Where? Sipsey Wilderness in Bankhead National Forest 34.2884065 -87.4713008 will get you to the parking lot.
Directions? Park at the Randolph Trailhead on Cranal Road and take the trail to the right of the kiosk. READ THE MAP ON THE KIOSK AND TAKE A PICTURE. Travel down this trail until you come to a fork in the trail (maybe a mile in). Go right at the fork and walk down to the Sipsey Fork. The signs will say Sipsey River, and this is the same thing. Technically there is a Sipsey River on the eastern side of the state and this is the Sipsey Fork, but people interchange them all the time. I digress. Once you see the river, take a right and follow the river down stream. You won’t have to walk far, but it does get a little steep in one place as you walk along the bank. You will soon come to a creek on your right. Follow that creek. You will pass a camping spot very soon after you’ve turned to follow the creek upstream. It’s less than 1/4 mile upstream that you will run into White Creek Falls. You can’t miss it! When you are looking at White Creek Falls, you will see a way to the top on the right hand side. It’s a narrow path that takes you to the top of the White Creek Falls where you will find Valentine Pool. It’s beautiful! Once you are finished checking the place out, head back the way you came. I walked through the woods with a group of my friends, at the top of Valentine Pool, following White Creek Falls upstream a little way, and then cutting through the woods, but this route is all off-trail and it’s super easy to get lost. I also cannot remember any real directions for that route back to the parking spot, but I’ll take notes next time.
Please feel free to check out the All Trails Link. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alabama/white-falls
Trail Length? One would have to stay on a trail the whole time in order to determine trail length. I traveled in on a trail most of the way, then hiked back to my car off trail via a different route. I can tell you that it was about 3 miles to the falls.
How hard are we talkin’? I would rate this hike as a medium simply because there are some steep areas. If you choose to go up to Valentine Pool, it would be considered strenuous, especially given the ducking and crawling above White Creek Falls. Not for small children in my opinion. I don’t want to be an alarmist, but getting to the top of White Creek Falls can be easily become a fatal fall.
Can I swim there? You can swim in Valentine Pool, but it’s small. More of a picture destination than a swimming hole. Perfect for wading, but that’s a long way to walk just to wade through a small amount of water. There isn’t a pool at the bottom of White Creek Falls.
Any other details? Yes! Buy a map at the Chevron in Double Springs or at Warrior Trading Post. You need a map of Bankhead, a compass, a knife, food, water and hiking buddies. Map your route before you leave.
Leave no trace: Do you know why I see evidence of wild hogs all over Bankhead? Because of humans. We are also the same reason I see evidence of wild hogs all over the trails. We drop things and these animals are drawn to the trail in search of food. Even an apple core, which seems innocent-we’re just throwing nature back at nature right? NO! This attracts animals to the trail. Please pack out every single thing you brought in, including your apple cores and orange peels. 🙂