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Fall in the Conecuh National Forest

The weather is beginning to cool and the forest is beginning to put on its fall colors.

That makes for great hiking in the Conecuh National Forest, ranger Stephen Lee said.

“There are 20 miles of hiking trails,” Lee said.

The trails are open to hikers year-round, he said. Hikers are advised to wear hunter orange from November through February.

There are three distinct portions of trails.

At Open Pond, there is a mile-and-a-half loop of trails round the pond.

“That’s a real nice area to hike,” Lee said, adding that a larger, five-mile loop at Open Pond leads to Five Runs Creek and back to Open Pond.

“This trail is more in the bottom area of the forest and is kid of along the creek,” Lee said.

The path also takes hikers past Blue Springs, with is a huge natural spring, about five feet deep.

The Conecuh Trail can be accessed at Hwy. 137 and County Road 24, where there is a 13.5 mile loop near Blue Lake.

A shorter trail can be accessed just outside the Blue Lake camp site.

Maps are available for purchase at the ranger station, located at 16375 U.S. Hwy. 29 South, Andalusia, and from the National Forest Service Web site, www.nationalforeststore.com.