Wild Alabama Guided Hikes and Forest Bathing in the Bankhead National Forest and the Sipsey Wilderness Wild Alabama staff and volunteers lead hikes in the Bankhead National Forest and Talladega National Forest year round. Driven by our mission to inspire people to enjoy, value and protect the wild places in Alabama, our hikes introduce people of all ages to their National Forests and Wilderness Areas. Please plan to join us! See below for hikes and forest bathing in Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness. Contact Janice at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our email list... or sign up yourself on our homepage! Please scroll down to read Important Information For All Hikes. All hikes and forest bathing are free of charge thanks to the generosity of individual donors and grants from the Walker Area Community Foundation, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, Alabama Mountain Rivers and Valleys RC&D,
First Saturday and other Hikes: Wild Alabama staff and volunteers lead hikes in the Bankhead National Forest or Sipsey Wilderness on the first Saturday of every month and other times. These hikes vary in length and level of challenge. Children are welcome!
Upcoming guided hikes: Sunday, June 19, 2022 Father's Day Fun Hike, Bankhead National Forest 10:00am-3:30pm We will gather at a meeting location that will be given when you sign up with the trip coordinator, Lindsay Madison. To sign up, email email@example.com
Saturday, July 2, 2022 Caney Creek Falls, Bankhead National Forest 9:00 a.m. at the intersection of Highway 33 and Winston County Road 2 Group size is strictly limited and advance registration is required. Sign up firstname.lastname@example.org Leader: Janice Barrett Distance: approx. 3 miles roundtrip Level of Difficulty: Moderately challenging Children are welcome! Flowing through eastern hemlock and mature hardwood forest, Caney Creek is one of the most scenic streams in the Bankhead National Forest, and Caney Creek Falls one of the most scenic waterfalls. At the base of the falls is one of the best swimming holes anywhere! This hike is centered on water - we will follow the stream, there are lots of stream crossings, those who wish to may swim, and we will be exploring what lives in the water. The trail to the falls and along the creek is not a sanctioned trail and it is not maintained. There are places where the trail is steep. If it has rained, it will be slick and muddy. This hike is not recommended for those with serious knee, ankle and balance concerns. Bring:
a daypack with all the food and water you'll need for about 3 hours
a walking stick or trekking poles
a notebook and pen for taking notes, or your phone version of that
field guide to plants of the area or an app that works off-line for identification (optional)
dry socks and shoes for the ride home
Wear clothing that is appropriate for the weather and comfortable for hiking and being in the water. Footwear needs to be sturdy with good reliable traction that will keep you upright on slick rocks and rough, uneven terrain. There will be several creek crossings of below-the-knee depth. Sturdy hiking/water sandals or sneakers you don't mind getting wet are good options. No dogs and no smoking, please Sign up, then meet the group on Winston County Road 2 at the intersection with Highway 33 (turn west off of Hwy. 33) by 9:00 a,m,
Wild Wednesday Nature Hikes for Kids and Families: Wild Alabama's Wild Wednesday Nature Hikes for Kids and Families are a fun and safe way to explore the Bankhead National Forest. Wild Alabama staff lead guided hikes for kids and their adults every Wednesday from the last week in June through the first week in August to some of the easiest to get to, spectacularly beautiful, wet and wondrous places in the forest!
Participants learn about Leave No Trace, the natural and cultural history of the area, what lives in the water and on the land, and adults learn of places to take their children on their own. A family group must include at least one child or teenager under the age of 18. Level of challenge for all hikes is moderate and are appropriate for most hikers of average physical ability. Most trails are unmaintained and there will be rough, uneven trail bed and downed trees to duck under and climb over. All hikes involve being in water! Meet-up time for hikes is 9:30 a.m. at the trailhead for each particular hike. Distance is around 1 to 2.5 miles roundtrip. Hikes are completed by early afternoon. For all Wild Wednesday hikes: Bring a small backpack with food and water for the day, hat, towel, Epi-Pen if severe allergic reaction to insect stings is an issue. Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable for hiking and that can also get wet. Destinations may change according to weather and water levels in streams and the river. Directions to trailheads will be given to those who need them. No dogs and no smoking. For more information and to sign up, contact Janice Barrett at email@example.com. Summertime 2022 Wild Wednesday schedule: June 29 Sipsey Recreation Area and Sipsey Fork July 6 Payne Creek July 13 Low Water Bridge, Sipsey Fork July 20 Kinlock Shelter and Kinlock Falls July 27 Low Water Bridge, Sipsey Fork August 3 Fall Creek Falls, Sipsey Wilderness
Forest Bathing: Alternating between Friday and Saturday typically (but not always) on the last weekend of the month, Wild Alabama’s Janice Barrett teams up with writer and teacher Anne Markham Bailey, founder of the Creative Awareness Institute to offer sessions in what the Japanese call Shinrin Yoku, or literally translated, wood-air bathing, or forest bathing. This is not a typical hike but is rather an opportunity to open deeply to the awareness of being in the forest, in one’s self, and in the shared and sacred space. We move in silence, have opportunity for deep connection to the earth, the water, the trees and to our own interiority. Time for writing, sketching, movement or meditation is built into the schedule for the day. For ages 16 and over. Contact us for arranging a session with younger participants. Please watch this short video by Anne Bailey about Forest Bathing. The recorded Forest Bathing webinar that Wild Alabama hosted in early July 2021 may be viewed here.
Next Forest Bathing Session: Friday, June 24, 2022. 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (time may be adjusted according to weather and location) Sign up is open at firstname.lastname@example.org Location in the Bankhead National Forest will be revealed to those who sign up. This month's forest bathing walk will be a total walking distance of about 1.25 miles roundtrip on a trail that is unmaintained, uneven and sloped (gradual downhill most of the way in, gradual uphill most of the way out). The route will be easily doable for most people who hike. Bring lunch, snacks, drinking water, a journal and/or sketchbook and pen, a small pad or cloth for comfortable sitting or lying down. A detailed list of what to bring and directions will be emailed to those who sign up. Participants in this contemplative forest immersion will enjoy guided meditation, silence, invitations and suggested techniques for connection to the elements through the senses, deep rest, reflection and tea. Group size is limited to six..
Important Information for All Hikes Wild Alabama practices coronavirus protection protocols as advised by the CDC and strongly encourage all adult participants in our events to be fully vaccinated. What to bring on a Wild Alabama hike:
a daypack with lunch, snacks, drinking water
an Epi Pen if severe allergy to insect stings is an issue
walking stick or trekking poles
What to wear: Clothing that is appropriate for the weather and comfortable for hiking. Shoes or boots should be sturdy with good traction for slopes and slippery rocks and stream crossings. Tick protection: If protection against ticks is desired, we recommend permethrin products such as Permanone or Sawyers. Spray on clothing at least 4 hours before wearing. It only takes a little!