PTA Site Map / etrail or snailtrail
The Pinhoti Trail
A Southeast Region Appalachian Trail Connector
Northbound snailtrail / Section 6
Northern Terminus / Finish Hike
79.1 ~ Cheaha Trailhead
67.8 ~ Adams Gap Trailhead
Southern Terminus / Start Hike
Reference Points ~ Cheaha Wilderness, Oxford, AL
Hike Distance ~ 11.3 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
79.1 ~ CHEAHA 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 11.5 miles to the Cheaha Trailhead parking area, on the left.
Southern Terminus / Park Start Hike Vehicle
67.8 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD
From the Cheaha Trailhead parking area, turn left on AL 281.
Go 6.4 miles to the end of the pavement.
This is the Adams Gap Trailhead parking area.
Southern Terminus / Start Hike
67.8 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD / AL 281 ~ 1457' ~ (Photo)
From the parking area, cross over AL 281 and go down the downhill paved road about 20' and67.9 ~ SOUTH CHEAHA WILDERNESS BOUNDARY ~ 1500' ~ (Photo)
turn left up the hill into the Cheaha Wilderness.
NEXT RW ~ 11.5 miles.
For many hikers, the Cheaha Wilderness ~ (Map) is the # 1 destination on the Pinhoti because of 69.0 ~ 70.3 ~ 6 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ 1360' +/- ~ SW
it's stunning views and numerous side trails, which offer a lot of different loop trail
HISTORY ~ The dedication for the 7490 acre Wilderness was in 1983 and this is the
southwestern boundary. There are 26 fire rings on the Pinhoti in the next 11.4 miles.
70.9 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 1380' ~ LC
71.0 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 1360' ~ SW
71.3 ~ SIGN BOARD ~ 1460'
The trail turns right and goes 0.2 miles on the road bed.71.5 ~ SIGN BOARD ~ 1575'
The trail goes back in the woods on the left. This sign board is off trail 10' on the left and is 71.5 ~ STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN ~ 1575' ~ (Photo - Grey Eagle)
easy to miss. The road bed is blocked with rocks and logs here at the turn.
If you climb over all this stuff the road continues for another 0.2 miles up to the gap. There
was a hot fire up here several years ago that killed all the trees and now the gap is a big brush
pile. There are no clear places to camp and no views.
Here is a huge rock garden and there are a lot of tricky little uphill rocky switchbacks for the 72.1 ~ PEARLY GATES ~ 2050'
next 0.5 miles. There are also good dark blue blazes here, which are not allowed in the
Wilderness : ) Keep a close watch on them! If you are familiar with the blaze system, you know
that an off ~ set double blaze (ATC Double Blazing Standards) means there is a turn coming up.
The blaze on TOP is off ~ set, either to the right or left, signifying which way to turn. As of
early 2003 all the top blazes in this section are opposite of what they should be, but who's
UPDATE 2008 ~ There are new blazes in the Wilderness. These are the standard light blue and
many more of them, as approved by the Forest Service. The backward off-set double blazes have
been corrected also.
You will have to see it to believe it. Yikes! This is an appropriate introduction to what lies72.2 ~ HEAVEN / ROCKY TOP 4 ~ 2135' ~ SC - (Photo by Mike-Luanne Boggs)
ahead on the way up to the Cheaha Trailhead; difficult but worth every drop of sweat.
There is a hidden rocky overlook on the left as you scramble your way around the north side of72.6 ~ 73.2 ~ 3 CAMPSITES / ODUM POINT ~ 2242' +/- ~ LC ~ Good views
the peak. This northern view gives you a good idea of where you'll be for the next 7.1 miles on
the way up to Mt. Cheaha. The trail follows the ridge, on your right, north for 4.1 miles, then it
comes back south 0.6 miles to the McDill Overlook Trail, which is that rocky point straight out
in front of you. After McDill, the trail turns north again and goes 2.4 miles to Cheaha, which is
that farthest peak you can see from here. The faint blue ridge that's back behind Cheaha is our
Sister Ridge (Choccolocco Mountains). You can check out Section 8, mile 104.3, for more details.
You will have off and on views of this 61 mile mountain chain as she parallels the Pinhoti all the
way up to Dugger Mountain in Section 11. If you should ever make it up to Bald Rock, on top of
Cheaha, there is a close up view of her as she makes her way east from Coldwater to Oxford and
then the northeast turn in Golden Springs before heading on up to Piedmont.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
SUMMIT ~ Odum Point is #3 on Alabama's list of highest named summits at 2342'. The Pinhoti 73.3 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 2140' ~ SW
goes about 100' below its high point.
73.5 ~ ROCKY TOP 5 ~ 2160'
73.6 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2120' ~ LC ~ Good views
73.7 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 2120' ~ SW
73.8 ~ LITTLE CANEY HEAD ~ 2100' ~ LC, SW
The Pinhoti goes straight through this 4 way intersection.73.9 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2100' ~ LC ~ Good views
HISTORY ~ This is the former site of the Little Caney Head Shelter. Wilderness guidelines do
not allow any man made structures within the Wilderness boundaries, so the shelter was flown by
helicopter 3.2 miles west on the Chinnabee Silent Trail to Cheaha Falls and has been renamed
the Cheaha Falls Shelter. This shelter is in great shape but it is a little homesick. It does have
a good view of its old home up here though and the falls make good company for it too.
HISTORY ~ Little Caney Head is also home to the intersecting point of 2 major side trails.
This is the eastern terminus of the Chinnabee Silent Trail which goes to the left 5.7 miles to
Lake Chinnabee. This trail was completed in 1976 by Boy Scout Troop # 29 from the
Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. I had the pleasure a few years ago of meeting one of
the original Troop Leaders who helped build this trail back in the 70's. This gentleman and some
of his friends still come out every year to do trail maintenance. This is also the northern
terminus of the Odum Scout Trail which goes to the right 4.9 miles to the High Falls Trailhead.
This trail was built by Boy Scout Troop #? and was completed in 1961.
FLOWERING SHRUB ~ Mountain Laurel ~ White ~ May
LC ~ Little Caney Head is a busy place with 6 fire rings.
SW ~ The spring is 50' down the CST, on the left.
75.4 ~ CCT CONNECTOR ~ 2200'
The Pinhoti goes straight through.76.4 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2040' ~ LC
The Cave Creek Trail Connector goes to the right here 0.2 miles to the CCT sign board, on the
left. You can go left 3.8 miles to the CCT northern terminus at the Cheaha Trailhead or you can
go straight 1.2 miles to the Nubbin Creek Trail and another 1.9 miles to the CCT southern
terminus at the Odum Scout Trail.
This campsite and the next one have nothing even close to a flat spot.76.5 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2060' ~ LC
76.9 ~ McDILL OVERLOOK TRAIL ~ 1940' ~ SC, LC
Good views. The Pinhoti goes straight through.77.0 ~ WHO ROCK ~ 1960' ~ SC
You can go left 0.25 miles at the sign board to McDill. There is a great overlook of the western
1/3 of the Wilderness here and views of the Appalachian Chain as it makes a perfect 20 mile
sweep to the southeast. There is a pack of Coyotes living in the Wilderness now and you can
hear them yipping and howling most any night in season. Look for gray, fuzzy poop on the trail;
they like to eat Possums 8~(. (No, we are not on the Coyote food chain : )
SC ~ At the McDOT sign board, you can go right 50' up the hill to some small campsites.
LC ~ Go left on the McDOT 0.25 miles to several large campsites at the overlook.
Good views. The trail Bears to the right here through the pines.77.4 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2060' ~ LC
This campsite was named by Dr. Lee, author of the Hiking Alabama website. There is a large
western view from this small point. The night time lights are from Talladega on the left and
Munford on the right.
77.8 ~ NORTH CHEAHA WILDERNESS BOUNDARY ~ 2320' ~ SC
This is the northern boundary of the Wilderness - - you have just come up the switchbacks and 78.0 ~ HERNANDEZ PEAK ~ 2344' ~ LC, SW
reached the top of the ridge. The trail turns left here and the Wilderness Dedication Marker
is on the left at ground level.
SC ~ The campsite is on the right.
This is the highest trail elevation on the Pinhoti. There are several campsites but no great78.1 ~ HERNANDEZ PEAK SHELTER (planned 200?)
CAUTION ~ The trail makes a tricky left turn up ahead so here's the deal; once you make it to
the Wilderness Dedication Marker on top of this ridge, it's almost as flat as a pancake for
about 1/4 mile, then the ridge ends and you start going downhill. After about 50', you come to a
flat grassy spot on the left surrounded by big rocks. The trail turns sharp left here and goes
down through a steep rocky chute. Once you come down off the ridge through the chute, the
trail crosses a spring (bog) and gets on an old jeep road. The Hon. Bill Nichols used this road to
ride out to the Cheaha Wilderness Dedication Ceremony in 1983. (Hey, he was an old guy ! ! )
You only go 50 yards on the jeep road and then the trail veers off to the left.
SW ~ Come down off the ridge through the chute and go 50 yards to the spring / bog.
SUMMIT ~ Hernandez Peak is #2 on Alabama's list of highest named summits at 2344'.
The exact location for this shelter has not been determined.78.5 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2140' ~ LC ~ Good views
78.6 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2140' ~ LC ~ Good views
79.1 ~ CHEAHA TRAILHEAD ~ 1940' ~ (Photo)
Turn right at the trailhead sign board and go downhill 0.1 miles to the Info Board. The CaveNorthern Terminus / Finish Hike
Creek Trail northern terminus is on the right. The trailhead parking area and The Arch are
straight ahead 50 yards.
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 native flora, 4 information plaques, some wrought iron Pine cones and Pine branches,
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 is a
tremendous addition to our trail, so stop by and take a look.
Thanks guys !!
PTA Site Map / Top of Page ^-^
Section 6 Hike Planner
CS ~ Convenience Store
TT ~ Trail Town
SC ~ Small Camp
72.2, 76.9, 77.0, 77.8
LC ~ Large Camp
70.9, 72.6, 73.2, 73.6, 73.8, 73.9, 76.4, 76.5,
76.9, 77.4, 78.0, 78.5, 78.6
TS ~ Trail Shelter
SW ~ Seasonal Water
69.0, 70.3, 71.0, 73.3, 73.7, 73.8, 78.0
RW ~ Reliable Water
HS ~ Hot Shower