Northern Alabama

This trip will lead me on a 14-day tour of eastern Alabama, western Georgia and a slice of Tennessee.

A day full of covered bridges, a secret Shrine and most notably, an impressive waterfall, accessible by a tedious trail. At the end of the day I find a great boondocking spot in the Bankhead National Forest.

Noccalula Falls Park

I arrived early in the morning at the Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama; a large, touristy recreation area, dominated by the large Noccalula Waterfall. The falls are easy to view from the top, but as I found out later, getting down to the waterfall and cave behind it, would be an unexpected, lengthy hiking trail.

There is a very short AND very steep trail down at the beginning of the Black Creek trail and a less dangerous access midway; I choose for the third option further down the trail at the suspension bridge. I’m sure that Joey appreciated my choice.

After many wrong turns, my walk along the creek led me to the waterfall. Even tough summer had diminished the water flow of the falls, a good amount of water still made for a beautiful sight. Unexpectedly, a very large cave opened up behind the falls and me and Joey enjoyed this cool place to take a deserved rest, before returning to the van.

Horton Mill Covered Bridge

The Horton Mill Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge that spans the Calvert Prong of the Little Warrior River in Alabama. This 220 feet long bridge was built in 1934.

Easley Covered Bridge

The Easley Covered Bridge, also known as Rosa Covered Bridge, is a wood and metal combination style covered bridge that spans Dub Branch of the Calvert Prong of the Little Warrior River in Alabama. It opened in 1927 and has a length of 95 feet. While many covered bridges are closed to traffic, the Easley bridge is open to small cars.

Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, informally known as OLAM Shrine, is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite shrine located in Hanceville, Alabama. The Shrine and monastery were built in 1999.

This Roman Catholic basilica has a replica Shroud of Turin in the lower church and is open to everybody with proper attire. The lack of any shade in the parking area for Joey, prevented me to visit the buildings this time.

Abandoned Airplane Gas Station

Close to the town of Eva, I found an abandoned gas station with an old airplane in mid-air. This must have been an eye catcher when this service station was still open. Now I would called it a relic.

Clarkson Covered Bridge

A 270-foot-long covered bridge, built in 1904. It is closed to traffic, but great place for a picnic. From down at the creek, you realize how long and high it actually is. The same property also has an old griss mill.

Bankhead NF Campsite

Only 0.2 mile away from tomorrows planned hike, I find the perfect boondocking spot to spend the night. Didn’t notice any traffic during the night, so this is a place to come back to.

Locations

  • Noccalula Falls ➜ 34.0420,-86.0210
  • Horton Mill Covered Bridge ➜ 34.0076,-86.44861
  • Easley Covered Bridge ➜ 33.9710,-86.5184
  • Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament ➜ 34.0572,-86.6894
  • Abandoned Gas Station ➜ 34.3012,-86.7932
  • Clarkson Covered Bridge ➜ 34.2072,-86.9907
  • Bankhead NF Boondocking ➜ 34.2491, -87.2457

Trail Download – Gpx

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