Caney Creek Falls Trip Guide and Pictures – Bankhead National Forest

KiranAlabama Waterfalls21 Comments

Caney Creek Falls Front

Caney Creek Falls and Upper Caney Creek Falls in particular are thought by many to be the most beautiful waterfall trip in Alabama. It’s a bit of a hike in, and the hike out of the ampitheater can be hard on the way out, but it’s doable for larger kids and dogs. Just use some caution on the descent into the small canyon to see the falls.

At a Glance

  • 1.7 mi round trip
  • Nice View
  • Kids OK
  • Dogs OK
Location: Near Double Springs in Bankhead National Forest Alabama (see maps & directions)
Must haves: a Bankhead National Forest map that doesn’t need batteries 😉
Gear: Our favorite snacks and camera gear
Gallery: Check out the pictures here

Caney Creek Falls – Trip Details

Find a place to stay nearby at HomeAway.com

We hadn’t been in Alabama for long before someone mentioned a trip to Caney Creek Falls for some fun outdoors and great pictures. After taking the trip, I’d have to agree that it’s one of the better waterfall hikes in the state.

I have to extend a big thanks to Lane Leopard for sending over much better pictures than what I took!

Caney Creek Falls with ice in Bankhead National Forest

Caney Creek Falls iced over in Bankhead National Forest

Ready for a weekend away? Find a cabin to rent near Caney Creek

The parking for the hike into Caney Creek Falls is on County Road 2 amounts to a nondescript pull off without official signage. But, there is a painted sign on the right of the road (heading Northwest) at the trail head. Nonetheless, be sure to mark it on your GPS to get to the right spot. From the parking area, the falls are at the end of a long hike into the woods and the basin containing the upper falls.

Caney Creek Falls Sign

The parking area is on private property, but the trail and parking area are regularly used for the hike to the falls. Since the falls themselves are in Bankhead National Forest land, overnight camping is permitted as well.

The approach to the falls is a steep one, so keep a close eye on dogs and children.

If you continue downstream for about 20 minutes, you’ll get to the lower falls, but you’ll have to cross the creek to follow the trail to that point.

Hiking to Caney Creek Falls

As the sign across the trail at the road cautions, the falls are 1.5 miles from the parking area. On top of that, the walk up out of the small canyon and much of the way back to the car will be slightly uphill. So, prepare for a workout on the way back.

Just past the gate and at a few spots along the trail, there are significant amounts of poison ivy along the trail, so just be cautious with dogs and small kids if anyone has a sensitivity to it. The trail is very wide except for a couple of short stretches, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Poison Ivy on the way to Caney Creek Falls

Keep away from this stuff!

Most of the hike follows a wide flat trail cut through upland forest which gradually descends to the creek and the falls themselves. In summer, you can enjoy hydrangeas blooming along the trail under the hardwood canopy. Our kids and I enjoyed seeing the Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) with its huge leaves (up to 36″ long) and flowers up to a foot across. They are fairly common in eastern Mississippi and western Alabama, but it was our first encounter with the species. They bloom in late spring and early summer.Bigleaf Magnolia Tree

Once you begin to descend to the creek, you should use caution with you kids and dogs.  While the trail is not treacherous, a fall down to the stream from the top of the canyon would be very serious.  It’s hard to judge in pictures, but here’s a shot on the way out to give you an idea of the approach:

Descent to Caney Creek Falls

The Waterfall(s?)

The falls drop about 20 feet onto a rock ledge and run off into a shallow pool. At times of higher runoff, there is a second seasonal waterfall to the right.

Caney Creek Falls Front

Access behind the falls is easy, making for a fun spot to enjoy with the kids behind the falls.

Under Caney Creek Falls

Some accounts mention another waterfall about 20 minutes downstream, but we didn’t take the chance to go exploring further on this trip. Let us know in the comments if you can provide more detail or pictures.

The small canyon below the falls offers a great chance for a geology lesson with kids and beautiful moss-covered rocks along the creek bed, but be prepared to get your shoes a little wet crossing the creek if you don’t have waterproof hiking boots.

Caney Creek Falls geology

Caney Creek Falls Moss

The hike back to the car is a bit of a gasser, especially when alternating carrying 3 and 5 year olds! So, you’ll appreciate a few minutes in the car when you get back out. But, all in all, this is a fun half-day trip and a gorgeous overnight camping opportunity.

Conditions

More Waterfalls around Bankhead National Forest

As you might imagine, Caney Creek Falls is not your only option in the vast Bankhead National Forest and the Sipsey Wilderness area. Some other falls to visit are:

We have also listed 10 of the best waterfalls that you can visit for a day trip here.

Caney Creek Falls Map, Directions, and Resources

  • Directions

    Get Directions
  • Parking

  • GPS Coordinates

    34.245816, -87.433239

Places to Stay

There is primitive camping available at Brushy Creek Campground close by. For those that are looking for something nicer, there are nice homes for reasonable prices nearby listed on Homeaway.

Other Resources

Park Website
Park Map
There are no restrooms on site and the nearest will be a 15 minute drive to Haleyville, so plan accordingly!

  • Caney Creek Falls Front

  • Caney Creek Falls side

21 Comments on “Caney Creek Falls Trip Guide and Pictures – Bankhead National Forest”

    1. It’s public land, so you should be fine, but I’ve never seen anyone fishing so I couldn’t say how much luck you’ll have. I do know there is a section of the Sipsey below the dam at Smith Lake that is stocked with trout.

  1. Nice article on Caney Falls, but you make a common mistake of not giving the reader a map orientation. A simple dot on a map of AL would be helpful, rather than saying it’s “in AL off Rte 2.” I know you can enlarge the location 6x to do that, but like I said, a dot is informative.

    1. Hey, thanks for the input. Just to be clear, are you saying instead of the map at the bottom of the page, I need a small map of the state with a dot showing where in the state Caney Creek Falls are? I may be able to work something like that into the “At a Glance” section at the top of the page. Like that idea?

    1. There is tent camping at Brushy Lake Campground in the park nearby. Nearby Lewis Smith Lake also has Corinth and Clear Creek Rec. areas where you can camp.

    1. I’ve never seen “evidence” of horses on the trail. The parking is pretty limited at the trailhead. But, there’s a large network of horse trails connected to Owl Creek Horse Camp not too far from this location. I’d leave the horses there and hike to the falls. 🙂

  2. The 2 falls at Caney Creek are so worth the hike,3 miles round trip to the upper fall then from the first fall to the second is 1.7 miles down stream to the lower fall,it is beautiful w had a 2 year old a 6 year old a 9 year old an 8 year old 14 year old they all made this hike to both, it was a wonderful time!!!

  3. We are moving to Dauphin Island, Al in September. If I’m reading this map correctly, Candy Creek Falls is pretty far north? We have friends that just love waterfalls and could possibly plan a trip there. Because I have some issues, I can walk exactly 2 mph for exactly 2 miles. Am I reading correctly that I could only go to the first fall and they could go on and pick me up on the way back down?!? I think I could do that. Also, how would we go about getting lodgings? I saw that you said there were nice house nearby but can you give me a little more info on that? This seems like it would be a nice little trip. Thanx so much.

  4. Hi, I’ve run into an issue with several of the links to different waterfall directions. It takes me to google maps and then directs me via the coordinates, but it always says it’s 4+ hours away and in Georgia or NC or something. Could you possibly give me an alternate way to find this via GPS? Thanks so much! Love your site!

    1. It looks like the data merge that I was using to pull in the GPS coordinates wasn’t set up correctly on this one. Thanks for pointing that out! It should be correct now.

      Be aware that several people have reported folks getting towed for parking along the roadside, and I haven’t heard if a better solution for parking has been worked out yet.

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