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hiking the pinhoti.
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shoal creek church.
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the ten bulls.
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ultralight gearlist: 2021.
ultralight gearlist: 2008.
wildlife - eco restore.
pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
a 337.1 mile southern region appalachian trail connector
In case of emergencies, dial 911. This is the only public service that will know your exact location
Do phone reset first ~ go to settings / go to privacy / turn on location services
section 7 / snailtrail
horseblock mountain / oxford.
S ~ 0.0 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
N ~ 17.6 ~ US 431 TRAILHEAD
S ~ 85.0 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
N ~ 102.1 ~ US 431 TRAILHEAD
ELEVATION ~ L 760’ ~ H 2045’
WOODS TRAIL ~ 0.0 ~ 17.6
ROAD WALK ~ 0.0
LANDMARK ~ CHEAHA STATE PARK
LOCAL TOWN ~ OXFORD
CS ~ CONVEINENCE STORE ~ 0.2, 12.4, 17.6
TT ~ TRAIL TOWN ~ 12.4
PO ~ CHEAHA STATE PARK ACCEPTS MAIL DROPS
SC ~ SMALL CAMP ~ 4.8, 14.8
LC ~ LARGE CAMP ~ 2.1, 3.8, 5.2, 8.2, 9.4, 11.7, 12.4, 14.9, 15.4
TS ~ TRAIL SHELTER ~ 2.1, PROPOSED 13.2
SW ~ SEASONAL WATER ~ 0.5, 0.9, 1.7, 1.9, 2.0, 4.0, 4.2, 5.2, 8.7,
12.6, 14.6, 14.7, 14.8, 16.8
RW ~ RELIABLE WATER ~ 0.2, 6.2, 8.2, 8.7, 9.4, 11.7, 12.4, 13.2,
13.3, 14.9, 15.2, 15.4, 16.6, 17.6
USE ODOMETER OR TRIP METER
NORTHERN TERMINUS / FINISH HIKE
PARK FINISH HIKE VEHICLE FIRST
17.6 ~ US 431 TRAILHEAD
This trailhead is open from Oct 1 thru April 1.
Exit I-20 at US 431, east of Oxford, AL.
Go south 2.8 miles to a dirt road, FS 585, on the right, just past a
Highway Dept. “Adopt a Mile” sign (if you pass a green house,
you’ve gone too far).
Go up the dirt road 0.1 miles to the US 431 Trailhead parking area,
on the left.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS / START HIKE
PARK START HIKE VEHICLE
0.0 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
From the US 431 Trailhead parking area, go back down the dirt
road to US 431. Turn right.
Go the second right turn past the overhead bridge at the top of the
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 Cheaha Trailhead parking area, on left.
CHEAHA STATE PARK
0.0 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD
CHEAHA STATE PARK ~ CS, LC, MOTEL, POOL,
CABINS, LODGE, RESTAURANT
CHEAHA STATE PARK
19644 AL 281 DELTA, AL 36258
256-488-5115 / 5111
12.4 ~ CR 24 CROSSING
CS ~ Go right on CR 24 for 1.4 miles to Able Mall. Closed on Sun.
TT ~ Go left on CR 24 for 2.2 miles to the 4 way stop, turn left.
Go 1.6 miles to the eastern bypass red-light. Go straight across for
another 2.4 miles.
You will come to an AL Power relay station on the right.
Turn left across the road across from that.
This is the back entrance to Walmart, there is no sign.
Go 0.1 miles to Walmart.
Along the edges of the parking lot are an ABC Store,
Key West Inn, Subway, Chick Filet, McDonalds etc, Dollar Tree.
PO ~ 90 Plaza Ln, Oxford, AL 36203 - 8:30am - 5:00pm.
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE
0.0 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD ~ 2045'
From the trailhead parking area, the Pinhoti approach trail begins
at the Arch. Go 50 yards to a trail intersection. The Pinhoti
approach trail goes to the right, up the hill for 0.1 miles to the
Pinhoti. The northbound trail turns to the right.
HISTORY ~ There is a new addition to the trailhead parking area.
The Approach Trail to the Pinhoti Trail, Cave Creek Trail and the
Cheaha Wilderness begins at the Arch, which is a big rock and
wrought iron structure that has 36 hand fired clay tiles with actual
impressions of some of the local native flora, 4 information
plaques, some wrought iron Pine cones, Pine branches, a lizard
compass, 2 rock benches and a VERY unusual sidewalk. It is all
really cool. Some local artists and several groups of local school
kids put a lot of time and energy into this first-class work of art.
It’s a tremendous addition to our trail, so stop by and take a look.
BEGIN CHEAHA STATE PARK
0.2 ~ CHEAHA-HIGHEST POINT SPUR TRAIL ~ CS, LC, RW,
HS ~ 2000'
Just before the AL 281 Crossing there is a new spur trail on the
left (6-07-19) that takes you up the hill to Cheaha State Park.
CS, LC, RW, HS ~ Go left to the 2719-acre Cheaha State Park.
This is a big park with a convenience store, restaurant, motel,
cabins, lodge, pool, several campgrounds, HOT SHOWERS, side
trails, rocky overlooks and the Bunker Tower (2407').
The Park office and Country Store (256-488-5111) is the
first building on the left. Stop by here to register for Park services
and to get general info about where things are in the Park.
NEXT RW ~ 6.0 miles
HIKERS ~ Go past the store to the toll booth. Take the left fork
and go to the first road to the right. The 1930's CCC Fire Tower
is just up the hill.
VEHICLES ~ Go past the store to the toll booth, Take the right fork
and go to the first road to the left. The Tower is just up the hill.
HISTORY ~ (Early 2000's) Be sure to say hi to Dave, Connie (don't
get Connie started on yard sales!), Eva Lynn and Justin while
you're at the Park office. They have been real Trail Angels to the
hiking community over the years.
UPDATE ~ Well! Dave, Connie and Eva Lynn have since retired
and Justin has moved up to bigger and better things at the park.
Thanks for everything you guys!
SUMMIT ~ Cheaha Mountain ~ 2407' ~ #1 on the list of 100
highest named summits in Alabama. The peak will be on your left
as the Pinhoti side hills around it.
0.2 ~ AL 281 CROSSING ~ 2000’
The trail goes straight across AL 281 and then follows the eastern
slope for a while and has a lot of good eastern views.
0.5 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 2000'
0.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 2000'
1.0 ~ HOLLY KNOB ~ 1960'
1.7 ~ CAMPSITE ~ SC ~ 1800'
The trail makes a sharp left turn here at this neat campsite.
1.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 1700'
2.0 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 1700'
This is the spring for the Blue Mountain Shelter. If this crossing is
dry, then follow the spring downhill, just a little way (no, really!),
and look for a small pool.
2.1 ~ BLUE MOUNTAIN SHELTER TRAIL ~ LC, TS, SW ~ 1825’
The Pinhoti goes straight through this intersection. At the shelter
sign board, you can turn right and go 0.1 miles to this shelter,
which was built in 1985.
LC ~ There is a large campsite on the left at the sign board.
TS ~ Go right 0.1 miles to the shelter and more campsites.
SW ~ The water source is a spring crossing 0.1 miles south on the
NEXT RW ~ 4.1 miles.
HISTORY ~ This is a nice shelter with a loft and peg construction
and was built in 1985 by a Park hired contractor. Yes, shelters are
one of the tools used by the Forest Service to funnel hikers into
one area to reduce the excessive number of campsites impacts in
the National Forest, but hikers know that shelters are also where
hikers hang out and they are great places to make new friends and
swap tall tales. You can always stop by for dinner and then stealth
camp somewhere else if you don't like listening to people snore all
night! The idea is to hopefully limit the ecological impact to a few
small places rather than the 66 fire rings we have spread out over
the whole trail now.
2.6 ~ BALD ROCK TRAIL ~ 1960'
The Pinhoti goes straight through at the sign board and begins the
3-mile, 685-foot descent off Blue Mountain to the CCC Road. The
Bald Rock Trail marks the northern boundary of Cheaha State
Park. You can go left, uphill, 0.5 miles to the Boardwalk (2326') on
the Bald Rock Overlook. There is a very good northern view of the
southern terminus of the Choccolocco Mountains, of our Sister Ridge,
at Coldwater Mountain (see trail mile 7.6 in Section 8 for details).
The large night time light show is brought to you by the nice folks
in Oxford. The sunset is brought to you by nature.
CHEAHA STATE PARK ~ Turn left on the Bald Rock Trail and
go 0.5 miles to Bald Rock. From Bald Rock, go left (duh!) on the
Boardwalk to the parking area. Then walk through the parking
area and down the hill to the intersection at the Bunker Loop
Road. Turn right. Go 0.5 miles to the Cheaha Country Store.
SUMMIT ~ Bald Rock ~ 2326' ~ #4 on the list of 100 highest named
summits in Alabama. The summit is 0.5 miles to the left, up the
Bald Rock Trail.
END CHEAHA STATE PARK
END OF TALLADEGA MOUNTAIN
BEGIN BLUE MOUNTAIN
3.8 ~ M & M GAP ~ LC ~ 1500'
This is a nice place for a small break on a cold winter day as you
take in the dramatic landscape surrounding you.
SUMMIT ~ Blue Mountain ~ 1949' ~ #15 on the list of 100 highest
named summits in Alabama. You are sitting in a gap along the
ridge. The peak is behind you about a quarter mile, on the left.
4.0 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 1420'
4.2 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW ~ 1400'
4.8 ~ CAMPSITE ~ SC ~ 1420'
5.2 ~ CCC ROAD ~ CHEAHA ROAD ~ LC, SW ~ 1275'
The trail goes straight across the road.
HISTORY ~ Both ends of the CCC Road have been closed to preserve
the Civilian Conservation Corps rock work through here. You can
go left 0.3 miles to the CCC Road vehicle access point.
This access road begins from McIntosh Road, just east of Mitchell / Lane Road and goes south to a FS gate. Exit your vehicle and begin walking.
It has been years since I went to the right, but it seems like it is about 3.5 miles
to AL 281 - along the way there are 2 large rock retaining walls, a
rock bridge over Hillabee Creek and numerous drains under the
road. All of the CCC rocks were cut on site by hand. Years ago
this road was the main north entrance road up to Cheaha State
Park when it first opened in 1939.
END BLUE MOUNTAIN
END TALLADEGA RANGER DISTRICT
END SOUTH TALLADEGA HIGHLANDS
BEGIN TALLADEGA LOWLANDS
BEGIN HORSEBLOCK MOUNTAIN
BEGIN SHOAL CREEK RANGER DISTRICT
6.2 ~ ZULU CANYON ~ 1100' ~ RW
There are 3 spring crossings in the next 0.9 miles. Zulu is Z in the
military alphabet, which is a good description of this twisting
NEXT RW ~ 2.0 miles.
WILDFLOWER ~ Azalea ~ White ~ April
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
7.5 ~ DEAD TRUCK ~ 900' ~ wannabee Trail Shelter : )
HISTORY ~ 1~10~12 ~ THIS LANDMARK HAS BEEN
A 1950 something Chevy Panel Truck. I had a 1963 that I lived in
for a while and it was very spacious. The body lines were a lot
sharper than these older models. Maybe someone just took it out
for a spin and is coming back?
8.1 ~ POWER LINE CROSSING
The trail goes straight across the clear-cut.
ALTERNATIVE FLOODED CREEK CROSSING ~ You can see
Hillabee Creek down the hill to your left. If the 8.2 ~ Hillabee
Creek Crossing ahead is flooded out, then this looks like a good
alternative crossing, though I’ve never tried to cross here or there
in flood conditions. There is some room here for floodwater to
spread out a little, making it shallower. Once you cross over,
bushwhack upstream 0.1 miles to the trail.
8.2 ~ HILLABEE CREEK CROSSING ~ LC, RW ~ 780'
The trail comes straight into the campsite, then turns left and
crosses the creek.
LC ~ This is a great campsite with plenty of level spots.
NEXT RW ~ 1.2 miles.
FORDING HAZARD ~ Hillabee Creek is about 15' wide and 1'
deep and most of the time fording is easy (well, sorta :). There is
not much room for the creek to spread out after a big rain so it
can easily become waist high and fast, so you may need to scout
downstream for a better crossing. Use extreme caution.
HISTORY ~ Look for 3 Greenstone chairs by the fire ring (spring
2003). The Greenstone found here is particular to this area only
and it is thought to have been used in trading. The Creek Indians
~ Hillabee Indians, lived in this area many years ago and
archaeologist have found Native American produced Greenstone
artifacts of this particular grade in this part of the state and several
other places as well.
8.5 ~ SNOWFLAKE CANYON ~ 900’
HISTORY ~ It was snowing here one cold morning in 2003 when
I woke up.
WILDFLOWER ~ Bluet ~ Blue ~ Spring / Trout Lily ~ Yellow ~
8.7 ~ 9.3 ~ 6 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ 2 CREEK CROSSINGS ~
SW, RW~ 860'
9.4 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW ~ 800'
NEXT RW ~ 2.3 miles
10.4 ~ ROAD BED ~ 800'
Go left 0.8 miles on this road.
11.2 ~ ANOTHER ROAD BED ~ 800'
Go right 0.2 miles on this road.
11.4 ~ MINE SHAFT (GOLD!) ~ 820'
Look for a filled in hole on the left edge of the trail.
HISTORY ~ There were a few big gold strikes (sub-par quality) in
Alabama years ago, and this was one of the mines. There were
more mines on the east slope down by Clairmont Gap, around the
Erin and Idaho communities and also just north of Ashland
(Section 5) at trail mile 8.9. You can still apply for mining and
panning permits through the USFS office in Talladega.
11.4 ~ ANOTHER ROAD BED ~ 840'
Go right 0.1 miles.
11.5 ~ END OF THE ROAD ~ 900'
The trail goes right, off the road.
11.7 ~ FRIENDSHIP CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW ~ 820'
NEXT RW ~ 0.7 miles
12.2 ~ FRIENDSHIP GORGE ~ 880'
12.4 ~ CR 24 CROSSING ~ CS, TT, LC, RW ~ 750’
When you get to the road, go left 25 yards and then the trail
goes back in the woods on the right. The trail crosses the
creek at the falls, then makes a sharp right turn.
LC ~ There are some flat spots on the right, past the creek
NEXT RW ~ 0.8 and 0.9 miles
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is about 10' wide and 1' deep.
There is no room for the water to spread out after a heavy rain,
plus this crossing is on top of a 5' waterfall. Scout upstream for a
better crossing. Use extreme caution.
MORGAN LAKE ~ You can go right on CR 24 for 0.1 miles and
turn on the first dirt road to the left, then go 0.1 miles up to the
USFS Morgan Lake access area.
UPDATE 2004 ~ Able Mall has closed and is up for sale.
UPDATE 2005 ~ Able Mall has been remodeled and reopened.
12.6 ~ MORGAN LAKE SWITCHBACK ~ CASCADE ~ RW ~ 750’
The Pinhoti crosses a spring and turns to the right up the first
switchback. Go to the second switchback and turn left.
USFS MORGAN LAKE / CASCADE ~ There is also a trail that turns
right at the second switchback and goes to the Cascade and
Morgan Lake. Go downhill to the creek and go across. Then
follow the creek a short distance upstream to the Cascade. The
Cascade acts as the Dam ~ Spillway for the lake. Climb up the
right side of the Cascade to access the developed area of the lake.
Would I camp here? Hmmm... used to be LOTS of beer trash in
the parking area...
13.2 ~ CREEK CROSSING ~ RW ~ 900'
PROPOSED AHTS SHELTER
13.3 ~ CREEK CROSSING ~ SC, RW ~ 900'
NEXT RW ~ 1.6 miles
13.5 ~ FS 515 ~ 900'
When you get to the road, turn right and go 30 yards. The trail
goes back in the woods on the right (yes, that sounds a little
14.2 ~ FS 515 CROSSING ~ 900’
The trail goes straight across the road.
14.6 ~ MOONSHINE GORGE ~ SW ~ 900'
Make 3 spring crossings in the next 0.2 miles. Look for a couple of
old 55-gallon drums on the left after the first spring crossing.
14.8 ~ SMALL CASCADE ~ CS, SW ~ 800'
The trail follows this spring for about 100 yards before veering off
to the right. After following the spring for about 50 yards, there is
a trail that turns left and doubles back into the cascades. After you
pass by this trail, look for a fire ring on the left down by the
spring, which is next to an underground still complete with an
underground air intake pipe for the fire.
14.9 ~ LITTLE HILLABEE FALLS ~ LC, RW
The trail goes straight up to the cascade and makes a sharp left
turn, then curves to the right and crosses the creek twice. The
cascade tumbles at least 50' and there is usually plenty of water.
Plan to stop for a long break.
LC ~ The falls will be on your right. After the second creek crossing,
go about 20 yards and turn left off the trail. Bushwhack about 50
yards downhill to the creek.
There is a fire ring here and plenty of flat spots.
POISON OAK ~ In the spring, summer and fall, this whole camp
area is completely covered in poison.
RW ~ The campsite is at the intersection of the small cascade and
large cascade creeks.
NEXT RW ~ 0.3 miles
15.2 ~ HILLABEE CREEK BRIDGE ~ RW
HISTORY ~ A BOY SCOUT TROOP paid for and built this great
bridge. Sorry, I don't know the Troop number. Thanks guys!
NEXT RW ~ 0.2 miles
15.4 ~ HORSEBLOCK MOUNTAIN / ABLE FIRE TOWER VIEW ~
Between here and Horseblock Canyon, there are a couple of small
winter views of the old Horseblock Fire Tower way up to the right
on the main ridge.
HISTORY ~ The tower area is a Civilian Conservation Corps
project in the 1930's and at one time there was a (standing :) Picnic
Shelter here that was identical to the restored one on Horn
Mountain in Section 4. I would guess that it's about a 1/2 mile
bushwhack straight up the side of Horseblock Mountain to the
tower, so I just wave at it when I go by :)
LC, RW ~ Just past the tower view, there is a fire ring on the right,
down the hill by the creek (no trail).
NEXT RW ~ 1.2 miles
16.0 ~ HORSEBLOCK CANYON
16.6 ~ HORSEBLOCK FLATS CROSSING ~ RW ~ 760'
NEXT RW ~ 1.0 miles
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is about 10' wide, 1' deep and
has room to spread out after a heavy rain. Use caution.
16.8 ~ CO~OP BRIDGE ~ SW
HISTORY ~ This is another great bridge that was paid for by the
BellSouth Pioneers and built with the Appalachian Trail Club of
17.6 ~ US 431 TRAILHEAD ~ CS, SW, RW ~ 860'
The trail comes out at the trailhead parking area. This is the end
of Section 7. The Pinhoti continues down the downhill dirt road
to US 431.
CS ~ The Cheaha Store is up the 431 hill, to the right, about 0.5
SW ~ After you cross over the highway and start up the trail,
there is a spring on the right.
RW ~ Before you cross over US 431, there is a difficult creek
access on the right.
NORTHERN TERMINUS / FINISH HIKE