PTA Site Map  /  etrail or snailtrail
The Pinhoti Trail
A Southeast Region Appalachian Trail Connector

Northbound snailtrail  /  Section 5
Northern Terminus / Finish Hike
67.8 ~ Adams Gap Trailhead
52.3 ~ Porter's Gap Trailhead
Southern Terminus / Start Hike

Reference Points ~ Talladega Mountain, Talladega, AL
Hike Distance ~ 15.5 Miles
Hiking Time vs Distance ~ 30 minutes = 1 mile
Trail Blazes ~ Light Blue Vertical Rectangles
Trail Description ~ Difficult ~ Dry Rocky Ridges, Long Climbs, Rock Gardens

Driving Directions
For a weekend section hike, you may want to bring two vehicles to the trail so that you can shuttle
yourselves from one end of your chosen section to the other. First, you will need to park your
“finish hike vehicle” at your section’s northern terminus and then drive your “start hike vehicle” down
to your section’s southern terminus.

Northern Terminus / Park Finish Hike Vehicle First
    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 here).
    Go 0.4 miles to the stop sign at AL 281. Turn left.
    Go 17.9 miles to the end of the pavement.
    This is the Adams Gap Trailhead parking area.

Southern Terminus / Park Start Hike Vehicle
    From the Adams Gap Trailhead parking area, go across AL 281 to the small downhill paved road.
    Go 1.5 miles to the first paved road on the right, Blue Ridge Road. Turn right.
    Go 1.2 miles to the stop sign at CR 12. Turn right.
    Go 6.7 miles to the stop sign at CR 209. Turn right.
    Go 3.2 miles to the stop sign at AL 77. Turn right.
    Go 1.2 miles to the Porter’s Gap Trailhead parking area, on the right.

Hiking Directions
Southern Terminus / Start Hike
52.3 ~ PORTER'S GAP TRAILHEAD / AL 77 ~ 960' ~ CS, TT ~ (Photo)
    The Pinhoti begins at the back of the parking area, to the right. Look for the blue blaze painted
    on a tree.
    CS ~ Go west on AL 77 for 4.6 miles to a small store.
    CS ~ Go east 2.3 miles to a store on the wet side of the county line.
    TT ~ Go west on AL 77 for 8.9 miles to Talladega. Map
    TT ~ Go east 13.4 miles to Ashland. Map
    NEXT RW ~ 3.4 miles.
    WILDFLOWER ~ Blazing Star ~ Purple ~ October
    WILDFLOWER ~ Candy Root ~ Yellow ~ May
    HISTORY 2008 ~ A new trailhead parking area was completed at Porter's Gap by the USFS and
    the Alabama Department of Transportation. The new parking area was built because the re-
    routing of AL 77 took the highway through the old parking area.
53.6 ~ CHANDLER GAP ~ 1100' ~ (Photo)
    You will cross the old Gap Road here.
    You may hear a lot of gunfire in this area at times. The FS Shepard Branch Shooting Complex is
    way down in the valley to your left.
    WILDFLOWER ~ Sunflower ~ Yellow ~ May
54.6 ~ * ROCKY TOP 1 ~ 1450' ~ (Photo)
    There are many special places along the Pinhoti and the Rocky Tops are at the top of my list.
    The trail may be hard to see in these areas, so keep an eye out for the blazes.
55.0 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1320'
55.5 ~ SKYWAY ROAD ~ 858' ~
    When you get to the road, you will turn left and go 0.2 miles to the RR tracks and the bridge.
    WILDFLOWER ~ Lobelia ~ Purple ~ October
55.7 ~ TALLADEGA CREEK BRIDGE ~ 843' ~ LC, RW ~ (Photo)
    The trail crosses the bridge and goes straight on FS 600 for 0.2 miles, then goes back in the
    woods on the left.
    HISTORY ~ The bridge was built in 1948 to replace the old one. You can still see the old bridge
    supports downstream. At one time these old crossings were an important link between the farms
    and towns. In many places like here and the covered bridge crossing at Waldo, just a few miles
    downstream, there were large campgrounds for people walking with mules or in wagons who could
    not make the trip to the markets in Talladega in one day. This was a 3 day, 36 mile round trip
    from Ashland. The campground is located at the north east corner of the bridge and during the
    1930's this was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp for the crew that built FS 600 (-2) from
    Bull Gap to Mt. Cheaha, which at the time was the main south entrance road.
    LC, RW - Look for the Red Wagon Retreat on the right just before the bridge. Campsites and
    firewood for $5 per night at the old CCC Campground. Day or overnight parking for a $2
    donation. Trig and Alice are very hiker friendly!
    Red Wagon Retreat
    600 Skyline Drive
    Chandler Springs, AL
    RW - You can turn left after the bridge for easy access to the creek.
    NEXT RW ~ 12.7 miles (this includes the 0.8 mile hike west on the SLT to the creek)
    WILDFLOWER ~ Common Evening Primrose ~ Yellow ~ August
55.9 ~ FS 600 TURNOFF ~ 870' ~ (Photo)
    This is where the trail goes back in the woods on the left, 0.2 miles after the bridge. There is
    a good sign post here.
56.0 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 910'
56.4 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 1130' ~ SC
    There is a good level spot on the right with no fire ring.
57.2 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1410' ~ LC ~ (Photo)
    The trail goes straight across the road.
    As soon as you cross over there is an old road bed on the right that goes downhill 100 yards to
    some pine straw covered flat spots and no fire rings. LNT
    WILDFLOWER ~ Aster ~ Blue ~ Fall
57.4 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1200'
58.4 ~ ROCKY TOP 2 ~ 1450' ~ (Photo)
    There is a rocky overlook on the right with a good view of the valley.
    HISTORY ~ The trains still run through this section, which is between Talladega and Lineville.
    If you could look straight down through the trees at the base of the ridge you would see the
    HMTC Base Camp and also an old whistle stop community called Weathers (Station). The old
    Steam Locomotives would stop here to fill up with water from the pond beside the tracks at the
    Clairmont Springs Road crossing. The little white house beside the pond was the Station
    Master's home. If you could look past Poe Bridge Mountain on the far side of the valley you
    would see the town of Ashland, whose Courthouse is at a higher elevation than any other in the
    state at 1153'. Until Mentone, AL incorporated, Ashland was the highest incorporated city in
58.6 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1480' ~ (Photo)
    The trail goes straight across the road.
58.8 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1430 ~ SW
    The first switchback goes to the left. As soon as you turn right on the second switchback
    there is a good spring down on your left.
58.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 1400' ~ SW ~ (Photo)
    The water runs underground most of the time near the trail. You may have to follow the stream
    bed downhill a little to find a pool.
59.1 ~ ROCK GARDEN ~ 1410' ~ (Photo)
    With the proper attitude adjustment, crossing these 14 rock fields is fun! Just go ahead and
    plan at least 2 hard hours for the next 1.9 miles, kick back and relax. The first half is very
    rugged and you really need to have your lightning reflexes dialed in.  The going gets easier after
    the halfway point but you still have to pay constant attention to loose rocks and holes.
    WILDFLOWER ~ Spiderwort ~ Blue ~ April
61.0 ~ DEAD CAR / POWER LINE CROSSING ~ 1360' ~ (Photo)
    This car found out that there is a sharp curve on USFS 600, which is right up above you. DUCK !
61.1 ~ POWER LINE CROSSING ~ 1340' ~ (Photo)
61.2 ~ CLAIRMONT GAP ~ 1356' ~ (Photo)
    The trail comes out on FS 600. Turn left and go across Gunterstown Road, then go another 10
    yards on FS 600. The trail goes back in the woods on the left. There are 4 switchbacks up
61.4 ~ CLAIRMONT SWITCHBACKS ~ 1420' ~ (Photo)
    The first turn is on the right. The second turn is on the left and puts you on an old roadbed.
    Keep a close eye on the blazes for the third turn, which is on the right. The fourth turn is on
    the left at the top of Clairmont Point.
61.8 ~ CLAIRMONT POINT ~ 1650' ~ (Photo)
    After you make the left turn on the fourth switchback, go about 10' and turn sharp left again
    and follow the ridge line up to Rocky Top 3. This sharp left was not marked in early 2004.
    There is a good southern view here of Clairmont Gap and the ridge going south and it's also a
    great spot to watch winter sunsets.  
62.0 ~ ROCKY TOP 3 ~ 1770' ~ LC ~ (Photo)
    Large Campsite... Hmmm... Yes, there is a fire ring here and a few flat spots, but you better
    have some tough tent stakes !
63.6 ~ BURGESS POINT VIEW ~ 1600' ~ (Photo)
    Here is a good winter view of the south side of the point.
63.7 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1580' ~ (Photo)
    The trail goes left 10 yards on the road and then back in the woods on the right.
64.4 ~ BURGESS POINT /  FIRE TOWER (missing) ~ 1870' ~ LC ~ (Photo)
    This is the highest peak in Section 5. You can't quite see the point up to your left. About 5'
    before you get to the 64.4 ~ FS 600 Crossing there is an old grown up road bed on your left that
    goes up to the Point and it is a pretty tough 0.4 mile trek up to the old Fire Tower site.
    HISTORY ~ Connie Roberson, who is a 25 year state employee at the Cheaha Country Store and
    old friend, grew up in the community of Erin (ear-in), which is at the eastern base of Burgess
    Point. She remembers when she was a little girl (tomboy :) in the 60's, the tower was carried off
    by helicopter. There are 360" very limited winter views here because of, yep, trees. On the south
    side of the peak there is a 50' piled (as opposed to stacked) rock wall that may have been an
    observation deck and also some flat concrete "things" (cistern, spring house, out house?). On
    the north side there is a 150' L shaped piled rock wall that was possibly another deck or a
    trail or road border. Back around the middle of the last century USFS 600, both north and
    south of AL 77, was a popular travel destination for the locals, at least the ones who had cars
    back then! The Bunker Tower at Cheaha and the Fire Towers on Horn Mountain and Burgess
    Point were always packed with picnickers after church on Sundays according to my Aunt Patty.
    Friday and Saturday nights were pretty busy too but she didn't say much about that...:)
    LC ~ There is a fire ring and grassy spot inside the 4 concrete corner blocks.
    UPDATE ~ Bob Pasquill, the USFS archeologist for Alabama, recently told me that this 100'
    tower was flown to the top of Dugger Mountain to replace a 30' wooden tower.
64.4 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1750' ~ (Photo)
    The trail goes right 10 yards on the road and then back in the woods on the left.
    WILDBERRIES ~ Huckleberry ~ Dusty Blue ~ May
65.7 ~ PATTERSON SWITCHBACKS ~ 1550' ~ (Photo)
    There are several good winter views of Cheaha Mountain to the north 13.6 trail miles away.
    There are also several views of a new 3 story house that was built up on the first peak north
    of you in 2004.
65.8 ~ PATTERSON GAP ~ 1460' ~ (Photo)
    The trail goes right 10 feet on a good gravel road and then back in the woods on the left
    (poorly marked 2004).
    There are a lot of tricky little switchbacks ahead. The trail is not obvious and neither are the
    UPDATE 2004: There are more silver metal diamonds in the switchbacks now and it is much
66.1 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 1380' ~ SC, SW ~ (Photo)
    Hmmm... tough tent stakes. Great campsite though!
    SW ~ Continue north on the trail 0.1 miles to the Double Spring.
66.2 ~ DOUBLE SPRING CROSSING ~ 1260' ~ LC, SW ~ (Photo)
    There is a steep 20' hump between the two springs and some flat spots just past the second
    crossing with 2 fire rings. Keep an eye out for the switchbacks just ahead.
    FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
66.3 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1280'
    The first turn is to the right.
66.6 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 1320' ~ SW ~ (Photo)
66.7 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 1340' ~ SW ~ (Photo)
67.6 ~ SKYWAY LOOP TRAIL ~ 1400' ~ LC, SW, RW ~ (Photo)
    When you get to the sign board, the Pinhoti goes to the right.
    SW ~ Go left on the Skyway Loop Trail 0.1 miles to a good size spring.
    LC, RW ~ Go left on the Skyway Loop Trail 0.8 miles to several large campsites beside
    Barbaree Creek.
    NEXT RW ~ This is the last reliable water source until Cheaha State Park at mile 79.3.
    HISTORY ~ Along the way down to the creek, you will pass a standing chimney on the right. This
    is the former site of a Civilian Conservation Corps built Park Cabin. The CCC had a workers
    campground near here and did a lot of rock work within a 10 mile radius of Cheaha State Park
    from 1933 until the park opened in 1939. The SLT continues on past the campsite for another
    4.3 miles to the Lake Chinnabee Campground, which is open from April 15 through November 15.
67.8 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD / AL 281 ~ 1356' ~ (Photo)
    The trail comes out at the trailhead parking area on AL 281.
Northern Terminus / Finish Hike

PTA Site Map  /  Top of Page ^-^
Legacy Trail
Section 5 Hike Planner

CS ~ Convenience Store
TT ~ Trail Town
SC ~ Small Camp
56.4, 57.5, 66.1
LC ~ Large Camp
55.7, 57.2, 62.0, 64.4, 66.2, 67.6
TS ~ Trail Shelter
SW ~ Seasonal Water
57.5, 58.8, 58.9, 66.2, 66.1, 66.2, 66.6, 66.7, 67.6
RW ~ Reliable Water
55.7, 67.6
HS ~ Hot Shower