Randolph - Sipsey Loop
ElevationAscent: 834' 254 m
Descent: -834' -254 m
High: 946' 288 m
Low: 583' 178 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)
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“While this is a difficult trek through the Sipsey Wilderness, stunning views make it worth the effort.”— Jeffery Karafa
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 run.
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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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Bankhead National Forest Ranger District