The Sipsey Wilderness within the Bankhead National Forest is home to a multitude of hiking trails as well as abundant camping, bird watching and more. There are numerous trailheads from which to access the trails. From the Sipsey Wilderness Recreation Area, there are two easily accessible trails, 200 and 209. This parking lot is the only pay to use facility ($3) in the Sipsey and offers restroom facilities. The trail begin underneath the highway bridge and travels down a small incline towards the river. I must note, the trails are poorly marked. Be sure to come prepared with a GPS, compass and copy of the trail map. For the most part, the Borden Creek trail (200) follows alongside the Borden Creek. As you make your way on the trail, there are several place where you can follow the trail away from the creek into small coves many of which have seasonal waterfalls. These small detours are well worth the walk and a great photo opportunity.
The trail, through this part, is fairly narrow and mostly sandy. About ½ mile in you will come to intersection of the 200 and 209 trails which is marked by a wooden sign. Trail 209 crosses the creek at this point and continues northwest. The Borden Creek trail continues northeast along a wider path and past several large rock overhangs and additional waterfalls. Borden Creek is wet year round but run deeps during the spring and fall months or after large rain events. Wild life is abundant including a variety of birds, frogs and lizards. Camping is allowed anywhere with the national forest and several camp sites with fire rings already exist along the trail. Since the terrain is moderate, this first section is great for backpacking. You can camp alongside the creek and enjoy the rustling water throughout the night.
Approximately 1 mile in you will come to a point where the Borden trail crosses a small tributary. Be prepare to get slightly wet as you forge the creek and make your way up the steep bank on the opposite site. Again, you will pass a large camping area as you continue alongside Borden creek. Past this point, the trail again become narrow and slightly overgrown. There are no markings along the trail, so follow close by the creek.
Around 2 miles you will come to a point where the trail appears to end. At this point the trail continues through an opening in the boulders which leads through a “fat mans’ squeeze”, about 10 yards long and 2 feet wide, and comes out at the bottom of the small waterfall. Be sure to have your flashlight handy. As an alternative, hikers can forge through the river for a short distance and rejoin the trail at the bottom assuming the water level is down. The first option is the best. The trails continues another 1/2+ mile till it reaches the Borden trail head. At this point you can either turn back and retrace your steps or be smart and have a car parked awaiting your arrival. Overall the hike is a pleasant one except for the portion that requires climbing up the rock side roughly 2 miles into the hike. This portion is not suitable for small children. Get an early start and come prepared to spend the entire day hiking.
(Thanks Christina for your help)
The trail is accessible from each end. The first trail head is located adjacent to CR-60 at the Sipsey Trailhead. The Sipsey trail has a $3 day use fee and offers a comfort station. The second trail head, the Borden Trailhead is located on CR-5 (dirt) about 2.6 miles off CR-60.