The Official Travel Site of Alabama

Bankhead Forest & Sipsey Wilderness

Places-bankhead-map

Located 45 miles north of Birmingham, this region offers visitors a small-town atmosphere and a selection of attractions, including Ave Maria Grotto, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, and Clarkson Covered Bridge. The longest natural bridge east of the Rockies is also in this area. A wide variety of recreational opportunities are available as well as access to Smith Lake.

On this page:

What To See & Do

Places-bankhead-crooked-creek

Crooked Creek Civil War Museum

Located on a Confederate battle site, this museum takes a look back into Alabama’s history.

Places-bankhead-smith-lake

Smith Lake Park

This park has campsites and cabins. It also provides pavilions, a playground, pool, fishing pier and boat launch.

Places-bankhead-ave-maria-grotto

Ave Maria Grotto

Visit this four-acre park and see 125 miniatures of places from all over the world built by Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk.

Places-bankhead-forest

Bankhead National Forest

This forest features waterfalls and recreational opportunities such as hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing and more.

Places-bankhead-natural-bridge

Natural Bridge of Alabama

The largest natural bridge east of the Rockies, this span of sandstone and rocks is 60 feet high and 148 feet long.

Places-bankhead-dismals-canyon

Dismals Canyon

Get the wilderness experience with romantic cabins, hiking, waterfalls and encounters with glow-in-the-dark creatures known as Dismalites.

Where To Stay

Places-bankhead-anchorlight

AnchorLight Bed and Breakfast

Spend the night in the top of a lighthouse at this unique bed and breakfast.

Places-bankhead-smith-lake-retreat

Smith Lake Retreat

Enjoy special memories at this serene lakefront rental, convenient to the marina and roomy enough for 10.

Places-bankhead-smith-lake-bb

Smith Lake Bed & Breakfast

A gourmet breakfast, lake view and easy water access – this bed and breakfast has it all.

Places-bankhead-gradys-bb

Grady’s Bed and Breakfast

Come create a memory at this quaint bed and breakfast on Smith Lake.

Where To Eat

Places-bankhead-all-steak

All Steak

Considered the cornerstone of the Cullman community, this restaurant serves up some of the town’s best food.

Places-bankhead-southern-hickory

Southern Hickory Barbecue

Known to serve some of the tastiest barbecue Cullman has to offer.

Area Map

[google map]
Get directions | View in Google Maps

Area Towns

  • Courtland

    +

    In Courtland, one can see architectural styles spanning nearly 200 years, and the town boasts more than 100 homes, buildings and sites that date from 1820 to 1930.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Crane Hill

    +

    Located in Cullman County, Crane Hill was settled in 1806. It was named after the sandhill cranes that roosted on a large hill in the area.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Cullman

    +

    Located 45 miles north of Birmingham, Cullman offers visitors a small-town atmosphere and a selection of attractions, including Ave Maria Grotto, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, and Clarkson Covered Bridge.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Dora

    +

    Founded by Cole Smith, Dora is located in Walker County. It is home to more than 2,000 people.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Double Springs

    +

    Situated inside William B. Bankhead National Forest, Double Springs is the county seat of Winston County. It is also close to Lewis Smith Lake.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Fayette

    +

    Fayette, located in Fayette County, has a population of more than 4,900.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Guin

    +

    Guin prides itself on being “a community of good living.” Located in Marion County, Guin has a population of less than 3,000.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Haleyville

    +

    Located in both Winston and Marion counties, the small town of Haleyville introduced the first 911 phone system in the nation in 1968.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Hamilton

    +

    Situated in the center of Marion County, Hamilton is the county seat. Native American history is prominent here, and Native American burial grounds and mounds can be found along the Buttahatchee River.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Hanceville

    +

    Hanceville, in Cullman County, has a population of about 3,000. The town is home to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Hillsboro

    +

    Conveniently located about 20 minutes from Decatur, Hillsboro is in Lawrence County and has a population of less than 1,000.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Jasper

    +

    Home of famous actor George Lindsey and actress Polly Holliday, Jasper is a town of hidden gems. Most notable is the Carl Elliott House Museum. Elliott, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949-1965, helped realize bills such as the Library Services Act and the National Defense Education Act. Once you’ve toured the landmark house, be sure to get in…

    Read more | Show on map

  • Moulton

    +

    Located on the edge of William B. Bankhead National Forest in the northwest corner of the state, Moulton boasts a wealth of recreational and cultural activities including Deer Run Golf Course, Jesse Owens Memorial Park, Animal House Zoological Park and Oakville Indian Mounds Park.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Natural Bridge

    +

    Located in southwestern Winston County, Natural Bridge is home to the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies. The bridge is located in Natural Bridge Park, a beautiful place to hike and enjoy unspoiled nature.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Nauvoo

    +

    Nauvoo was founded in 1888 and is located in Walker and Winston counties. Its population is nearly 300.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Phil Campbell

    +

    This town is named after the railroad work crew leader and engineer, Phil Campbell, who in the 1880s established a work camp in this location. Phil Campbell is located in Franklin County, with a population of more than 1,000. This town is also the birthplace of Billy Sherrill and home to Northwest-Shoals Community College, Alabama’s first junior college.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Red Bay

    +

    Sitting almost on the Mississippi state line, Red Bay is in Franklin County and has a population of more than 3,000.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Russellville

    +

    Located in northwestern Alabama, Russellville is the county seat of Franklin County. In the 1800s, Jackson’s Military Road, named after Andrew Jackson, passed through what became Russellville.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Town Creek

    +

    Located in Lawrence County, Town Creek is about 30 minutes away from Decatur. It is just south of the Goode-Hall House, a site listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Vernon

    +

    Vernon is located in Lamar County with a population of more than 2,000.

    Read more | Show on map

  • Winfield

    +

    The second-largest city in Morgan County, Winfield has a population of more than 4,500 and hosts the annual Mule Day, which was once named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by Travel and Tourism magazine.

    Read more | Show on map

Find Local Websites

Getting there by plane
Getting there by car
Getting there by bus or train

Birmingham serves as the state’s major air travel hub. The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport offers 130 daily flights to 51 airports in 48 cities throughout the United States.

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
5900 Messer Airport Highway
Birmingham, AL 35212

(205) 595-0533

flybirmingham.com

The Bankhead area is accessible via Interstate 65.

Greyhound offers bus service to and from Birmingham, which is a short drive away. You will need to arrange transportation to your destination from the station. Hours of operation are subject to change. Call to verify information before making travel plans.

618 19th St. N.
Birmingham, AL 35203

(205) 252-7190

greyhound.com

Amtrak offers daily train service to and from its station located in downtown Birmingham. You will need to arrange transportation to your destination from the station.

Amtrak
1819 Morris Ave.
Birmingham, AL 35203

(205) 324-3033

amtrak.com