pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
* section and mileage numbering system example: "s7 ~ 0.2" / s7 = a section number and 0.2 = a landmark mileage *
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web hits / 29068 during jan 2017.
current weather @ pinhoti trail mid-point / 181.3 ~ cave spring trailhead.
4.4 ~ JOY LAKE ~ PRIVATE
Turn right at Joy Lake on azalea road ~ RW
This is a private lake community.
14.7 ~ SCOTT LAKE ~ USFS ~ 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 FS 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.
12.6 ~ MORGAN LAKE SWITCHBACK ~ CASCADE ~ USFS ~ RW ~ 750’
The Pinhoti crosses a spring and turns to the right up the first switchback. Go to the second switchback and turn left.
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, 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...
11.3 ~ HIGHROCK LAKE ~ USFS ~ RW ~ 880'
AKA Lake 10. This is an 8 acre finger lake that is about 50 yards wide all the way up the gorge. There is no established access to this lake.
NEXT RW ~ 0.2 miles.
2.6 ~ SWEETWATER LAKE DAM ~ USFS ~ LC, RW ~ 1000'
AKA Lake 13. This is the first of the three USDA Floodwater Retarding Dams you will come to on the Pinhoti. The trail crosses over the spillway section of the dam straight in front of you and then goes around the left side of the lake up to the parking area.
Big Foot sighting reported on bfro.net!
Don't worry too much if you hear wild screaming in the middle of the night, it's just Bigfoot stepping on a briar or something :)
LC ~ There is a campsite on the main section of the dam in those pines to the right.
NEXT RW ~ 0.3 miles
7.2 ~ COLEMAN LAKE CAMPGROUND FOOTBRIDGE ~ USFS ~ LC, RW, HS ~ 1160'
At this point you will come within view of the Coleman Lake Easy Access Trail footbridge down on the right. The Pinhoti bypasses the bridge and continues straight on through.
LC, RW, HS ~ You can cross over the bridge here and go 0.5 miles to the newly renovated (2002?) Coleman Lake Campground. This is a Federal Campground that cost $12 (2004) a night and is open April 15 through November ? (changes). There are 2 new bath houses with HOT SHOWERS !!, that you can use for $2 if you don’t plan on camping, lots of campsites with full RV hook ups, primitive camping and also a beach with a bath house. Hmmm... Did I mention HOT SHOWERS !!?
NEXT RW ~ 0.4 miles
14.8 ~ CHOCCOLOCCO CREEK WATERSHED ~ USFS ~ 760' ~ LC, RW
The trail goes across the top of the dam and then turns right on an old service road and goes around the left side of the lake for a while.
LC ~ The top of the dam is a great place to camp and there are no fire rings up here because it makes it hard on the FS mower crew.
INDIAN TRAIL TREE (not authentic) ~ Look for the tree on the left between here and Rattlesnake Point.
HISTORY ~ The USDA calls this Floodwater Retarding Dam #2. It was built in 1968 and the lake has a surface area of 31 acres.
2.4 ~ TERRAPIN CREEK WATERSHED ~ USFS ~ LC, RW ~ 840'
BEGIN OAKEY MOUNTAIN
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 ??
5.4 ~ HAWKINS HOLLOW POND ~ RW
The trail goes around the left side of the Pond.
NEXT RW ~ 0.1 miles
FLOWERING TREE ~ Mimosa ~ Pink / May
HISTORY 04 ~ A new ladder was installed for the climb down the rock face beside the pond.