely come back. Probably next weekend lol the beach area had a lot of rocks! Probably due to water level low had to go buy some water shoes, but then it was all good.

First to Review
Closed till further notice

Sure hate that they closed it up. They have a nice lake and pool. Said they might reopen in a year.

Free Camping on TVA land

I assumed for a long time that you weren't allowed to camp on the TVA trails, because while there are many hikers and birdwatchers who enjoy the trails, you rarely see anyone camping out there. I learned recently, and confirmed through their website, that you can camp for free on TVA land. It just isn't well advertised. This particular trail is a great area, and there are many little side trails to explore. Plenty of places to make a primitive campsite. Many of the side trails lead to the river. There is even a small beach area down the one that leads along the river to the old train bridge. This trail is rich in history, and there are a lot of plaques telling about certain natural and man made features along the trails. The trails are clean, well-kept, and well-marked. At the trail head and parking area, there is a nice well-kept, clean restroom building with flush toilets. Behind that building, they recently put in a very nice playground and a pavilion with picnic tables. There are not really any ready made campsites with tables or firepits or trash cans, but there are plenty of benches and trash cans along the trails. I highly recommend going to the train bridge. There are also small plaques around some of the plants telling what they are and a little about them. If you want a beautiful, primitive camping area, with nice, fairly modern facilities nearby, this is a great place to go. Also, keep in mind there are several trail heads along this road, and you could potentially start out at any of them, but the particular trail head I mentioned has the best restroom facilities and a wonderful playground. Most of the others only have a parking area.

Basic campground

I have things I love and hate about this campground. Personally, I'd rather just hike into the woods throughout TVA reservation and camp for free, but this campground does have bathrooms and a good playground for the kids. There is also a pretty nice waterfall down a "road" (limited to foot traffic and officials). However, it is way too busy and "paved" for my liking. LOTS of visitors and fisherman down here most of the time. Lots of people leave trash/fishing line/etc. The campsites look out at the river but they just aren't very pretty. right beside the parking lot. You can see the dam from here. Much better in my opinion to go out on one of the nearby trails and camp off the trail. If you drive down reservation road, in the opposite direction of the dam, you will find several trailheads with parking areas. The pics I'm posting are from these trails in TVA reservation.

Pretty trail, Lots of primitive campsites

The entire Sipsey Wilderness is gorgeous, but if you want a trail with lots of great spots to camp, this trail is fantastic. Don't expect bathrooms or drinking water to be nearby, but if you're looking to really get away from it all and do some primitive camping, this is a great place to go. You'll find fire pits at most of the sites that previous campers have made, but that's about it. Most of the time, except during dry spells, there are LOTS of waterfalls. Also lots of shallow places for the kids to play in the water. Watch for snakes and bring bug spray. If you want a good campground in Bankhead National Forest near Sipsey that is more modern with a bathhouse, picnic tables, etc, try Brushy Lake. But this trail is perfect for primitive camping.

Beautiful, One of a Kind Place

My family has been going to Dismals Canyon since I was a child, and my mother's parents took her when she was a child. Now I take my children. The reason we return year after year is that it is absolutely gorgeous, and is one of the few places in the world where you can see the tiny glow worms called Dismalites. When you first arrive, you go down to the little general store that now has a cafe. I have not eaten at the cafe, so I can't attest to the quality of the food, but I can say everyone who has worked there has always been very friendly and knowledgeable about the canyon. Here you will pay for your campsite and/or your canyon access. Day tours are self guided, but the night tours to see the dismalites are guided. The campground is relatively expensive, for our area anyway, but it is very clean and beautiful, and each campsite we have visited has been very private. There is a nice bathhouse for campers. Each campsite also provides garbage cans and a fire pit. They DO NOT let you bring in firewood, but you can get firewood there. Also you cannot park right next to your site, you will have to park in the parking area and walk to your site. All of their rules are very strict, but they do so to preserve the park in a clean, natural state. There is a nice fairly deep reservoir to swim in, as well as creeks and streams throughout. Also waterfalls, giant trees, and many neat rock structures. The trail through the canyon is not terribly difficult. I hiked it with my 2 year old strapped to my back the last time we went, and my 62 year old mother and 5 year old in tow. The hardest part is really the long stairs going into and out of the canyon. The cost is really the only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5. Bring bug spray.

We'll Be Back!

Corinth Recreation Area– USFS 

Corinth Recreation area is located near the town of Double Springs, Alabama. The area is operated and maintained by the United State Forest Service (USFS) and can be reserved through www.recreation.gov. There are 52 total sites here and most reserved on line, there are a few sites only available as walk ins. This area is very clean and really quiet at night, the campgrounds are near the lakes edge but not lakeside. The sites are very well maintained, paved and gravel with full services including sewer. There are two RV campgrounds, Firefly and Yellowhammer. We stayed at Yellowhammer as this had more shaded sites than Firefly. There’s also a few tent only sites between the two loops. The bathrooms were clean and the staff was pleasant during our visit, we stayed five days and found so much to see near by the campground. There is very nice boat ramp on the park for easy access to Smith Lake, the beach area is also a great asset. Clean with a well-marked swimming area with bathrooms near the beach area. 

The Houston Jail (http://soloso.com/houston/) was a few miles away, this is the only surviving jail constructed from logs in 1818. It’s a historical landmark and worth the short drive to go and see. 

Natural Bridge Park (https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/alabama/natural-bridge-al/) is located in Natural Bridge, Alabama is also nearby. This rock formation is the longest sandstone natural rock bridge east of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a good hike through well marked trails and there is a small gift shop that also sells refreshments.

Dismals Canyon (https://www.dismalscanyon.com/) is thirty miles from the campground near the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama. This natural formation will make you question if you are really in Alabama. The hike is a good way to spend the day in a shaded but humid natural wonder. You can also attend a night hike to see the dismalites that only reside in a few places in the world. 

The Bankhead National Forest surrounds the entire area. The forest is huge and trying to visit the area waterfalls and trails without a plan is not recommended. Take the time to study the area maps and map the accessible roads before heading out. We actually stopped by the NSFS Office to ask for information, there was also a large map of the area there you can take a picture of that will help you with your planning. 

We had a wonderful time here at Corinth, we especially liked the campground and the deer that would come out to graze every evening. This coupled with the fireflies really made this stay memorable, we’ll be back.

They are building campgrounds currently

No campgrounds yet but the day area and boating area is very nice. Would definitely reccomend to anyone.

Very friendly and clean

This campground is ran by good people. The restrooms and grounds are kept very clean. They ride around to keep watch so no worries about anything. Would recommend to anyone.

Awesome home

Me and my 6 year old daughter hiked the trail this past Saturday, July 27, 2019. Had a great time. Definately be back

One complaint

This was a pretty campground. Very clean…didn’t go to bathhouse but did see laundry area and bathroom area and it was very clean. Our only complaint was our pull through site. Our slide is on the left side and if opened would have been almost in the road. It was however overlooking the lake.

T’s outback

Very nice campground The owner is so helpful. It was tight but the owner helped us get backed in at 6:30 pm on a Sunday. Very much under priced for what this park is. I’m here for work but would come to have a great get a way. Not many aminities as far as pool and such but super nice level spots. And very quiet

Big campground on the lake

This is a work in progress as I just added this campground and will review as the days progress! So far, it is reasonably priced. It does require a BCDA permit which is $10 a person to make use of the lake and creeks.

There are RV plots with electric and water hook-ups and tent camping too. We have an Airstream on one site and three tents on another.

A picnic table is available at each site and campfire spots. Our sites overlook the lake and it is lovely so far. Super busy for the July 4 weekend!

First to Review
I’ll pass

Campground is now leased out to KOA rates have skyrocketed and is now an additional charge if you want power. Park is not kept up and bath house is in need of major repairs.

Great overnight spot

Easily accessible spot to overnight. Close to Sipsey Wilderness and several waterfalls. Clean and quiet. Short paved walking trail, fishing pier, restrooms/showers.

Beautiful campground!

We have camped at this park several times. We have always enjoyed our stay. Most of the campsites are tucked away beneath a canopy of trees with nice shade. The bath houses are always clean, as well as the entire campground. It is great for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Ranger Review: GCI Outdoor Pod Rocker with SunShade camp chair at Tomahawk Primitive Campground

Campground Review: 

Tomahawk Primitive Campground is located near Cullman, AL right off of Highway 278. The campground is primitive, and has no electricity or water pumps or hookups at the individual sites, but there is a common room area attached to the back of the owner’s house that has a clean bathroom, a coffee maker, and electricity. There are 3 campsites with fire rings as well as a large, open field at the main campground area, and additional sites by the creek, about a 10 minute walk from the main area. The trail to the creek-side sites was partially cleared, but there were a few fallen trees blocking the path that could make it difficult to carry gear to those sites. My husband, puppy and I stayed at one of the tent sites in the main campground area. If you are staying in a tent, I highly recommend air mattresses for this camp. While the ground has been somewhat cleared, there are still large stocks sticking one or 2 inches out of the ground that would make sleeping without an air mattress very uncomfortable. However, the bigger issue making sleep difficult for us was the road noise from the highway, which stayed busy throughout the night. I assume that if you are in a camper you won’t notice it as much, but in a tent it made us feel like we were camping on the side of the highway and not at a camp. Another problem that we ran into, unfortunately after we set up camp, is that our site had a ton of fire ants. I’m not sure if this is a problem at all of the tent sites or if it was just ours, but I advise caution when choosing your site and where you set up your tent. Our favorite part of this campground was the creek. It was beautiful and clear, perfect for our dog to play in, and had good locations to set up a hammock and enjoy the peaceful creek sounds. If we were to stay at this camp again, we would bring gear that could be hauled to the creek-side campsites. 

Gear Review: GCI Outdoor Pod Rocker with Sunshade 

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I sometimes get gear to review on my camping trips. For this trip I got the GCI Pod Rocker with Sunshade camp chair. I LOVE this chair, and so did my husband and dog. The chair comes in a durable carrying case, which is great because I’ve had many camp chair bags fall apart after just a few uses. The chair was a little confusing to set up/take down at first, until I realized that easy-to-follow instructions are attached to the bag. The chair is larger than most camp chairs and provides more support. The sunshade is adjustable and can be moved in several positions as well as completely collapsed. The only complaint that we had about the Pod Rocker is that the included cup holder is a pouch that doesn’t seem like it would actually prevent your drink from spilling. For me, the benefit of having a camp rocking chair far outweighs this one detractor. This chair was wonderful for camping but would also be perfect for outdoor sporting events and concerts. I highly recommend the GCI Pod Rocker with Sunshade! Here is the link for the GCI Pod Rocker with SunShade:  https://www.gcioutdoor.com/rockers/pod-rocker-with-sunshade/

Ranger Review: Grub Stick Deluxe Kit at Tomahawk Primitive Campground

Campground Review:

We really enjoyed  the weekend at Tomahawk Primitive Campground, a veteran owned, private campground, just outside Cullman, AL. As the name suggests, this is primitive camping, so no power or water at the sites, but nothing wrong with boondocking, right?!  There are 3 private sites that could handle tents, teardrops, small trailers, or vans, as well as an open field that could hold larger RVs or group camp with multiple tents and/or small trailers. There is also 3 tents sites just a short hike down to the creek at the back of the property where you can camp at your own waterfront site. Each style site is equipped with a fire ring.

The owner has one room in his house blocked off that includes facilities for guests to use and is called the Fest Room. The Fest Room includes a full bathroom with shower that was very clean, a couch and TV (which is a nice place to get out of the elements if the southern weather suddenly turns on you or to just catch an evening movie) , a coffee maker, and a large deck. The deck overlooks a portion of the property and turned out to be a great spot to meet up with other campers or the owner/host and share your camping stories. The deck also includes two gas grills that can be used with permission from the owner.

As mentioned above, the property includes a creek that runs along the property line that was nice to take in, whether sitting on a rock and dipping your feet in the cool water, or hanging a hammock and letting the afternoon slide by with the sounds of flowing water. Our dogs and the host dog, named Bear, loved playing together in the creek!

Wild blackberries were growing all around the property and are starting to get ripe. Picking a hand full of these was a nice addition to our camp breakfast.

We found good cell phone service with Verizon throughout the property.

There is a Dollar General and gas station/convenient store 5 minutes from the property if you need to get any supplies.

While we camped this weekend we also had the opportunity to check out a few of the local attractions. Goat Island Brewery is not too far from the campground and offers up award winning craft beer. We also visited the Ava Maria Grotto at the St. Bernard Abbey, which featured 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous religious structures in the world.  A short 25-minute drive south the campground takes you to Mulberry Fork where you can go hiking, tubing, and the site also hosts kayak slalom races in the spring.  5 minutes from the campground is Duck River Dam that has a boat launch and additional hiking trails.

At $15 a night, you can’t beat this to get away from it all for a weekend!  The host was very friendly (and the host dog too!) and was an expert outdoorsman who loves to pass on his survival knowledge. We will definitely be back.

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Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products. At this campground, I tested the Grub Stick Deluxe Kit.

The deluxe kit, from Grub Stick, is the ultimate 13-piece campfire cooking set that provides endless opportunities to make tasty treats wherever you have a campfire going. With the handles that can extend and retract in length, we found it to be useful as a skewer setup directly on the grill too.  Over the weekend, we used many of the attachments to include hotdogs on the Forks, hamburgers in both the Grubcage and Burgcage, bacon on the Grubpocket with the Bacon Clip, and cinnamon rolls using the Grubtube, Grubcage, and Burgcage.

Two items that we had problems with are the Bacon Clip and the Grabber. The Bacon Clip needs to be slightly larger as it is very tight to get on the Grubpocket with standard cut bacon. Maybe it is intended for very thin bacon? We also could only get two slices of bacon on the Grubpocket at a time. The Grabber is a two finger (thumb and index finger) mini mit that was not big enough to use on the Bacon Clip.

The hotdogs and hamburgers turned out great and the Release Tool is very useful for opening the hot cages. Making cinnamon rolls over the campfire is a skill that I will have to continue to practice as we had varying results on this trip.

I like that the kit includes a carrying bag to keep all the components together  and can be easily stored in the limited space of our teardrop camper. We also found the recipes on the website to be inspiring and we hope they continue to add more ideas.

While we had some minor difficulties, we look forward to trying to master this set. Next trip we will try s’mores, marshmallows, and toasted starburst!

Cave and swim

Olympic size pool fed by cave water!! Kids loved this campground! Low and high dive, great gift shop and cave tours. Ready to go back!!

Words really can't describe!

This campground cannot be beat. It is absolutely gorgeous. Sites are kept immaculate. Even the shower house is beautifully built. Babbling brooks are everywhere! And nothing makes a campground more than the camp host themselves. Wonderful people. It is deep in the wilderness so do not expect Wi-Fi or cell signal. It's nearly an hour to town come well-stocked!

Peaceful RV campground in the woods

Togetherness Works is 5 mile south of I-22/US-78 along a very good Alabama 253.  Junior Beasley and his wife have owned it for many years.  When they were able they were full time RVers and have traveled extensively around the country.  There are about eight sights all gravel and level.  The back in sites have a nice deck beside your parking spot.  There are also a few pull thrus for longer rigs or those who do not want to unhook. Very safe and secure.  It is a favorite location for Tiffin Wayfarer owners to stay since it's only 6 miles from the factory.  But everyone of us would stay here again regardless of it's proximity to the factory.  Just call ahead and Junior will meet you at the entrance and escort you to your site.  They also have a laundry facility for those dirty clothes.

Great cabins, beautiful lake

We stayed at two cabins at Elliot Branch in August with some friends.  It is a short drive to Bear Creek if you want to kayak or canoe, but the cabins are on lakefront property and you can just jump in!  

The cabins are clean and quiet.  They have a full kitchen, bathroom, and ours slept two in a double bed, but there is room in the living area for cots or sleeping on the couch if you wanted.  The couches are huge, and the cabins have cable.  WiFi is also available, though it is slow.

The campsites are also nice.  We drove through the area, scouting out where we want to tent camp in the future.

Better sites further down the trail

This is a very small site on a busy trail that is located smack dab in the middle of the path. It does have easy access to water and a nice flat area to set up a tent but that is about it. There are much nicer more established sites a little further down that I would recommend more highly. Also, because of its location near the start, it gets pretty busy here. 

Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.

This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.

Close to the car

This site is the first one you see right when you get down the hill from the parking lot. It will also probably be the first site claimed since it is the easiest to see and clearly very nice with its spot overlooking the river. The site has plenty of space for several tents and a well-established firepit. The downside, however, is that you are right on the trail and very close to other campsites and the busy thoroughfare for other hikers. If you don't mind making conversation then I would highly suggest staking your claim and getting your tent set up so you can enjoy a relaxing night listening to the river.

Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.

This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.

Flood Safe Campground-Good for spring

This site is one of the furthest along this section of trail and is nice since it is one of the larger spaces in this area. Like all the other campsites it has easy access to water and nice coverage with trees. It is also relatively private but still close to the trail. Check out my video review for more specifics about this site.

Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.

This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.

Small Backcountry Site

Another great backcountry site in Sipsey, read below for more info about the area and the trails we took on our recent trip. Check out the video or photos for a better idea of what is available at this campground.

Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.

This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.

Another Fun Weekend at Clear Creek

See my previous full review of the campground below. We had site 5 this time with some friends next door on 4D.

Update from my previous review, they now except cards at check in for walk up sites. This is a big change as last time we were here, just a month back, they were cash only.

As always, very helpful staff and we love the water front sites with easy access to launch kayaks and canoes right from your site.

Great group site across the creek

Read below for my Sipsey Review and check out the video to get an idea of the site. This particular campsite is located at the intersect of several streams and is a beautiful spot with a large area to set up tents. Because it is actually slightly removed from the trail that most people take it has an incredible amount of privacy while not being cramped or crowded. Another thing I really loved about this site is that it is right along the water without the need to climb down any steep banks. This could be a problem in the spring time when there is a chance of flooding but normally it makes for a wonderful site. Finally, the flat tent areas at this site are mostly covered in sand which means you will have a very comfortable surface to sleep on. 

Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.

This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.

Small but convenient

Read below for a full review of Sipsey and this particular trip. This is a small site right along the trail with enough cleared flat space for a single tent and 2-3 people. It has a well-established fire put and a couple of rocks that could be used to sit on. It is also immediately adjacent to the stream but high enough on the bank that it is not at risk of flooding. If possible I suggest heading a little further down the trail to the next site but this is a good backup option if that one is already taken. One of the cool things someone set up at this spot is several flat rocks placed in the fire pit that will help protect the fire in case of wind and direct the heat towards the sitting area. I can see this being a real advantage if camping during the colder winter months. 

Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.

This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.