Bankhead National Forest

What's New?

Bankhead National Forest
Sipsey Wilderness “Big Tree” Fire
Information, Updates, Maps, Photos and Safety Messages

Forest Health Improvement Project Underway Along Portion of Owl Creek Trail System

Visitors can anticipate recreation improvements in a healthier forest setting because of a recent project launched by the U.S. Forest Service.  Forest operations will take place along the Brushy Loop Trail from the new bridge at Owl Creek to Brushy Creek Road. Although Brushy Loop Trail is not closed, visitors are reminded to be careful while equipment is being used during October and November. The Forest Service improvement project will address the short and long term issues relating to forest health in the area.  

Houston Day Use Area Is Open

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

The Winston County Natural Resources Council's blog is at

Help Us Stop the Invasion - Hemlock Woolly Adelgid


To request information, pamphlets, ask questions or submit comments, email the Bankhead National Forest:


The Bankhead Liaison Panel meets quarterly. Contact the Bankhead Ranger District at (205) 489-5111 for additional information.

The Bankhead National Forest Liaison Panel Meeting minutes and information .


To view and print maps, click below.


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

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.


Corinth and Clear Creek Campgrounds are located in the Bankhead National Forest. Campgrounds are open April through October and offer camping units with electrical and water hookups.


The Bankhead National Forest offers over 90 miles  of recreational trails.  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 at Owl Creek Trail in the Sipsey Wilderness. There are 13.3 miles of trails in the wilderness designated for horses.

In the northeastern portion of the Bankhead National Forest,the 25-mile Owl Creek Non-Motorized Trail providesan opportunity to see beautiful waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, deep gorges, majestic hardwood trees, wildflowers, and an abundance of birds and animals.

Sipsey Wilderness

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

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.

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.