section 12 / snailtrail / northbound.
USE ODOMETER OR TRIP METER (NO REALLY :)
NORTHERN TERMINUS ~ FINISH HIKE
PARK FINISH HIKE VEHICLE FIRST
16.2 ~ HIGH POINT TRAILHEAD
From the intersection of AL 9 and US 278 in Piedmont, AL, go east on US 278 1.2 miles to the 4 way stop sign. Turn left on US 278.
Go 7.5 miles to the High Point Trailhead parking area, on the right, just past the 165 mile marker.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ BEGIN HIKE
PARK START HIKE VEHICLE
0.0 ~ NORTH FS 500 TRAILHEAD
From the High Point Trailhead parking area, go left on US 278 for 7.5 miles back to the 4 way stop in Piedmont. Turn right.
Go 1.2 miles to AL 9 South. Turn left.
Go 10.0 miles to the flashing yellow light at CR 55. Turn left.
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.
CS ~ CONVENIENCE STORE ~ 7.9
TT ~ TRAIL TOWN ~ 16.2
SC ~ SMALL CAMP ~ 8,6
LC ~ LARGE CAMP ~ 0.1, 2.4, 5.1, 6.4, 7.9, 12.5, 15.4
TS ~ TRAIL SHELTER ~ 0.1, 6.4
SW ~ SEASONAL WATER ~ 3.1, 3.3, 5.1, 6.8, 8.8, 12.5, 13.6
RW ~ RELIABLE WATER ~ 0.0, 2.4, 7.9, 8.1, 15.4, 16.2
HS ~ HOT SHOWER ~ 7.9, 16.2
DISTANCE ~ 16.2
CUMULATIVE ~ 141.7 ~ 157.9
ELEVATION ~ L 767' ~ H 1871'
WOODS TRAIL ~ VERY DIFFICULT
LANDMARK ~ TERRAPIN CREEK
LOCAL TOWN ~ PIEDMONT
CONTINUE NORTH TALLADEGA HIGHLANDS
0.0 ~ NORTH FS 500 TRAILHEAD ~ RW ~ 860'
From the trailhead parking area, go left up the hill for 50’. The north trail goes in the woods on the right.
RW ~ The creek on the south side of FS 500 is the water source for the North Dugger Mountain Shelter.
NEXT RW ~ 2.4 miles.
HISTORY ~ In 1986, the US Forest Service received 3 million dollars from Congress to purchase 6000 acres of land from the Nature Conservancy. This purchase extended the northern boundary of the Talladega National Forest from Dugger Mountain north to the Cherokee / Cleburne County line, which also provided a trail corridor for the Pinhoti. This land includes Oakey Mountain, Wilson Ridge, Maxwell Gap and Augusta Mine Ridge.
HISTORY ~ Every now and then you will come across an area that has been burned. Most times, these fires are started by the Forest Service and are called Prescribed Burns. The main reason for this is to keep the leaf layer on the ground, which is called Duff, thin enough so that if there is an accidental fire in that area, it won't burn hot enough to kill all the trees. At the same time, these controlled burns also keep the Kudzu like growth of Sweet gum and Red Maple under control. When there is a fire caused by nature or man in an area where the Duff is thick enough to kill the trees, which is what happened here, this is called a Hot Fire. Sometimes an interesting thing happens after a Hot Fire, an annual plant called Fire Weed sprouts up, which looks a lot like corn in height and leaf shape, and the area will start to resemble a large cornfield. I had the opportunity to see this happen here on the north side of FS 500 in 2002.
0.1 ~ NORTH DUGGER MTN SHELTER ~ LC, TS ~ 1020'
When you reach the old FS road, the trail goes straight across.
LC, TS ~ Turn right on the road and go about 50 yards up to the shelter site, on the right. There are a few flat spots on the old FS road and also near the shelter for camping.
RW ~ The water source for the shelter is back at the 0.0 ~ North FS 500 Trailhead.
HISTORY ~This is one of the three shelters built by the FS in 2006 with grant money received after the Pinhoti's designation as a Millennium Legacy Trail. The view from the front of the shelter is of Oakey Mountain. Construction of the shelter was completed in Feb., 2006.
0.5 ~ OAKEY MOUNTAIN VIEW
There are great views of Oakey on the right for the next half mile due to a "Hot Fire" that swept through here a few years ago.
1.0 ~ ROCKY RIDGE
1.1 ~ ROAD BED
When you get to the road bed, turn right and go 0.15 miles. Then go back in the woods on the left. Keep an eye out for the blazes.
BEGIN OAKEY MOUNTAIN
2.4 ~ TERRAPIN CREEK WATERSHED USFS ~ LC, RW ~ 840'
When you first see the lake, the trail is going away from the dam. After a short distance there is a switch back to the left that takes you back toward the dam. The trail goes across the top of the dam and then straight into the woods. When you first get in sight of the lake, there is an awesome view of Oakey Mountain rising to 1940'. The trail crosses over her at 1720' on the far left side, 2.2 miles past the dam.
LC, RW ~ There is a campsite at the bottom of the dam by the creek. You can also camp on top of the dam. Because the FS brings in bush hogs to mow the grass on the dam, please refrain from building any type of fire rings. Thanks!
NEXT RW ~ 5.7 miles
WILDFLOWER ~ Blue Dogbane ~ Blue / April
MOSS ~ British Soldiers
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Carolina Silver Bell ~ White / May ~
DUSTY HYDRANGIA ~ White
HISTORY ~ The USDA calls this Floodwater Retarding Dam #31. It was built in 1972 and the lake has a surface area of 49 acres. This dam and the ones at Choccolocco and Sweetwater are known as 200 year dams. Notice that there are 2 concrete overflows. The engineers estimated that after 100 years, the lowest overflow would be covered in silt and after 200 years the upper overflow would be covered. Then it's time to go to plan B ??
3.1 ~ DOUBLE SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
WILDFLOWER ~ Iris ~ Purple / March
3.3 ~ NORTH SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
3.4 ~ LOST TRAIL COVE
There is an unexpected, marked switchback on your left in the back end of a cove. It's not marked before the turn, but after you make the turn there is a blaze. From here up to the Oakey Mountain Crossing, there are great winter views of the western end of Big Tank Ridge and the Piedmont Valley.
UPDATE 2005 ~ A good sign has been planted in the back of the cove with an arrow pointing left for north-bounders and right for south bounders.
4.6 ~ OAKEY MOUNTAIN CROSSING ~ 1720'
Here are some great views on the left of Little Tank Ridge in the foreground, Big Tank Ridge in the background and Wilson Ridge on the right. These 3 ridges run west to east as opposed to Oakey Mountain and Augusta Mine Ridge, which run south to north. The trail crosses the east end of Wilson Ridge on its way up to Maxwell Gap.
SUMMIT ~ Oakey Mountain ~ 1940' ~ #17 on the list of 100 highest named summits in Alabama. From the crossing, the summit is app. 1 or 2 miles to the right along the ridgeline.
4.7 ~ NORTH OAKEY SWITCHBACKS
The first switchback is an old road bed that goes to the right just as soon as you cross over the ridgeline. Keep a lookout for the second switchback on the left after about a quarter mile.
5.1 ~ NORTH OAKEY CAMPSITE ~ LC, SW
There is a good seasonal spring crossing here and the fire ring is on the left. This area is a little boggy during wet seasons and would probably not be suitable for warm weather camping.
LC ~ The campsite is on the left just before the spring crossing.
SW ~ This is the south water source for the Oakey Mountain Shelter.
6.4 ~ OAKEY MOUNTAIN SHELTER / ROAD BED ~ LC, TS
When you get to this old road bed, the trail goes straight across.
LC ~ Go left on the road bed 25 yards to a large, level campsite. There are also plenty of level spots at the shelter.
TS ~ Turn right on the road bed and go 20 yards. Look for the shelter on the right.
SW ~ The water source is the spring crossings at mile 5.1 (south), or 6.8 (north).
HISTORY ~ This is one of the three shelters built by the FS in 2006 with grant money received after the Pinhoti's designation as a Millennium Legacy Trail. Construction of the shelter was completed in March, 2006.
HISTORY ~ A picnic table was built here by friends of Oakey Mountain on May 5, 2008.
6.8 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
The watershed area for this spring is pretty large and I've never seen it dry, but it's not really big enough for me to want to call it a reliable water source.
SW - This is the north water source for the Oakey Mountain shelter.
END OF OAKEY MOUNTAIN
BEGIN TERRAPIN CREEK VALLEY
7.9 ~ CHIEF LADIGA RAIL TRAIL ~ CLT MILE 7.0 ~ CS, LC, RW, HS ~ 767'
The Pinhoti turns right on the Ladiga Trail.
LC, RW, HS ~ October 2010 - You can see The Chief Ladiga Trail Campground out in front of you when you reach the asphalt. Turn left on the Ladiga and go 100 feet to the entrance. The two buildings you see are the bath house and the office/ camp store. Primitive camping and or hot showers are available. Sometime in the near future there will be 160 campsites and also kayak and bike rentals. Call 256-282-2370
NEXT RW ~ 7.5 miles.
HISTORY 2006 ~ The Ladiga is a Rails to Trails project that is almost completed from Anniston to the Georgia state line, near Cedartown. It then hooks up with the almost completed Silver Comet Trail and goes on into Atlanta. There were rumors of a proposed campground being set up near here for hikers and bikers but I haven't heard anything for a couple of years now.
UPDATE 2008 ~ Both of these Rails to Trails have been completed.
HISTORY 2010 ~ The Chief Ladiga Campground is under construction.
HISTORY 2015 ~ The campground is open for business. Campsites, bath house, camp store. 256-282-2370
8.1 ~ TERRAPIN CREEK BRIDGE ~ RW ~ 767'
RW ~ You will have a difficult time gaining access to the creek at the bridge.
8.4 ~ CHIEF LADIGA RAIL TRAIL ~ CLT MILE 6.5
The Pinhoti leaves the Ladiga Trail here on the left. Look for this well marked left turn about 50 feet before the CLT 6.5 mile post.
END TERRAPIN CREEK VALLEY
BEGIN WILSON RIDGE
8.5 ~ CR 94 CROSSING ~ 780'
The trail goes straight across the road. There is a steep 600' climb 1/2 mile ahead. Keep an eye out for some stunning views on the left of Oakey Mountain, Terrapin Creek Valley, Ladiga Trail and the Terrapin Creek Bridge.
8.6 ~ 94 CAMPSITE ~ SC ~ 850'
There are several small, level sites in this area, without fire rings.
8.8 ~ 94 SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 920'
This is a pretty good spring, below a large drainage area.
9.8 ~ WILSON RIDGE CROSSING ~ 1380'
END WILSON RIDGE
10.1 ~ CR 70 / MAXWELL GAP CROSSING ~ 1156'
The trail goes diagonally across the road to the left. There is another steep climb ahead, only it is 700' this time! Keep an eye out for some great views behind you and on your right of the north side of Wilson Ridge.
BEGIN AUGUSTA MINE RIDGE
10.1 ~ AUGUSTA MINE RIDGE ~ 1871'
Once you finish the climb, the trail crosses over to the west side of the ridge. This sometime confusing section of trail will be hopping on and off a 4 wheeler road for the next 0.6 miles. Keep a sharp eye out for blazes and curved rows of rocks. There are a lot of good winter views on the left through here of the Piedmont valley and at several places you will see the Wolf Ridge microwave tower. The trail leaves Augusta Mine Ridge 2.0 miles ahead and goes by this tower.
11.6 ~ ROCKY TOP 8 ~ 1871'
11.7 ~ ROBERT R. FURGERSON MEMORIAL PLAQUE
Look for the plaque on a pile of boulders to the right of the trail.
HISTORY ~ This section of the Pinhoti was made possible through the generosity of Audrey A. Furgerson, who granted a 1500' trail easement to us in memory of her late husband, Robert. Thank you. The memorial is on the right. After a long open descent on the 4 wheeler road, there is a wooden sign post on the left indicating the turn off of the road.
END AUGUSTA MINE RIDGE
BEGIN WOLF RIDGE
12,5 ~ LANIE GAP ~ LC, SW ~ 1460'
There are 4 wheeler roads coming in from the north, south, east and west. The Pinhoti comes in from the southeast and immediately leaves northeast. Look for the blazes on the right, by the fire ring. The trail has now left Augusta Mine Ridge and is on Wolf Ridge.
SW ~ The headwaters of Lanie Creek begin about 200' east of the Gap during the wet season. Follow the 4 wheeler road on the right downhill.
12.7 ~ WOLF RIDGE MICROWAVE TOWER ~ 1639'
There are some big rocks lining the trail on the right and the tower is barely visible about 300’ away, on the left through the pines.
13.6 ~ LANIE HOLLOW ~ SW ~ 900'
The trail has now left Wolf Ridge (1639') and is on Rock Quarry Mountain (1620'). There are great views of Lanie Hollow and Augusta Mine Ridge along your right side.
SW ~ There are 4 spring crossings along the next 1.8 miles.
SUMMIT ~ Rock Quarry Mountain ~ 1620' ~ #67 on the list of 100 highest named summits in Alabama.
END WOLF RIDGE
15.4 ~ LANIE CREEK CROSSING ~ LC, RW ~ 900'
There is a small trail to the left just before the creek crossing running along the bank that goes downstream about 25' to a better crossing.
NEXT RW ~ 0.8 miles
INDIAN TRAIL TREE (not authentic) ~ Look for this tree about 0.2 miles north of the creek crossing, on the left edge of the trail.
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is about 10' wide, 1' deep and has a little room to spread out after a heavy rain, but can get over knee high. Use extreme caution.
HISTORY ~ Look for the concrete dam on the creek a little bit past the crossing. About 150 miles south of here, at the southern terminus of the Pinhoti Trail at Flagg Mountain, there is a dam that is almost identical to this one that was built to form a small pond like this. It was used as the water source for the CCC Tower and Cabins. The old pump house and pump at Flagg Mountain, just below the dam, are still intact. Water was pumped 0.25 miles up to the top of the mountain. This dam on Lanie Creek may have once been used to supply water for the mine workers here.
16.2 ~ HIGH POINT TRAILHEAD / US 278 ~ TT, RW, HS ~ 800'
The trail comes out at the trailhead parking area on US 278.
TT, HS ~ Go left on US 278 for 7.5 miles to Piedmont.
TT, HS ~ Go right for 14.3 miles to Cedartown, GA.
RW ~ Go right 0.1 miles to a difficult access creek running along the right side of the road.
END NORTH TALLADEGA HIGHLANDS
END SHOAL CREEK RANGER DISTRICT
END TALLADEGA NATIONAL FOREST
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