Buck's Pocket State Park
This secluded 2,000-acre facility may be the best kept secret among the Alabama State Parks. The park offers an observation overlook of the 400 foot deep canyon formed by two creeks, a picnic area near the overlook, improved campsites, primitive camping and several hiking trails in the canyon and to rock structures, including the Point Rock Trail leading from the campground to the overlook.
The Park is located some 10 miles north of Geraldine and 23 miles west of Interstate 59 at Ft. Payne. It can also be reached by traveling highway 75 from Albertville and highway 227 from Guntersville. The campground is reached by driving down into the canyon while the picnic area is located near the Overlook. Signs are posted for each area when you reach the Park.
Hiking trails at Buck's Pocket include the following:
Point Rock Trail (moderate)
This trail can be hiked from the canyon below or from the picnic area near the observation overlook. I am describing the trail from its lower trailhead. From the campground walk back along the road to the concrete bridge. The trail starts across the bridge on your left. The first part of the trail follows Little Sauty Creek with water cascades and large boulder formations. At approximately 1.0 mile, you can note the rock overhang at the end of the short Indian House Trail to your right and above. The trail abruptly crosses over to the left of the creek and soon starts its ascent. The last 1/2-mile or less is a moderate climb to the upper terminus of the trail near the picnic area. The trail has gained some 400' from the canyon floor.
A short walk to your left will take you to the observation overlook of the canyon, well worth the hike. Most of the overlook areas have no fence or restraining device and the distance to the canyon below is several hundred feet. The picnic area and overlook can be reached by the road intersecting the main road leading to the canyon below and campground area.
Indian House Trail (easy)
This short trail begins beside the concrete drainage pipe just prior to where the road turns right and descends to the canyon floor and campground area. From the road, walk down beside the cascading water and follow the ridge. This is a very short trail (listed as 1/2 mile on the trail map) that ends at large rock formations often used by the Cherokee Indians for shelter.
High Bluff Trail (moderate)
This is another short trail located along the road leading down into the canyon and campground area. A small parking area is located in a sharp curve of the road. The trail makes its way along the high rock cliffs with a rock overhand and a small stream that flows during the fall and winter months.
South Sauty Creek Trail (moderate)
This is a 2.5 mile dead end trail located "across the stream" from the campground. The trail begins across South Sauty Creek by the concrete bridge. (The Primitive Campground Trail begins on the left of the concrete bridge before it crosses the stream) Parking is available on the left after crossing the bridge. From the concrete bridge, the trail leads east along the stream. The trail gradually ascends and makes its way down to the stream where it dead-ends. Four primitive campsites are located at trails end (backpacker's place).
Primitive Campground Trail (easy)
This trail starts just past the entrance to the campground before crossing South Sauty Creek. It consists of old roadbed which runs parallel to the creek. During the summer and dry periods, South Sauty Creek actually goes underground due to the canyon floor being honeycombed with limestone caverns beneath the sandstone boulders.
The first 1.5 miles of roadbed can be traveled by car with primitive campsites located on the backwater from Lake Guntersville or you may park in the developed campground area and hike down the roadbed.
From the road, you can see the large sandstone boulders in the creek bed. From the primitive camping area, the roadbed continues on your left. Within the first 100 yards, you will pass a couple of wooden outhouses. At approximately 1.7 miles, the trail gets farther away from the backwater and ascends for a short distance in switchbacks.
At 2.0 miles, the roadbed becomes smoother after waling over very rocky surface. At 2.3 miles, begin descending. The roadbed will level out at approximately 2.6 miles before reaching a paved road at 2.7 miles. Take this paved road right and reach Morgan's Cove with a nice view of Lake Guntersville (During the summer months, you can jump in the water).
A T.V.A. access road continues from the end of the parking area along the shore of Lake Guntersville. This would make a hike of approximately 6.0 miles one way. This would be a nice walk in the fall or early spring. By driving to Morgan's Cove, you would only have half the hiking distance. During the winter months, this area is very good for viewing Bald Eagles.
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Buck's Pocket Links:
Buck's Pocket State Park (V-Ten online)