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
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
67.8 ~ ADAMS GAP 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 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
52.3 ~ PORTER’S GAP TRAILHEAD
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.
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 painted53.6 ~ CHANDLER GAP ~ 1100' ~ (Photo)
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.
You will cross the old Gap Road here.54.6 ~ * ROCKY TOP 1 ~ 1450' ~ (Photo)
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
There are many special places along the Pinhoti and the Rocky Tops are at the top of my list.55.0 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1320'
The trail may be hard to see in these areas, so keep an eye out for the blazes.
55.5 ~ SKYWAY ROAD ~ 858' ~ (Photo)
When you get to the road, you will turn left and go 0.2 miles to the RR tracks and the bridge.55.7 ~ TALLADEGA CREEK BRIDGE ~ 843' ~ LC, RW ~ (Photo)
WILDFLOWER ~ Lobelia ~ Purple ~ October
The trail crosses the bridge and goes straight on FS 600 for 0.2 miles, then goes back in the 55.9 ~ FS 600 TURNOFF ~ 870' ~ (Photo)
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
This is where the trail goes back in the woods on the left, 0.2 miles after the bridge. There is56.0 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 910'
a good sign post here.
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.57.4 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1200'
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
57.5 ~ CAMPSITE / SPRING CROSSING ~ SC, SW ~ (Photo)
58.4 ~ ROCKY TOP 2 ~ 1450' ~ (Photo)
There is a rocky overlook on the right with a good view of the valley.58.6 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1480' ~ (Photo)
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
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 switchback58.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 1400' ~ SW ~ (Photo)
there is a good spring down on your left.
The water runs underground most of the time near the trail. You may have to follow the stream 59.1 ~ ROCK GARDEN ~ 1410' ~ (Photo)
bed downhill a little to find a pool.
With the proper attitude adjustment, crossing these 14 rock fields is fun! Just go ahead and61.0 ~ DEAD CAR / POWER LINE CROSSING ~ 1360' ~ (Photo)
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
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 61.4 ~ CLAIRMONT SWITCHBACKS ~ 1420' ~ (Photo)
yards on FS 600. The trail goes back in the woods on the left. There are 4 switchbacks up
The first turn is on the right. The second turn is on the left and puts you on an old roadbed.61.8 ~ CLAIRMONT POINT ~ 1650' ~ (Photo)
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.
After you make the left turn on the fourth switchback, go about 10' and turn sharp left again62.0 ~ ROCKY TOP 3 ~ 1770' ~ LC ~ (Photo)
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.
Large Campsite... Hmmm... Yes, there is a fire ring here and a few flat spots, but you better63.6 ~ BURGESS POINT VIEW ~ 1600' ~ (Photo)
have some tough tent stakes !
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' 64.4 ~ FS 600 CROSSING ~ 1750' ~ (Photo)
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.
The trail goes right 10 yards on the road and then back in the woods on the left.65.7 ~ PATTERSON SWITCHBACKS ~ 1550' ~ (Photo)
WILDBERRIES ~ Huckleberry ~ Dusty Blue ~ May
There are several good winter views of Cheaha Mountain to the north 13.6 trail miles away.65.8 ~ PATTERSON GAP ~ 1460' ~ (Photo)
There are also several views of a new 3 story house that was built up on the first peak north
of you in 2004.
The trail goes right 10 feet on a good gravel road and then back in the woods on the left66.1 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 1380' ~ SC, SW ~ (Photo)
(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
Hmmm... tough tent stakes. Great campsite though!66.2 ~ DOUBLE SPRING CROSSING ~ 1260' ~ LC, SW ~ (Photo)
SW ~ Continue north on the trail 0.1 miles to the Double Spring.
There is a steep 20' hump between the two springs and some flat spots just past the second 66.3 ~ SWITCHBACKS ~ 1280'
crossing with 2 fire rings. Keep an eye out for the switchbacks just ahead.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
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.67.8 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD / AL 281 ~ 1356' ~ (Photo)
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
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.
The trail comes out at the trailhead parking area on AL 281.Northern Terminus / Finish Hike
PTA Site Map / Top of Page ^-^
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
HS ~ Hot Shower