DIY Beginner Backpacking
North Loop Trail -Conecuh National Forest
Hike in, camp, hike out.
Or type Conecuh Trailhead into Google Maps
849 S 3 Notch St, Andalusia, AL 36420
Mizell Memorial Hospital
702 N Main St, Opp, AL 36467
Conecuh Ranger District
Jay Edwards, Acting District Ranger
24481 Alabama Hwy 55
Andalusia, AL 36420
Arrange to meet Rangers or EMS at the closest evacuation
point such as a road or fire road. These can be seen on
the maps below.
If it is not an emergency hike out.
Do not hike through severe weather, seek shelter.
Don’t forget to check the weather before you leave.
- flash flood warnings
- watch the radar prediction.
Do not interact with wildlife. Maintain a safe and respectful
Always pack insect and sun protection.
Remember Leave No Trace:
- Plan ahead and Prepare
- Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Respect Others
- Respect Wildlife
- Minimize Campfire Impact
- Leave What You Find
- While you can plan on passing a few ponds along this hike, all trail notes indicate that you should pack your own water in for this hike.
- On the map below , there are two trailheads along HWY 137, trail notes also imply that it is beer to start at the southern trailhead. There is parking at the recreation center at the boom of the map or along HWY 137.
- The North Loop Trail in the Conecuh National Forest is a perfect overnight trek for seasoned hikers who want to get away for a night or beginners learning the basics.
- This 13.8-mile trail is actually the north loop of the longer Conecuh Trail that stretches south another 20 miles. It’s an easy walking journey through a forest of towering longleaf pines where you might encounter gopher tortoises and white-top pitcher plants.
- What really makes the hike special are its water features—three beautiful dark green cypress ponds including Mossy, Gum, and Nellie. At each pond, cypress trees draped in Spanish moss line the banks and blooming water lilies float on the surface.
- Since the terrain is relatively flat, you’ll find it a quick hike. Most hikers like
to start around mid-morning from the south trailhead on AL 137 and do a clockwise
circuit. You can hike the first 10 or so miles until dusk and then set up camp at
Nellie Pond where the night sky is velvety black, the stars shimmer brightly, and frog song serenades you to sleep. The next morning, it’s a short 3-mile jaunt to the trailhead to complete the loop.
- The Conecuh Trail winds 20 miles through the eastern portion of the Conecuh National
Forest. The trail was built by the Youth Conservation Corps. Each year beginning in
1976, the young people of the Corps extended the trail through
park-like longleaf pine forests, around sinkhole ponds, and across streams and broomlands. The trail showcases the diversity of Conecuh ecosystems for the day hiker and backpacker.
- The south loop of the Conecuh Trail leads to Blue Springs, a large natural spring
of clear, icy blue water. The Conecuh Trail
crosses streams at several points. Bridges have been built for the convenience of trail hikers.
- The Conecuh Trail is open year round, but winter hiking is most pleasant when the weather is cooler and insects not so bothersome. Summers can be hot and humid. From mid-November through the end of January, hikers and backpackers should coordinate trips with the District Office to ensure compatibility with scheduled deer hunts on Blue Spring Wildlife Management Area.
Snack: peanut butter crackers or trail mix
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Diced tomatoes
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Salt and Pepper
Dinner: Tuna Salad Sandwiches
- Can of Tuna
- Spices to taste
Always ensure you’ve covered the essentials as described below.
The Ten Essentials:
- Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or
- Headlamp: plus extra batteries
- Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes and sunscreen
- First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (as needed)
- Knife: plus a gear repair kit
- Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove
- Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light emergency bivy)
- Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation
- Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation
- Extra clothes: Beyond the minimum expectation.
For a detailed packing list, check out this printable list by REI.