pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
a 337.1 mile southern region appalachian trail connector
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2018 alabama ~ georgia
northbound pinhoti trail
dugger mtn wilderness.
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this n that.
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black bear safety.
building section 4.
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cave spring, ga.
dr, tom mcgehee.
future section 14.
hiking the pinhoti.
horn mountain tower.
leave no trace.
pinhoti trail project.
prescribed burns: fs.
rebecca mountain: 1.
rebecca mountain: 2.
ridges and highlands.
rock n roll.
shoal creek church.
soul of a hiker.
the ten bulls.
the ramen chronicles.
ultralight gearlist: 2018.
ultralight gearlist: 2008.
wildlife - eco restore.
section 4 / snailtrail
horn mountain / talladega.
S ~ 0.0 ~ BULL GAP TRAILHEAD
N ~ 18.0 ~ PORTERS GAP TRAILHEAD
DIRECTION ~ NORTHBOUND
ELEVATION ~ L 1241’ ~ H 1912’
WOODS TRAIL ~ 0.0 ~ 18.0
ROAD WALK ~ 0.0
LANDMARK ~ HORN MOUNTAIN TOWER
CS ~ CONVEINENCE STORE ~ 18.0
TT ~ TRAIL TOWN ~ 18.0
PO ~ TALLADEGA ~ 18.0
SC ~ SMALL CAMP ~ 7.5, 7.6
LC ~ LARGE CAMP ~ 8.4, 9.8, 11.8, 14.7, 15.1
TS ~ TRAIL SHELTER ~ PROPOSED 2.2, 14.7
SW ~ SEASONAL WATER ~ 0.4, 11.8, 12.6, 15.1, 15.3, 15.5, 16.1,
RW ~ RELIABLE WATER ~ 0.0, 14.4, 14.5, 14.7
USE ODOMETER OR TRIP METER (NO REALLY!)
PARK FINISH HIKE VEHICLE FIRST.
NORTHERN TERMINUS / FINISH HIKE
18.0 ~ PORTERS GAP TRAILHEAD
Begin from the east side of downtown Talladega, AL on AL 77, at
the Wal Mart.
Go south on AL 77 appx. 1.0 miles to the stop sign. Turn left (you
are still on AL 77).
Go 8.9 miles to the Porter’s Gap Trailhead parking area on the left,
just past the 55-mile marker.
PARK START HIKE VEHICLE.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS / START HIKE
0.0 ~ BULL GAP TRAILHEAD
From the Porter’s Gap Trailhead parking area, turn left on AL 77.
Go 2.2 miles to the caution light at CR 7. Turn right.
Go 2.3 miles to a creek crossing with guardrails.
Turn right just past the crossing (you are still on CR 7).
Go 5.2 miles to the stop sign at AL 148. Turn right.
Go 0.8 miles to the top of the ridge. There are 2 dirt roads on the
right about 50’ apart. Turn right on the second dirt road, Old
Rocky Mountain Road – FS 607.
Go appx. 50 yards to the Trailhead parking area, on the left.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE
BEGIN HORN MOUNTAIN
CONTINUE TALLADEGA HIGHLANDS
CONTINUE HOLLINS WILDLIFE MGT. AREA
!! NO RELIABLE WATER SOURCES FOR 14.4 MILES !!
0.0 ~ BULL GAP TRAILHEAD ~ AL 148 ~ RW ~ 1241'
The north trail begins by going left from the parking area for
about 20 yards and then goes into the woods on the right. From
there you will be passing through a Long Leaf Pine Restoration
area. The first 1.1 miles of the trail are actually 3 long switchbacks
that climb to the top of the ridge. Watch for the sharp right turn at
mile 0.1 and the sharp left turn at mile 0.6.
HWMA ~ You are inside the 29,400-acre Hollins Wildlife
Management Area and will be until mile 7.0.
RW ~ Go east on AL 148 about 1 mile down the hill to the Hatchet
Creek Bridge. The next reliable water source is at mile 14.4.
WILDFLOWERS ~ Fleabane ~ White ~ May
Huckleberry ~ White ~ April ~ Fruit ~ May
Woodland Sunflower ~ Yellow ~ May
Yellow Star Grass ~ Yellow ~ April
HISTORY 2005 ~ This 18-mile southern extension of the Pinhoti
Trail, traveling north from AL 148 at Bull Gap to the old Pinhoti
southern terminus at Porter's Gap was built by the USFS, Trails
Unlimited (USFS), Horn Mountain Trail Club, Appalachian Trail
Club of Alabama and the Alabama Trails Association in 2005.
HISTORY 2009 ~ Money has been appropriated for a trailhead
parking area. Look for construction to begin soon.
HISTORY 2009 ~ The trailhead parking area was completed by
the Forest Service in May, 09.
0.4 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 1382'
Even as big as this spring looks, it dries up a day or two after a
1.1 ~ BULL BLUFF ~ 1565'
The trail goes a short distance above the top of this bluff. Be
prepared to see one of the 5 best views on the Pinhoti.
2.2 ~ POWER LINE CROSSING ~ 1744' (PROPOSED SHELTER)
Here is a fair view of Rebecca Mountain, on the left, through the
right of way. You can see one of her skinny signal towers up on a
peak at 1523’.
3.2 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1627'
The trail goes diagonally, to the left, across the road to the east
side of the ridge.
HISTORY ~ FS 600 (-1) was part of a Civilian Conservation Corps
road project called the Skyway Motorway. In the 1930's it traveled
from Sylacauga, AL to Borden Springs, AL.
3.7 ~ FS 600 CROSSING
The trail goes straight across the road back to the west side of the
6.5 ~ FARKLEBERRY ROCK
At the top of the switchbacks there is a head high rock overhang
that's surrounded by several ancient Farkleberry bushes.
Farkleberry wine is made from the berries.
6.6 ~ HIGH TENSION POWER LINE CROSSING ~ 1474’
The trail crosses under these lines along the crest of this rocky
ridge, so there are large east and west views.
7.0 ~ NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF HOLLINS WILDLIFE
You are now leaving the 30,640(?) acre managed hunting area.
7.5 ~ HEATH CLIFFS ~ SC ~ 1700'
HISTORY 2001 ~ Friends have placed a large wooden cross out
by the rocks as a memorial to Mr. Heath. Some of the local guys
that I work with told me that Mr. Heath fell to his death here.
DOB ~ Dec. 21st 1956
Ashes to Ashes
Randall D. Heath
DOD ~ Feb. 5th 2001
Please take a minute to think about those you will leave behind
to carry on without you before doing anything that may put
your life on the line.
7.6 ~ SHERMAN CLIFFS ~ SC ~ 1700’
There is a great southern view of the Rebecca Mountain Ridge
from here as she makes her way west toward Sylacauga. There
are also views west and northwest toward Birmingham and
8.3 ~ ROADBED
The trail turns left on this big, grassy old road and goes up the hill
for about 800 yards.
8.4 ~ ROADBED TURN OFF ~ LC
The trail turns off the roadbed to the right, just before it makes a
sharp left turn.
LC ~ The roadbed continues uphill to the left for another 0.1 miles
to the top of the mountain. There is a large, level food plot for
Deer on top and an old fire ring on the far side at the tree line.
8.7 ~ ROCK BLUFF
There is a fair western view here through the tree tops.
9.2 ~ ROCK HOUSE ~ SW
Look for a 10' high overhanging rock on the right that hangs out
over the trail. It's a good place to take a break but a bad place to
camp if it's raining because the floor is so low.
SW ~ Climb up on top of the rock and then go up the hill 20
yards to FS 600. Turn right on FS 600 and go to the end of the
straightaway. Just before the road starts curving uphill to the left
there is an old fire road on the left. The fire road is hard to spot
because there are a few old logs blocking it. Climb down the
bank and go about 50 yards to the spring crossing. If you are very
desperate in dry weather, you will need to follow the spring bed
much farther downhill to find water.
9.3 ~ SOUTH HORN GAP ~ 1620’
The trail goes straight through the gap. Look for a view of the
tower through the trees.
9.8 ~ HORN MOUNTAIN FIRE TOWER (standing) ~ 1912’
When the Pinhoti comes to the power line right of way for the
tower, turn left and go downhill 100', then the trail goes back in
the woods on the right.
TOWER ACCESS TRAIL ~ Once you leave the power line right
of way and re-enter the woods, go 50 yards to the Tower Access
Trail, on the right. The access trail is marked with white blazes
and goes uphill 0.1 miles to the tower.
SITE HISTORY ~ In the late 1930's, when the fire tower site was
developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this was a
beautiful park area. There are 2 rock observation decks and 5
picnic tables still intact. Two of the tables are under a covered
shelter that is in pretty bad shape but still standing. There is also
a large grove of Oriental bamboo and a stand of old spruce or
White Pine trees just below the Tower.
TOWER HISTORY ~ The tower was placed on the National
Historic Lookout Register on Jan 17, 2009. The Horn Mountain
Fire Lookout Tower was one of several 'ridge top' fire towers
erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps along the highest
points of the mountain range throughout the extent of the
Talladega National Forest as a key component of the fire
protection measures implemented to safeguard both the national
forest and the 75-mile long Skyway Motorway, which began at
Sylacauga and ended at Borden Springs.
HISTORY 2006 ~ The picnic shelter has undergone a full, original
CCC spec. restoration by several members the USFS, Chris Koehn
from the CCC Association, Preacher Collett from the Forest
Service Seniors Volunteer Program, the Appalachian Trail Club of
Alabama, the Alabama Trails Association and the Horn Mountain
Trail Club. Yes, you are allowed to camp most anywhere in the
National Forest. No, the FS is not encouraging this area to be used
as a designated campsite. This is a very important CCC historic
site and the USFS and the CCCA would like to restore and
preserve it in its original, pristine state. If you do choose to stay
here, I'm sure that some serious stealth camping would be greatly
HISTORY 2019 ~ UPDATE provided by David Brooks.
The steps have now been replaced as well as the tower painted.
A new communications tower has been constructed behind
WILDFLOWER ~ Leather Vine ~ Purple / May
SUMMIT ~ Horn Mountain ~ 1912'
#18 on the list of 100 highest named summits in Alabama.
9.9 ~ NORTH HORN GAP ~ 1650'
The trail goes straight through the gap.
FLOWERING TREE ~ Redbud ~ Pink ~ January
10.0 ~ 10 MILE MARKER ~ 1680'
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Service Berry ~ White ~ April
TREE ~ American Holly
10.5 ~ SWITCHBACKS / DOWN
PLANT ~ Ground Pine
11.1 ~ WORMY'S PULPIT (LOCAL NAME ~ SUNSET ROCK) ~
The trail continues straight across the backside of the bluff.
HISTORY 2005 ~ I don't know much about Wormy ~ Jerry
Sanderson, Lands and Wildlife Officer, TNF, Talladega office)
other than the fact that he is a FS "Old Timer" who signed on
when he was 18 and has managed to hang on for 37 years. He
seemed content (and patient!) one day as we stood before a map
and I plied him with question after question. Thanks. Anyone
know a good Wormy story? :) There is an unobstructed 50-mile
view from the Pulpit. The Horn Mountain Fire Tower and
Rebecca Mountain can be seen on the left and Sleeping Giant
Mountain, the long ridge that runs behind Talladega, is out in
front. The night time light show includes (from left to right)
Sylacauga, Birmingham, Childersburg, Pell City and Talladega.
11.3 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ MICROWAVE TOWER ~ 1585'
There’s a great view of the Tower here. It's big, no it's huge, it's,
it's, well, it's big and huge! The trail goes straight across the road
and follows the tower driveway for 50' and then goes back in the
woods on the right. The trail circles around the east side of this
mountain top where the Microwave Tower sits. This part of the
mostly ignored east side of the Horn Mountain ridge is home to
the headwaters of the West Fork of the regionally popular
Hatchet Creek. From AL 77 south to about 5 miles below the
Microwave tower, where the west fork joins the East Fork, there
are 11 springs that come down off this ridge and start flowing
south in an area known as Horn Valley.
11.8 ~ KENNY'S CAMP ~ LC, SW ~ 1566'
LC ~ There is a side trail here on the right leading to a wide gap
with plenty of level spots out toward the end of this short finger
SW ~ There are small seasonal springs before and after the side
trail. The best spring is about 50 yards before the side trail on the
right. Bushwhack about 100 yards downhill in a small patch of
Mountain Laurel. If this spring is dry, then follow the spring bed
down another 200 yards to a good creek. Be prepared for a really
tough uphill climb back to the campsite.
WILDFLOWER ~ Huckleberry ~ White ~ April ~ Fruit ~ May
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
12.0 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ THE PINNACLE ~1583'
The trail goes straight across FS 600 onto another dirt road.
Follow this road 0.1 miles to the dead end and then the Pinhoti
continues straight into the woods. The trail is now back on the
west side of the ridge.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Oak Leaf Hydrangia ~ White ~ May
12.1 ~ NORTH RIDGE SWITCHBACKS ~ DOWN ~ 1585'
Here you will begin your descent off the Horn Mountain ridge
with a series of 24 switchbacks.
12.5 ~ UPPER ROCK SLIDE
12.6 ~ LOWER ROCK SLIDE ~ SW
Sometimes there is water flowing out of the rocks and across the
13.2 ~ WIND RIDGE
14.0 ~ WIND RIDGE ROAD ~ 14 MILE MARKER ~ 980’
The trail turns right onto the road.
14.2 ~ SCOTT LAKE VIEW ~ 760'
Here the trail veers to the right, off Wind Ridge Road, and then
skirts around the south side of the lake about 50' above the water.
14.3 ~ WIND RIDGE ROAD
The trail turns right on the road again. The trail ~ road turns right
at the bottom of the hill when it reaches the creek and then
follows the creek down to the crossing.
14.4 ~ CREEK CROSSING ~ RW ~ 720’
The trail ~ road crosses the creek and continues beside it down to
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is about 20' wide and 6" deep.
There is room for it to spread out after a heavy rain so it will
probably not be over knee high. Use caution.
14.5 ~ SCOTT’S CASCADE ~ DRY CREEK ~ RW ~ 710’
LOWEST ELEVATION ON THE ALABAMA PORTION OF
THE PINHOTI TRAIL
The two creeks merge here at the cascade and the topo maps call
it Dry Creek. When you reach the cascade, the trail turns right
and crosses Dry Creek and then follows FS 621A up the hill.
NEXT RW ~ 7.0 miles
The cascade is a large, broad (as opposed to tall) natural rock
formation which serves as the spillway for Scott Lake. Be sure to
check out the root base of the old Sycamore tree in the middle of
the creek at the cascade. Ever seen anything like that before?
FORDING HAZARD ~ Dry Creek is about 20' wide and 1' deep
and can be easily forded most times of the year, but after a heavy
rain it will be over knee high and running very fast. The creek is
moving slower downstream, but it's also MUCH deeper. I would
not advise going downstream. If the water is too high and fast
and you really don’t feel comfortable crossing at the dam (ME!),
try going back to mile 14.2 ~ SCOTT LAKE VIEW, and
bushwhack around the right side of the lake. The small feeder
creek at the back of the lake will be easier to cross. Meanwhile,
the Pinhoti is circling around the other side of the lake and is now
coming toward you. Once you cross the feeder creek start looking
for the trail as you bushwhack straight up the hill.
14.7 ~ SCOTT LAKE ~ SC, LC, RW ~ 730'
After the trail crosses Dry Creek, you will follow FS 621-A up the
hill 0.1 miles to the first driveway on the right. Turn here and go
5 yards. The trail goes back in the woods on the left and
continues around the lake.
SC ~ On the way up 621-A to the first driveway, there is a nice
campsite on the left with a great view, through the notch between
the 2 hills that form the sides of the lake, of the Horn Mountain
Ridge just north of the Microwave Tower. A little farther up the
road is a large patch of mature Bamboo on the right with several
huge old Long Leaf Pines inside of the thicket.
LC ~ After you turn right at the first driveway, you can continue
past the trail turnoff to the small peninsula on the lake where you
will find some grassy flat spots.
NEXT RW ~ 6.9 miles
WILDFLOWER ~ Butterfly Weed ~ Orange ~ May
HISTORY ~ Years ago, this area was private property and there
were 4 cabins on this side of the lake that were used by hunters.
You can still see some of the old rock retaining walls and a few
sets of steps. The original road to this place actually came up
from the south and crossed Dry Creek down by the cascade.
15.1 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ LC, SW ~ 866'
15.3 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ ROAD BED ~ SW
Go straight onto the road after crossing the spring.
15.5 ~ ROAD BED TURN OFF ~ SW
The trail turns right off of the road.
16.1 ~ SPRING CROSSINGS ~ SW
There are 13 spring crossings between here and Porter's Gap.
16.5 ~ ROAD BED
The trail goes right on the road 5 yards and then back in the
woods on the left.
17.2 ~ FOUR YELLOW FS CULVERTS ~ SW
HISTORY 2005 ~ There are 4 spring crossings between here and
Porter's Gap with yellow plastic culverts across each of them that
were provided by the FS and put in place by Trails Unlimited.
17.3 ~ THE PINNACLE VIEW ON THE RIGHT
The Pinnacle is the last peak on the north end of the Horn
Mountain Ridge at Porter's Gap.
SUMMIT ~ The Pinnacle ~ 1660' ~ #60 on the list of 100 highest
named summits in Alabama.
18.0 ~ PORTERS GAP TRAILHEAD ~ AL 77 ~ CS, TT, HS ~ 956'
The trailhead parking area is straight across AL 77.
ROADKILL WARNING ~ You'll probably want to scurry
right on across this highway!!
END HORN MOUNTAIN
NORTHERN TERMINUS / FINISH HIKE