U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Bankhead National Forest

Alabama



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Forest Information

The (William B.) Bankhead National Forest is located in northwestern Alabama and is comprised of 180,581 acres. There are four developed campgrounds, all of which meet the selection criteria.

The Bankhead National Forest might be considered a multi-camping experience forest. Camping opportunities range from primitive, dispersed camping (found throughout the Forest) to the full hook- up, RV-focused Corinth campground located on Lewis Smith Lake near Double Springs, AL. Brushy Lake campground, adjacent to a small, very picturesque lake, is a more "traditional" National Forest campground offering a fire-ring, table, communal water spigots and a level space under mature hardwood and pine trees to pitch a tent.

Clear Creek considered "backyard" campgrounds for Birmingham, AL, offer recreational opportunities in and near the campground making it a good destinations. Activities such as the Natural Bridge (the longest east of the Rockies), Little Natural Bridge, Looney's Tavern Amphitheater and Park (currently closed), Houston Civil War Jail, and Pine Torch Church (so called because the worshipers used "pine torches" for lighting their 1850-constructed church).

In case you weren't aware, in the 1860's, a large number of the Winston County residents (in the southern portion of the Bankhead) refused to side against Old Glory. Their attempt to withdraw from the state of Alabama and form the Free State of Winston was met with force. At a community meeting held at Looney's Tavern on July 4, 1861, the 3000 residents of Winston County vowed to maintain neutrality and peace. However, they were not able to achieve either. During the 1860's life was hard for those Jacksonian Democrats, both economically and politically.

An RVrs delight has to be Corinth campground with its 48 full- hookup campsites and dedicated, separate tent sites. Its historical significance at the end of a path between sites 15 and 16, is a reminder that this area in Winston County was occupied by both Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War. Specifically, the path leads to a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)-built overlook above a rock where the names of a Confederate and Union soldier are carved. Unfortunately, there is no access to the rock.

North of Houston Recreation Area, on County Route 63 (GPS coordinates: N34 10.514;W87 16.643), is the Little Natural Bridge. A paved trail leads the visitor to an up-close look at a natural bridge. Visitors can explore under, around and through this beautiful sculpture of nature. Bring a picnic lunch. Other examples of how water is nature's principle sculpting tool are found along the delightful Ravine Trail in the Clear Creek Recreation Area. Hikers along this trail can envision long ago people using a rock shelter in foul weather or as a camping place during hunts.

Although it didn't meet our selection criteria (no designated sites), Owl Creek Horse Camp (GPS coordinates: N34 19.414;W87 16.643) provides open camping for equestrian campers. It has some amenities, such as a vault toilet, water spigots, high lines and hitching rails. Twenty-five miles of horse trails are accessible from campground.

The Bankhead National Forest may not have the "excellent" fishing opportunities of some National Forests but the camping, hiking, biking and other recreational opportunities make up for any frustration experienced by the fisherman. The diversity of recreational activities and camping opportunities found in the Bankhead will make it a favorite for the one-time visitor or for everyone who visits time and time again.
ADDRESSES

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 2946 Chestnut St. Montgomery, Alabama 36107-3010 334-832-4470 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Bankhead 1070 Hwy 33 Double Springs, Alabama 35553 205-489-5111




Fred and Suzi Dow