The hike to the headwaters of the Paint Rock River and the Walls of Jericho is one of the more rewarding trips you can make. It may also be one of the most taxing. You’ll drop 1000 feet from the rim of the canyon along a steep and often slippery trail to the valley floor below, where you'll be rewarded with a natural rock amphitheater and several picturesque waterfalls. Natural erosion here has carved out narrow slot canyons and caves as well as the rock amphitheater that is the highlight of this trip. Any recent rainfall will send the water cascading into the large pool at the base of the amphitheater from several creeks above.
What Makes It Great
Exploration opportunities abound at the Walls of Jericho trail system. It is part of the Forever Wild Acquisitions, and consists of 12,510 acres. This is a great area for backpacking and hiking, with most visitors agreeing that it is more suitable for children ages 10 and over. The rocky terrain and slippery surfaces could prove to be dangerous for tot-sized tagalongs. There is no end to the number of activities available, such as birdwatching, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting and more. Pick through the trails alongside the creek and follow them to the bottom of the canyon for one of the most interesting places to bring a camera. Fill your memory card with scenic landscape shots and gorgeous scenery.
Just upstream from the amphitheater is a large field that serves as the backcountry campsite for this area. You may end up sharing it with other backpackers, but there is enough room that you should not feel cramped. Don’t skip breakfast, because the 1000-foot climb back up to the trailhead is long and strenuous. Also, it’s important to bring a map and keep tabs on your whereabouts. Two trailheads lead into the canyon, and you’ll want to return to where you started, unless of course your plan is to shuttle the hike with another car.
Who is Going to Love It
Fathers and sons that are looking to get away from the busy city and explore the wild for the weekend will love the Walls of Jericho. Couples that want to reconnect will appreciate the distraction-free peace that only comes from being surrounded by nature. Outdoor-loving families will enjoy the challenge of the three hiking trails ranging from 1 mile to 6 miles round-trip. The Walls of Jericho is for anyone looking for a bit of a challenge, but not too difficult to navigate. Campers and hikers must give this place a try. By the end of the visit, you’ll be planning the next available time that you can return.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take US 72 West for about 4.8 miles, then turn right onto to AL-79. Continue North for about 25 miles to the parking lot for the horseback riding trailhead. Travel one more mile North on AL-79 to the parking lot for the hiking trailhead.