pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
a 337.1 mile southern region appalachian trail connector
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current weather @ pinhoti trail mid-point ~ s14 - 7.3 ~ cave spring trailhead
section 6 / snailtrail
cheaha wilderness / cheaha state park.
S ~ 0.0 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD
N ~ 11.3 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
S ~ 73.8 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD
N ~ 85.0 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
ELEVATION ~ L 1360’ ~ H 2323’
WOODS TRAIL ~ 0.0 ~ 11.3
ROAD WALK ~ 0.0
LANDMARK ~ CHEAHA WILDERNESS
LOCAL TOWN ~ OXFORD
CS ~ CONVEINENCE STORE
TT ~ TRAIL TOWN
PO ~ POST OFFICE
SC ~ SMALL CAMP ~ 4.4, 9.1, 9.2
LC ~ LARGE CAMP ~ 4.8, 5.4, 5.8, 6.0, 6.1, 8.6, 8.7, 9.1, 9.6, 10.2,
TS ~ TRAIL SHELTER ~ PROPOSED 10.2
SW ~ SEASONAL WATER ~ 1.2, 3.2, 5.5, 5.9, 10.2
RW ~ RELIABLE WATER
USE ODOMETER OR TRIP METER
NORTHERN TERMINUS / FINISH HIKE
PARK FINISH HIKE VEHICLE FIRST
11.3 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
Exit I-20 at US 431, east of Oxford, AL.
Go south 3.4 miles to the second right turn past the overhead
bridge at the top of the ridge. Turn right (there is a brown
Cheaha State Park sign).
Go 0.4 miles to the stop sign at AL 281. Turn left.
Go 11.5 miles to the Cheaha Trailhead parking area,
on the left.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS / START HIKE
PARK START HIKE VEHICLE
0.0 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD
From the Cheaha Trailhead turn left on AL 281.
Go 6.4 miles to the end of the pavement.
This is the Adams Gap Trailhead parking area.
cheaha wilderness trail system.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE
CONTINUE SOUTH TALLADEGA HIGHLANDS
CONTINUE TALLADEGA MOUNTAIN
BEGIN CHEAHA WILDERNESS
0.0 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD ~ AL 281 ~ 1444'
From the trailhead parking area, the north trail goes straight
across AL 281. Go downhill on the small paved road for about 10
yards, the trail then turns left and goes back in the woods and
starts climbing into the Cheaha Wilderness.
HISTORY ~ The Pinhoti Trail was initially begun in the early
1970's by the US Forest Service. The trail was the brainchild of
Forest Service employees Jim Bylsma and Bobby Bledsoe.
Construction of the second section of the Pinhoti Trail began from
Cheaha State Park south to Adams Gap.
0.1 ~ BEGIN CHEAHA WILDERNESS ~ 1500'
2019 ~ RESTRICTIONS ON WILDERNESS
AREA TRAIL BLAZING HAS BEEN REVERSED
For many hikers, the Cheaha Wilderness is the # 1 destination on
the Alabama section of the Pinhoti because of its stunning views
and numerous side trails, which offer a lot of different loop trail
possibilities. There are 26 fire rings on the Pinhoti in the next
11.4 miles (2001).
HISTORY ~ The dedication for the 7490 acre wilderness was in
1983 and this is the southwestern boundary.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Buckeye ~ Red ~ April
1.2 ~ 1.6 ~ 6 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ SW ~ 1380'
3.1 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 1380'
3.2 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 1360'
3.5 ~ SIGN BOARD, GO RIGHT ~ 1484'
The trail turns right and goes 0.2 miles on the road bed.
3.7 ~ SIGN BOARD, GO LEFT ~ 1591'
The trail goes back in the woods on the left.
HISTORY ~ This sign board is off trail 10' up on the left and is
easy to miss. The road bed is blocked with rocks and logs here at
the turn. If you climb over all this stuff the road continues for
another 0.2 miles up to the gap. There was a hot fire up here
several years ago that killed all the trees and now the gap is a big
brush pile. There are no clear places to camp and no views. (2001)
3.8 ~ STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN ~ 1575'
Here is a huge rock garden and there are a lot of tricky little uphill
rocky switchbacks for the next 0.5 miles. There are also good dark
blue blazes here, which are not allowed in the Wilderness:) Keep a
close watch on them! If you are familiar with the standard blaze
system, you know that an off ~ set double blaze means there is a
turn coming up. The blaze on TOP is off ~ set, either to the right
or left, signifying which way to turn. As of early 2003 all the top
blazes in this section are opposite of what they should be, but
UPDATE ~ As of 2006, all of the blazes in the wilderness have
been redone in the standard Pinhoti light blue color and all the
off ~ set blazes here are now correct.
UPDATE ~ As per national guidelines, all of the blazes in the
Wilderness have been removed.
4.3 ~ PEARLY GATES ~ 2050'
You will have to see it to believe it. Yikes! This is an appropriate
introduction to what lies ahead on the way up to the Cheaha
Trailhead; difficult but worth every drop of sweat.
4.4 ~ HEAVEN ~ ROCKY TOP 4 ~ SC ~ 2135'
There is a hidden rocky overlook on the left as you scramble your
way around the north side of the peak. The view from here of the
ridgeline going north and ending at Mt. Cheaha is probably the
most recognizable Pinhoti photo.
SC ~ Look around for a couple of small, rocky flat spots.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
TRAIL DESCRIPTION ~ This northern view gives you a good
idea of where you'll be for the next 7.1 miles on the way up to
Mt. Cheaha. The trail follows the ridge north for 4.1 miles to the
0.6-mile McDill Overlook Trail, which is a must-see overlook.
After McDill, the Pinhoti continues north for 2.4 miles to
Mt. Cheaha, which is that farthest peak you can see from here.
The faint blue ridge that's back behind Cheaha is our Sister Ridge,
the Choccolocco Mountains. You can check out Section 8, mile
104.3, for more details. You will have off and on views of this 61-
mile mountain chain as she parallels the Pinhoti all the way up to
Dugger Mountain in Section 11. If you should ever make it up to
Bald Rock on top of Cheaha, there is a closeup view of her as she
makes her way east from Coldwater to Oxford and then the
northeast turn in Golden Springs before heading on up to
4.8 ~ 5.4 ~ 3 CAMPSITES ~ LC ~ 2100'
There are good views from the rocky overlooks at these campsites.
SUMMIT ~ Odum Point ~ 2342' ~ #3 on the list of 100 highest
named summits in Alabama. The summit is up on your right.
5.5 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 2140'
5.7 ~ ROCKY TOP 5 ~ 2160'
5.8 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2120'
There are good views at this campsite.
5.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 2120'
6.0 ~ CANEY HEAD CAMPSITE ~ LC, SW ~ 2100'
The Pinhoti goes straight through this 4 way intersection. The
Odum Scout Trail is to the right and the Chinnabee Silent Trail
is to the left.
LC ~ Caney Head is a busy place with 6 fire rings.
SW ~ The spring is 50' down the CST, on the left.
6.0 ~ CANEY HEAD ~ LC, SW ~ 2100'
Junction of Pinhoti Trail (straight), Odum Scout/High Falls Trails
(right) and Chinnabee Silent Trail (left).
SW ~ Go left on Chinnabee 50' to Scout Spring. If Scout Spring is
dry, continue on the Chinnabee, maybe 100 yards downhill, to a
better flow, on the right. You can hear it running behind some
Mountain Laurel bushes.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White / May
HISTORY ~ This is the former site of the Caney Head Shelter.
Wilderness guidelines do not allow any man-made structures
within the Wilderness boundaries, so sometime around 1983 the
shelter was flown by National Guard helicopter 3.2 miles west on
the Chinnabee Silent Trail to Cheaha Falls and has been renamed
the Cheaha Falls Shelter. This shelter is in great shape but it is a
little homesick. It does have a good view through the pines of its
old home up here though and the falls make good company for it
too. Little Caney Head is also home to the intersecting point of 2
major side trails. This is the eastern terminus of the Chinnabee
Silent Trail, which goes to the left 5.7 miles to Lake Chinnabee.
This trail was completed in 1976 by Boy Scout Troop #29 from the
Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. I had the pleasure of
meeting the original Troop Leader, Moran Colburn, on the trail
years later. He organized the construction of this trail back in the
70's. This gentleman and some of his friends still come out every
year to do trail maintenance. This is also the northern terminus of
the Odum Scout Trail which goes to the right 4.9 miles to the
High Falls Trailhead. This trail was built by Boy Scout Troop #?
and was completed in 1961.
SUMMIT ~ Little Caney Head ~ 2310' ~ #5 on the list of 100
highest named summits in Alabama. Once you pass the
intersection, the summit is up on your right.
6.1 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2100'
There are good views from this campsite.
7.6 ~ CCT CONNECTOR ~ 2143'
The Pinhoti goes straight through the intersection of the Cave
Creek Trail Connector.
8.6 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2040'
This campsite and the next one at mile 8.7 have nothing even
close to a flat spot. I would be nice if this recent natural area
could be allowed regenerate itself. :)
8.7 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2060'
9.1 ~ McDILL OVERLOOK TRAIL ~ SC, LC ~ 2073'
The Pinhoti goes straight through this intersection. You can go left
0.25 miles at the sign board to McDill.
SC ~ At the McDOT sign board, you can go right 50' up the hill to
some small campsites.
LC ~ Go left on the McDOT 0.25 miles to several large campsites
at the overlook.
OVERLOOK DESCRIPTION ~ There is a great overlook of the
western 1/3 of the Wilderness here and views of the Appalachian
Chain as it makes a perfect 20-mile sweep to the southwest.
There are packs of Coyotes living in the Wilderness and you can
hear them yipping and howling most any night in season. Look
for gray, fuzzy poop on the trail; they like to eat Possums. 8~(
SUMMIT ~ McDill Point ~ 2188' ~ #8 on the list of 100 highest
named summits in Alabama. Continue past the overlook trail
about 0.2 miles, the summit is up on your right.
9.2 ~ WHO ROCK ~ SC ~ 1960'
The trail bears to the right here through the pines.
HISTORY ~ This campsite was named by Dr. Lee Van Horn,
author of the Hiking Alabama website and forum. There is a
large western view from this small point. The night time lights
are from Talladega on the left and Munford on the right.
9.6 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2060'
NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF CHEAHA WILDERNESS
10.0 ~ END CHEAHA WILDERNESS ~ 2306'
You have just come up the switchbacks and reached the top of the
Hernandez Peak ridge. The trail turns left here and the
Wilderness Dedication Marker is on the left at ground level.
HISTORY ~ In 1983, 7490 acres south of Cheaha State Park was
designated as the Cheaha Wilderness. The dedication ceremony
was held at Cheaha State Park here on the south end of
Hernandez Peak in mid-August with the Hon. Bill Nichols
presiding. In 1988 ???? acres were added to the wilderness.
10.2 ~ HERNANDEZ PEAK ~ LC, SW ~ 2323'
There are several campsites here.
PROPOSED AHTS SHELTER
HIGHEST ELEVATION ON THE ALABAMA PORTION OF
THE PINHOTI TRAIL
CAUTION ~ The trail makes a tricky left turn up ahead so here's
the deal; once you make it to the Wilderness Dedication Marker
on top of this ridge, it's almost as flat as a pancake for about ¼
mile, then the ridge ends and you start going downhill. After
about 50', you come to a flat grassy spot on the left surrounded by
The trail turns sharp left here and goes down through a steep
rocky chute. Once you come down off the ridge through the chute,
the trail crosses a spring (bog) and gets on an old jeep road. The
Hon. Bill Nichols used this road to ride out to the Cheaha
Wilderness Dedication Ceremony. (Hey, he was an old guy-!!)
You only go 50 yards on the jeep road and then the trail veers off
the road, to the left.
SW ~ Come down off the ridge through the chute and go 50 yards
to the spring (bog).
HISTORY 2008 ~ A 10,000-pound limestone and granite boulder
with a dedication plaque was placed on the Pinhoti at Cheaha
State Park on the north end of Hernandez Peak commemorating
the connection of the Pinhoti Trail to the Appalachian Trail.
SUMMIT ~ Hernandez Peak ~ 2344' ~ #2 on the list of 100 highest
named summits in Alabama.
10.7 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2140'
10.8 ~ ROBO COP CAMPSITE ~ LC ~ 2140'
11.2 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD CONNECTOR TRAIL
To reach the trailhead parking area, you will turn right at this
intersection and go 0.1 miles. At the bottom of the switchbacks,
there is a well-worn trail to the right. Continue straight past this
trail 50 yards to the parking area.
11.3 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD ~ 2045'
NORTHERN TERMINUS / FINISH HIKE
al snail trail
super classy adventures
2018 alabama ~ georgia
northbound pinhoti trail
dugger mtn wilderness.
trailheads / sections.
al dayhike guides.
loop hike cave~odum~pin.
loop hike jones~pin.
loop hike pin~chin~sky.
trail flowers - spring
trail flowers - fall
trail shuttles - hostels.
trail towns - mail drops: ala.
trail water sources.
this n that.
an appalachian trail.
as the crow flies.
black bear safety.
building section 4.
bull - bulls gap.
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.