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  1. #21
    New Member pabica's Avatar
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    Just south of Moulton (on the Northeast side of the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area) at the corner of Alabama 33 and Alabama 36 is a Marathon gas station... (we call it the "canoe store", because it has a canoe hanging outside)... Inside is a luncheonette, and they carry the Carto-Craft map, both laminated and plain paper... a good overall map of Sipsey...

    And books of local interest...

    And...

    If you have a smart phone... check out the http://www.mobilemaplets.com/app... they have the sipseyonepagea map that you can download and carry with you...

    And...

    FWIW, I typically screen capture the portion of the sipseyonepagea map of the area I will hike (leave a copy at home for the wife), print it to carry in my front pocket... the smartphone app, and Carto-Craft map are backups in my pack...

    And..
    If you have a Garmin GPS... http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/53 has a downloadable set of GPS maps, including many trails in the Sipsey...

  2. #22
    Unofficial Trail Dozer halfastronomical's Avatar
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    Sipsey... take some bigger tree straps!

    Quote Originally Posted by MississipVol View Post
    Anyone ever camp at Sipsey? I was wanting to plan a backpacking trip for the spring but I have never been. From reading the site online it seems like there are several river crossings that can get pretty deep. I was interested in an out-and-back to the big tree from the Northwest parking area/trailhead.

    Anyone have any advice or thoughts for me? TIA
    Sipsey is such a special place.
    Think of Sipsey as a big watershed... There are lots of creek crossings yes, but if the creek crossings are deep, then the waterfalls are spectacular. My most memorable Sipsey trips have been when it rained and the creeks are up.

    For this reason, it is hard to plan a Sipsey trip in the spring, if you are not into creek crossings, because depending on the route, there are several. The river crossings are pretty easy when the water is down, but they can get pretty swift if the water is up. I have definitely had to change plans because the river was too high before. Then at other times I thought the creek would be impassable, and there would be a crossing rope left by some other hikers. The good thing about the Sipsey, is that no matter which way you go, you will always find something incredible. I have never had my trip "ruined" because of an impassable creek...only re-routed.

    So, for these reasons, you will want to have a map for possible re-routes if you are unfamiliar with the area. It will help a lot. Sipsey is one of those places that there are so many side trails and hidden waterfalls, that a tour guide or topo map will really help.

    I usually take 3x20ft length of 8th inch amsteel dogbones too, for emergency rope.

    Also, if you are into it, you can float in when the river is up. It is class I and beautiful.

    (disclaimer) I am not a Sipsey expert, but I have been there about 10 times. I have some friends that know the place well though, and advice from them, helped me tremendously.
    Trail information, photos, waterfalls and vistas on the DeSoto Scout Trail facebook page.
    https://www.facebook.com/desoto.trai.../photos_albums


    Soon I'll lose these rags and run, Returning to the wild where I'm from. -Chris Whitley

  3. #23
    MississipVol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfastronomical View Post
    Sipsey is such a special place.
    Think of Sipsey as a big watershed... There are lots of creek crossings yes, but if the creek crossings are deep, then the waterfalls are spectacular. My most memorable Sipsey trips have been when it rained and the creeks are up.

    For this reason, it is hard to plan a Sipsey trip in the spring, if you are not into creek crossings, because depending on the route, there are several. The river crossings are pretty easy when the water is down, but they can get pretty swift if the water is up. I have definitely had to change plans because the river was too high before. Then at other times I thought the creek would be impassable, and there would be a crossing rope left by some other hikers. The good thing about the Sipsey, is that no matter which way you go, you will always find something incredible. I have never had my trip "ruined" because of an impassable creek...only re-routed.

    So, for these reasons, you will want to have a map for possible re-routes if you are unfamiliar with the area. It will help a lot. Sipsey is one of those places that there are so many side trails and hidden waterfalls, that a tour guide or topo map will really help.

    I usually take 3x20ft length of 8th inch amsteel dogbones too, for emergency rope.

    Also, if you are into it, you can float in when the river is up. It is class I and beautiful.

    (disclaimer) I am not a Sipsey expert, but I have been there about 10 times. I have some friends that know the place well though, and advice from them, helped me tremendously.
    Thanks for all the information - and to everyone else as well.

    My plan was to hike 206 from Thompson to 209 and the big tree. According to the hiking club's website that would be about a 12 mile roundtrip hike. Is that about right? Are there significant stream crossings along that route? Are there any good waterfalls?

    Where specifically is the big fall with the pool at the bottom? Just wondering. I know my son would love that stuff. Thanks again!

  4. #24
    New Member pabica's Avatar
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    I think you will have to do it in this order:
    - Park at Thompson trailhead
    - 206
    - 209
    - 204 (or perhaps 204a)

    I have not done it this way, but have come out 204a... there were a lot of trees across the trail, and the trail was difficult to follow coming south on 204a from the Big Tree...

    You might try going north on 204 from 209.. and then back down 204a to the East Bee Branch Falls...

    Just a caution, in the Sipsey trails are not well marked compared to state parks and other hiking areas.. it really is a wilderness, the only way to follow the trail is by looking for the warn tracks of others... and having a good map...

    A picture of the section between Thompson and Big Tree...



    and there is a pdf of the map at: http://pabica.com/sipsey/thompson-bigtree.pdf

    Others should look at the map, and make other suggestions... I have not hiked this exact set of trails, I came in from the East, Borden trailhead...

  5. #25
    MississipVol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pabica View Post
    I think you will have to do it in this order:
    - Park at Thompson trailhead
    - 206
    - 209
    - 204 (or perhaps 204a)

    I have not done it this way, but have come out 204a... there were a lot of trees across the trail, and the trail was difficult to follow coming south on 204a from the Big Tree...

    You might try going north on 204 from 209.. and then back down 204a to the East Bee Branch Falls...

    Just a caution, in the Sipsey trails are not well marked compared to state parks and other hiking areas.. it really is a wilderness, the only way to follow the trail is by looking for the warn tracks of others... and having a good map...

    A picture of the section between Thompson and Big Tree...



    and there is a pdf of the map at: http://pabica.com/sipsey/thompson-bigtree.pdf

    Others should look at the map, and make other suggestions... I have not hiked this exact set of trails, I came in from the East, Borden trailhead...
    That's a great map! Thanks!!

    Is there an online site where I can access that for the rest of the wilderness?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pabica View Post

    And..
    If you have a Garmin GPS... http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/53 has a downloadable set of GPS maps, including many trails in the Sipsey...
    I've got that GPSfiledepot trail map on my Garmins, but when comparing them to other Sipsey maps those map files look to be lacking a little. I've coordinated once with that particular map author at GPSfiledepot.com before to update some state land ownership maps (hooked him up with state folks to share files). If any of you guys that hike Sipsey regularly and record waypoints/tracks do so. We could gather this current trail data and send it to that author. He constantly strives to update and correct things on his free "my trails" map set.

  7. #27
    New Member pabica's Avatar
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  8. #28
    Senior Member southmark's Avatar
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    One of the shortest and best (IMHO) routes to Bee Branch canyon and the big tree is through Whiteoak Hollow but that involves bushwhacking but not difficult. You can choose to go directly to the Bee Branch Falls area or through West Bee Branch canyon and West Bee Branch falls. This is a good winter time route. You would then climb out of Bee Branch canyon and connect to Trail 204 back down to the river and the 209 river trail back to Thompson Creek TH. You would have to ford Bee Branch but there is an old tree across it upstream from the mouth of it. Be warned, during rainy season, the banks of the streams are steep and very muddy.

  9. #29
    aclawrence's Avatar
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    Going down 206 and then through white oak hollow is the shortcut I was referring to. If you start on 206 then 209 then up the hollow to the tree I don't think you have to cross any substantial creeks but don't hold me to it. This would be just going to the tree and turning around and coming back the same way though.

  10. #30
    New Member HottyToddyHanger's Avatar
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    A fellow hanger and I are actually going on a very similar trip to the Sipsey the weekend of Jan. 25th. We're still tweaking the route but we're more than likely gonna use Thompson TH, go across 208, come down 224, connect with 204 and go to The Big Tree. From there, we'll either backtrack out the next day or go down and catch 209 then head North back towards 206. It all depends on the water levels, I'm not crossing anything over my knees in January!

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