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Randolph - Sipsey Loop

Extremely Difficult
  4.0 ( 2 ) Favorite

Trail

9.8 mile 15.7 kilometer loop
Extremely Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 834' 254 m
Descent: -834' -254 m
High: 946' 288 m
Low: 583' 178 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Jeffery Karafa

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Bad / Closed 29 days ago See History

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While this is a difficult trek through the Sipsey Wilderness, stunning views make it worth the effort.

Jeffery Karafa

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Overview

This trip combines Randolph Wild Hiking Trail #202, Sipsey Wild Hiking Trail #209, and Rippey Wild Hiking Trail #201 to make a remote, wild loop through Sipsey Wilderness. It is extremely difficult along the Sipsey Wild Hiking Trail #209 section since the trail is unmarked and there are no bridges over the streams. There are many sections that are thick with undergrowth and that will have fallen trees. You'll also have to find your way in and out of steep creek beds. Needless to say, it's not a trail for amateur hikers! If you are prepared to seek out nature, this is the loop for you.

Need to Know

There are no bridges, amenities, or trail markers. Be prepared to be hiking in the wilderness.

Description

Starting from the parking area, the first section of this loop follows the Randolph Wild Hiking Trail #202. It follows a well-maintained roadbed up to an old cemetery. The cemetery is very old, with some of the oldest gravestones I've seen. Once you pass the cemetery, the trail becomes singletrack. It is still well-traveled (although not marked), so the going is easy all the way down to the Sipsey River Valley.

Once in the valley, all bets are off. By now, you're on 209, but the trail is really more of a suggestion, as lack of maintenance and use makes the trail indistinguishable throughout most of its length along the Sipsey River. As long as you keep the river in sight, you'll make your way through the wilderness. Just be aware that the "trail" will be overgrown and there will be many obstacles in the way. This is by no means a leisurely hike.

At the end of 209, increased use provides a discernible path through the wilderness. At this point you'll be on your way to joining the Rippey Wild Hiking Trail #201. The climb out of the Sipsey River Valley is steep, and there is a stream that runs along the path. The rocks are slippery, but it provides a unique experience. 201 is well-maintained, with a few muddy spots, but your boots will already be muddy from 209, so you should hardly notice.

This trail is not for amateurs. While it can be done in a day, you'll be challenged. It is one of the most remote areas that I have experienced and is well worth the effort.

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Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2019
Caleb George
very difficult but enjoyable hike 9.8mi — 5h 00m
Nov 10, 2018
Natalee Weir
Nov 10, 2018
Tricia Treece
Mar 21, 2011
Robert Beasley

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#2895

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Featured Hike Rankings

#15

in Alabama

#2,895

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1,869 Since Jan 11, 2018
Extremely Difficult

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Photos

Sipsey Wilderness
Feb 16, 2018 near Double…, AL
Sipsey Wilderness
Feb 16, 2018 near Double…, AL
View along the Sipsey River
Jan 11, 2018 near Double…, AL
Waterfall in the Sipsey Wilderness
Jan 11, 2018 near Double…, AL
One of the many treefalls you'll be required to navigate along Trail 209
Jan 11, 2018 near Double…, AL

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