Bankhead National Forest

What's New?

Houston Day Use Area Open for July Fourth

Forest Health Improvements Temporarily Close Portions of Bankhead National Forest Trail

Legal Notice - Bankhead Ranger District Prescribed Burning Projects Proposals

Legal Notice - Mechanical Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Improvement

Winston County Native Honored with Mosley Environmental Award

Great Bat Blitz Video
By the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources:

Help Us Stop the Invasion - Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Information

To request information, pamphlets, ask questions or submit comments, email the Bankhead National Forest:  bkinfo@fs.fed.us

Meetings

The Bankhead Liaison Panel meeting is rescheduled for January 21 at Moulton Recreation Center in Moulton, Ala. Contact the Bankhead Ranger District at (205) 489-5111 for additional information.

The Bankhead National Forest Liaison Panel Meeting minutes and information .

Maps

To view and print maps, click below.

Helpful Links

Bird Watching in the Bankhead National Forest

Quail Habitat in the Bankhead National Forest

A Guide to Hunting Feral Swine in the Bankhead National Forest

Fish Habitat Enhancement GPS Coordinate Sites for Alabama Power Company Reservoirs: fishdata

The WFRP website which contains a database of wildlife, fish & rare plant projects on National Forests is at www.fs.fed.us/biology/managementsystem/

The Winston County Natural Resources Council's blog is at http://wcnrc.blogspot.com

Recreation

Below is an overview of the activities offered at Bankhead National Forest.  You will find additional information in the Recreation Activities section.

Primitive Camping During Hunting Season
Camping is allowed during hunting season in the Bankhead National Forest. However, hunters must camp in designated hunter’s camps and do not require camping permits. Non-hunters may camp in the general forest and wilderness but must obtain a permit from the Bankhead Ranger District Office.  Primitive camping permits are required from November 15 to January 31 annually.

For your safety, plan to wear hunter orange when sharing a primitive environment with hunters.

Note:  Users of the Hurricane Creek Shooting Range should bring their own paper targets.

Recreational Areas

There are six recreation areas scattered about the Bankhead National Forest, each offering a unique experience of its own. Facilities for camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and swimming are abundant. All facilities are designed with forest users in mind and provide varying challenges for everyone from the novice to the expert. Forest users will find that each area has its own personality and with the changing seasons, even that personality will change.

Campgrounds

The Bankhead National Forest features several scenic campgrounds such as, Houston and the newly renovated Corinth and Clear Creek Campgrounds. These three campgrounds are open April through October. Two of the three campgrounds, Corinth and Clear Creek, offers camping units with electrical and water hookups.

Hiking

The newly expanded trail system in the Bankhead National Forest added 82 miles of recreational trails to the 71 miles already in the Forest. Now, you can enjoy hiking, bicycle and horseback riding, and a trail for your all-terrain vehicle.

Horseback Riding

Riders have a choice of horseback riding in the Sipsey Wilderness or the general forest area. There are 13.3 miles of trails in the wilderness that offer riders solitude and isolation as part of the wilderness experience. Hikers may also use these trails.

Take a leisurely day ride and explore the northeastern portion of the Bankhead National Forest. The 25-mile Black Warrior Horse Trail provide an opportunity to see the beautiful waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, deep gorges, majestic hardwood trees, wildflowers, and an abundance of birds and animals.

Sipsey Wilderness

Sipsey is the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi and offers outstanding opportunities for solitude. Hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing are permitted in the Sipsey Wilderness. Horseback riding is allowed on trails specifically designated for horses. Motorized vehicles are not allowed inside the Sipsey Wilderness boundaries.

Forest History

The National Forests in Alabama began with the Alabama Purchase Unit, established by the National Forest Commission in Fiscal Year 1914. The area was proclaimed the Alabama National Forest by President Woodrow Wilson on January 15, 1918. 

The first forest was located in Franklin, Lawrence and Winston Counties. Land acquisition files show that much of the ridge tops had been cut-over and approximately 40-percent of the land was cut-over, cultivated and vacated farmland. The virgin timber must have been located in the deep gorges and on public domain land.

On June 19, 1936, by proclamation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Alabama National Forest was renamed the Black Warrior National Forest. About six years later on June 17, 1942, the name was changed, by an Act of Congress, to the William B. Bankhead National Forest.