pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
a 337.1 mile southern region appalachian trail connector
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the pta's busiest month to date ~ feb 2016 ~ 40,168 web hits
current weather @ pinhoti trail mid-point ~ s14 - 7.3 ~ cave spring trailhead
section 11 / snailtrail / northbound.
dugger mountain wilderness.
WILDERNESS GUIDELINES ~ All trail blazes have been removed
DISTANCE ~ 8.8
CUMULATIVE ~ 132.9 ~ 141.7
ELAVATION ~ L 846' ~ H 2140'
WOODS TRAIL ~ VERY DIFFICULT
LANDMARK ~ DUGGER WILDERNESS
LOCAL TOWN ~ JACKSONVILLE
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE
BEGIN NORTH TALLADEGA HIGHLANDS
0.0 ~ BURNS TRAILHEAD ~ CR 55 ~ RW ~ 846'
From the back of the trailhead parking area by the wilderness dedication plaque, go right on the approach trail for 100 yards to the Pinhoti intersection. The north trail goes to the left.
RW ~ From the trailhead parking area, go right on CR 55 for 100 yards to Jones Branch, running along the right side of the road.
NEXT RW ~ 8.2 miles
WILDBERRY ~ Beauty Berry ~ Purple ~ September
PLANT ~ Ground Pine (just before the CR 55 crossing)
TRAIL DESCRIPTION ~ At the beginning of this section, you will be traveling along Red Mountain. Once you reach the 2.8 ~ Laurel Passage landmark, the trail crosses over to Dugger Mountain and begins side-hilling up to the top of the ridge.
HISTORY ~ The log cabin and outbuildings here are the former home of Mr. Pink E. Burns. Mr. Burns died in 1999 at the age of 81. He lived his whole life in this cabin and was able to survive through the bounty of the forest. He was also a great story teller and entertained many a hiker through the years on his front porch. He also didn't mind if you brought along Moon Pies and Cokie Colas when you came to sit a spell.
HISTORY 2007 ~ A new set of crosstie steps has been constructed on the north side of the CR 55 Crossing by the Alabama Trails Association.
HISTORY 2009 ~ Here is a quote from The Anniston Star, Thursday, March 12, 2009 - "Pinky Burns' cabin, a Rabbittown landmark since the late 1800's, burned to the ground Tuesday night ( Mar. 10) and the three suspected to be responsible for (setting fire to) it are being held at the Calhoun County jail, according to the Sheriff's Office. The log cabin's two chimneys are all that remain of the building, which belonged to Pinky Burns, a locally famous trapper, hunter and storyteller who lived there until his death in 1999 at the age of 81."
HISTORY ~ The Wilderness designation was granted in 1999. A big thanks to all the folks who worked so hard for so many years to make this happen.
1.3 ~ RED MOUNTAIN
1510' is #98 on the list of 100 highest named summits in Alabama. The summit is up on your left.
HISTORY ~ The mass of blowdowns here was cleared with crosscut saws by the Alabama Wilderness Rangers, January 2017.
2.7 ~ JONES BRANCH ROAD ~ LC, SW ~ 1240'
The trail goes straight across Jones Branch Road.
LC, SW ~ You can go right 0.1 miles on the road to a good spring. There are no fire rings here but you will find several flat spots before and after the spring. (Yes, the Volkswagen Fender on the right, 50' down the road is from a bug, but it's not a native species of the Wilderness :)
HISTORY ~ You can turn left here on the road and loop about 3 miles back to the Burns Trailhead. The Appalachian Trail Club of Alabama and the Anniston Outdoor Association lead annual Spring Wildflower Hikes on this loop. These hikes are held on consecutive weekends and the ATCA goes clockwise and the AOA goes counter clockwise.
2.8 ~ LAUREL PASSAGE
This is where you make the transition from Red Mountain to Dugger Mountain. Look for a good winter view on the left of a rock tower up ahead on the ridge.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
3.2 ~ CAMPSITE ~ SC
The trail turns to the left just before the campsite.
4.3 ~ TURKEY GAP ~ LC
1500' ~ The trail crosses the old Gap Road here. The trail makes a sharp left turn just past the fire ring and goes around the west side of Rocky Top 6.
4.4 ~ ROCKY TOP 6
Keep an eye out for our Sister Ridge on the left.
4.9 ~ SISTER RIDGE VIEW ~ PIEDMONT VIEW
There are many good winter and summer views of the Choccolocco Mountains on the left about a mile away. You can see the last peak before she drops off into Piedmont. That is AL 9 that runs across the top of her head. OUCH !!
HAZARD - Starting in late spring, the trail passes through several big 100 to 200 yard patches of Poison Oak over the next 1/2 mile.
5.4 ~ ROCKY TOP 7
6.4 ~ DUGGER MOUNTAIN FIRE TOWER (missing) ~ 2140'
OFF TRAIL CAUTION!! - REMEMBER THE ROUTE THAT YOU CHOSE TO COME UP HERE.
The old Dugger Mountain Fire Tower has been purchased by a private citizen and was flown out of here by helicopter. Wilderness guidelines do not allow any manmade structures within the Wilderness boundaries.
The tower site is off the trail to the left about 0.1 miles. There is no trail to it and no good landmarks to show you where to start bushwhacking. If you will keep an eye on the blazes on the right side of the trail, you will come to 2 blazes about 20' apart. There are a lot of rocks through here and for the first 10' the trail goes straight. In the last 10' the trail zigs to the left, then zags to the right and then zigs back to the left again. You can turn left here and bushwhack your way up to the highest point, where the 3 survey markers are embedded in the rock. Now, go on just a little farther to the tower site clearing with the 4 concrete corner blocks.
For all of your trouble, there are no views at ground level and no "I Dug Dugger" T-shirts either. There is a road at the tower site that goes down and intersects with FS 500, 1.1 miles north of the 8.8 ~ FS 500 Crossing.
WILDFLOWER ~ Indian Pipe ~ Pink ~ September / False Solomon Seal ~ White ~ September
WILDBERRY ~ Jack in the Pulpit ~ Red
WILDFLOWER ~ Indian Pink ~ Pink (but, it's red!?) ~ May
8.2 ~ NORTH DUGGER FLATS ~ LC, RW ~ 1100'
There are 5 creek crossings in the next 0.5 miles. You'll also find a few flat spots close to the trail that are suitable for camping. As of 2006, there is only 1 fire ring in this area. The Forest Service has also done a recent endangered plant species survey and there are several areas marked with candy stripe (red and white) survey tape where some were found. Please try to stay as close to the trail as possible to avoid damaging anything. Thanks.
FORDING HAZARD ~ These crossings are about 6' wide, 6" deep and rocky. They are a little tricky to cross on a good day and after a heavy rain, even more so. The water won't be over knee high so you don't have to worry too much about being swept downstream, but the chances of falling in the rocks are high. Use extreme caution.
NEXT RW ~ 0.5 miles
WILDFLOWER ~ Chickweed ~ White ~ April
8.7 ~ NORTH DUGGER MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS BOUNDARY ~ RW ~ 850'
You are leaving the wilderness.
8.8 ~ NORTH FS 500 TRAILHEAD ~ RW ~ 860'
When you reach FS 500, turn right and go about 50’ to the trailhead parking area, on the right.
NORTHERN TERMINUS ~ FINISH HIKE
USE ODOMETER OR TRIP METER (NO REALLY :)
NORTHERN TERMINUS ~ FINISH HIKE
PARK FINISH HIKE VEHICLE FIRST
8.8 ~ NORTH FS 500 TRAILHEAD
Exit I-20 at Exit 191, US 431S, east of Oxford, AL.
Go north 0.3 miles to US 78. Turn right.
Go 3.9 miles to AL 9. Turn left.
Go 10.9 miles to CR 55, at the yellow flashing light. Turn right.
Go 8.8 miles to a dirt road, FS 500. Turn left. There is a black mailbox on the right at this turn with the address-20346.
Go 2.0 miles to the North FS 500 Trailhead parking area- this is just a small pull off on the left, past the bridge.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE
PARK START HIKE VEHICLE
0.0 ~ BURNS TRAILHEAD
From the North FS 500 Trailhead, turn around and go back 2.0 miles to CR 55. Turn right.
Go 4.6 miles to the Burns Trailhead parking area, on the right.
^ climb up.