​​pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail

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* revised numbering system: s1 = section number and 1.1 = section mileage. example: s1 ~ 1.1 *

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current weather / pinhoti trail mid-point / 181.3 ~ cave spring trailhead.

section 9 / snailtrail.

hiking directions.
DISTANCE ~ 13.6

CUMULATIVE ~ 103.0 ~ 116.6

ELEVATION ~ L 812' ~ H 1222'

WOODS TRAIL ~ MODERATE

LANDMARK ~ SHOAL CREEK RANGER STATION

LOCAL TOWN ~ HEFLIN
SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE

BEGIN CHOCCOLOCCO HIGHLANDS

BEGIN BRYMER MOUNTAIN
0.0 ~ SOUTH FS 500 TRAILHEAD ~ LC, SW ~ 936'
From the trailhead parking area, the north trail goes back in the woods behind the Info Board.
LC, SW ~ The spring crossing is about 50 yards north of the Info Board. Go about 30' past the spring crossing to a small trail on the right that takes you a short distance up to a couple of fire rings. There is a very high number of trains passing here and they will keep you hopping all night. If you have another camp option, you should take it.
NEXT RW ~ 7.8 miles
FLOWERING TREE ~ Umbrella Magnolia ~ White ~ April
FLOWERING VINE ~ Kudzu ~ Purple
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 first portion of the Pinhoti began here in the Shoal Creek ~ Coleman Lake area north of US 78.
HISTORY ~ FS 500 was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930's as part of a road project connecting all of the Fire Towers between Sylacauga, AL and Borden Springs, AL.
0.3 ~ FS 500 CROSSING ~ 1050'
The trail goes straight across the road.
1.4 ~ 1.8 ~ 3 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ SW
2.0 ~ BIRDS IN THE PINES CAMPSITE ~ SC, LC
The Pinhoti goes straight through the camp.
SC ~ The small campsite is on the right, by the trail. There is a trail on the left, at the small campsite, that goes downhill 0.3 miles to an old road that looks like it goes down the mountain.
There are no campsites, water or views down this overgrown trail.
LC ~ The large campsite is 0.1 miles up the old road on the right, just past the small campsite. This is just a flat spot in the middle of the road with a fire ring.
2.2 ~ 2.7 ~ 2 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ SW
2.9 ~ SISTER RIDGE VIEW
This is another good view of our Sister Ridge on the left. What you see here is the backside of Ft. McClellan, between Anniston and Jacksonville.
HISTORY ~ This section of the Choccolocco Mountains has just recently been designated as the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge. Funding has been approved for the purchase of a corridor to connect the Talladega National Forest and the MLNWR. Of course, what I make of all this new property is a really cool side trail off the Pinhoti someday!
3.4 ~ FS 523 CROSSING ~ SW CWMA BOUNDARY ~ 1180'
The trail angles across the road to the left. You have just crossed over the south west boundary into the 46,550 Acre Choccolocco Wildlife Management Area.

END BRYMER MOUNTAIN

BEGIN RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN

ENTER CHOCCOLOCCO WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA
4.1 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
5.5 ~ BRYMER GORGE
The trail travels along the upper side and sometimes you can hear the creek running way down below, on the left.
6.2 ~ HOLLY SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
TREE ~ American Holly
6.6 ~ FS 531 CROSSING ~ 1222'

The trail goes straight across the road.
BANKHEAD FIRE TOWER (off trail) ~ Go right on FS 531 for 0.8 miles to FS 500. Turn left. Go 0.6 miles to the tower, on the left.
7.0 ~ BEECH GORGE
During the winter months, you can see where two forks come together to form the gorge on your left. You are on the upper portion listening to water below.
7.7 ~ LOWER SHOAL CANYON ~ CASCADE ~ RW
This is one of the finer examples of the Pinhoti's subtle beauty. Stop and take a few slow, deep breaths...
NEXT RW ~ 0.1 miles
7.8 ~ LOWER SHOAL SHELTER ~ LC, TS, RW
The trail goes around the back of the shelter, up along the side, then turns left and fords the creek. Once you cross, turn left and go 25 yards to the switchback that doubles back to the right, up the hill.
NEXT RW ~ 1.6 miles
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is about 10' wide and 1' deep. Two creeks join together right above this crossing and can become over knee high after a heavy rain. Use extreme caution.
HISTORY ~ Submitted to me by Debbie Collins, 2009 “I was perusing your (web) site, reading about the Pinhoti Trail. It's been years since we last visited the trail. My interest dates back to 1976 when I worked for the USFS in the Youth Conservation Corps. That year one of the jobs we had was trail maintenance up near Cheaha MT. Another job we had was shelter construction. In 1976 the YCC built Lower Shoal Shelter. The week my team worked that job, the shelter floor and sides had already been built. (Each of the eight weeks of work with YCC was a different job in a different place.) For our week, we hauled in by wheelbarrow the shingles, nails, more lumber, paint ~ stain. The truck parked on a fire road and we hiked in from N to S (I believe) along a narrow trail on the side of a hill ~ mountain. (Low side was on our left as we hiked in.) We carried bundles of shingles on our shoulders or heads (we wore safety helmets). One memorable time: we had the wheelbarrow fully loaded with supplies and the guy pushing it lost balance on that narrow trail and the contents spilled out, tumbling down the hill. It took us a while to retrieve everything and get back to work. After hauling supplies in, that week we stained the wood and I believe the guys laid shingles. As I remember it, it was a hard, yet enjoyable week.
HISTORY ~ This shelter is in great shape with a new roof, steps and a cooking shelf added in 2003. Thanks go to the Appalachian Trail Club of Alabama, Ranger Tim Slone and all the guys at the Shoal Creek Ranger District, TNF.
9.4 ~ SHOAL FLATS ~ RW
All through this area there are many great views of Shoal Creek on the left.
NEXT RW ~ 0.2 miles
9.6 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW
Once you ford the creek that's just past the campsite, the trail turns to the right and goes uphill 30 yards to a switchback on the left.
NEXT RW ~ 0.9 miles
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is about 10' wide, 1' deep and can get over knee high after a heavy rain. Use extreme caution.
9.8 ~ 2 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ SW
10.5 ~ CREEK CROSSING ~ RW
NEXT RW ~ 0.8 miles
FORDING HAZARD ~ This creek is 20' wide, 1' deep and has room to spread out after a heavy rain. Use caution.
10.7 ~ EAGLE BRIDGE ~ SW
HISTORY ~ This nice bridge was done as an Eagle Scout project with some planning and physical support from the Appalachian Trail Club of Alabama and financial support from Wal-Mart. Thanks guys. Great job!
10.9 ~ BEECH GAP
The Beeches are distinctive for their leaves that turn a tan color in the fall and hang on all winter.
11.0 ~ FS 531 CROSSING / DRAIN PIPE BRIDGE ~ SW ~ 812'
The trail goes straight across the road.
WATCH OUT FOR SNAKES!! There have been A LOT of 3 season sightings in this area.
SW ~ The spring crossing is just before you reach FS 531.
HISTORY ~ The President of the ATCA calls this second FS 531 Crossing "Drain Pipe Bridge". I don't know if this is the common name or if she just likes to make up landmark names like I do.
11.1 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
11.3 ~ HIGHROCK LAKE ~ RW ~ 880'
AKA Lake 10. This is an 8 acre finger lake that is about 50 yards wide all the way up the gorge.
NEXT RW ~ 0.2 miles.
11.4 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
TREE ~ There is an Indian Trail Tree on the south side of the crossing (not authentic).
HISTORY ~ I read somewhere that there is a lady writing a book on Indian Trail Trees of the Appalachian Trail. Once upon a time it was common practice for the Native Americans to form trees into an "L" shape to point toward trails, camps, etc. I would imagine that authentic Indian Trail Trees would have to be at least 100 + years old.
11.5 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW
There is a fire ring on the right with a lot of flat spots nearby.
NEXT RW ~ 2.1 miles.
11.6 ~ HIGHROCK LEAP
There is a fair winter view of the lake on your left at this rocky point.
12.9 ~ WINTER FEED PLOT
It's huge!! Like an all you can eat buffet for the Deer. Just imagine the size of the crowd after church on Sundays !!
13.0 ~ 13.1 ~ 2 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ SW
13.6 ~ PINE GLEN CAMPGROUND ~ FS 500 ~ LC, RW ~ 946'
The trail comes out on FS 500. The campground parking area / entrance is 50 yards to the left.
NORTHERN TERMINUS ~ FINISH HIKE

hiker services.
CS ~ Convenience Store ~ Mom and Pop stores
TT ~ Trail Town ~ Large enough for grocery stores
SC ~ Small Campsite ~ At least one tent site
LC ~ Large Campsite ~ At least three tent sites
TS ~ Trail Shelter ~ Three sided, open front
SW ~ Seasonal Water ~ Dry a few days after rain
RW ~ Reliable Water ~ Always available
HS ~ Hot Shower ~ On Trail


driving directions.
USE ODOMETER OR TRIP METER (NO REALLY :)
NORTHERN TERMINUS ~ FINISH HIKE
PARK FINISH HIKE VEHICLE FIRST
119.8 ~ PINE GLEN CAMPGROUND
Exit I-20 at Exit 191, US 431S, east of Oxford, AL.
Go north on US 431 for 0.3 miles to the stop sign at US 78. Turn right.
Go 5.3 miles to a paved road on the left just before the overhead bridge, at the top of the ridge. Turn left.
Go 0.1 miles to the stop sign at AL 281. Go straight across onto the dirt road, FS 500.
Go north 5.0 miles to the Ping Glen Campground, on the left.

SOUTHERN TERMINUS ~ START HIKE
PARK START HIKE VEHICLE
106.2 ~ SOUTH FS 500 TRAILHEAD
From the Pine Glen Campground, go back south on FS 500 for 4.9 miles to the South FS 500 Trailhead, on the left.


^ Climb up.