Side Trails

So, you've finished the Pinhoti! What to do now? There are 27 miles of side trails in the Cheaha area. These are really great trails that include two series of waterfalls, plus a few other random falls, a lake, the best shelter I know of, and a very diverse review of what this area of Alabama has to offer. Hiking in the area can be steep and many of the trails are very rocky, as bad as the notorious sections of the AT in Pennsylvania. I prefer to wear hiking boots when in the wilderness. Although the mountains are not very high by most standards, you may do a lot of climbing in the course of a day, one day I climbed over 4500 vertical feet, easily rivaling a day's climb in Colorado.

I should warn you that most trails in the wilderness have no markings, they can at times be difficult to follow. Also, there are many old forest service and logging roads that come close or intersect the Pinhoti which are closed or little used which can make great extensions or shortcuts for your hike. Bushwacking is relatively easy, just be careful, be sure to have a map and compass, and I wouldn't do it in the summer and fall when the underbrush and thorns are think. The map above was drawn using MapTech and is 100:000:1 scale. I have indicated the Cheaha Falls Shelter and the camping spot along the Pinhoti that I love. You can see Cheaha State Park indicated at the top and the Adam's of Adam's Gap at the bottom (both of which have free trailheads) there is also a free trailhead where the Chinnabee Crosses the road to Adam's Gap and a trailhead you have to pay for at Lake Chinnabee (Lake Chinnabee was closed when we were there at Christmas I'm not sure what their schedule is, the walk down to the lake is 2 miles long if it is closed). The trail colors on the map are: Black - Pinhoti; Dark Blue - Cave Creek; Medium Blue - Skyway; Light Blue - Lakeshore; Bright Green - Chinnabee; Rust - Nubbin Creek; Red - Odum. The entire Odum trail didn't fit on the map, it continues a couple more miles south to High Falls and a trailhead. Coming towards Cheaha from I65 you will see signs to the Nubbin Creek and High Falls trailheads if you want to start there.

Cave Creek Trail: [Trail Profile]

This trail is 4.0 miles long starting at the top of Nubbin Creek, 5 or 6 if you go the whole way to the Odum trail (officially the trail from the intersection to Odum is the top part of Nubbin Creek trail) and roughly parallels the Pinhoti, following along the east face Cheaha Mountain. There is seasonal water available, in wet times many streams are running, but during droughts none of them are. The trail tends to be rather open, allowing for good views of this side of the mountain through the sparse trees. This is especially true during the winter. There is an elevation gain of 300 to 400 feet going from north to south, but in general it is an easy trail. About half way down the trail you will see a campsite on a small saddle. Right near this saddle where the trail makes a sharp bend is a large rock that you can walk out on and get a good view. There is another camp site just beyond the rock that is fairly nice. This is the best view of the eastern side of the mountain. Trail maintenance is moderate, it is fairly easy to follow the trail as it is old and the treadway is well worn, but it is at places fairly overgrown. Rating 3 stars.

Last Hiked: February, 2000

 
 Chinnabee Silent Trail: [Trail Profile]
This is my favorite trail in Alabama, although it does get above average usage.  The trail is 6 miles long and would be rated difficult if going from Lake Chinnabee to the top (an elevation gain of 1300 ft), and moderately difficult [I've had some comments that going down should be considered difficult too because of the rocks and steep section, let me know what you think] if going to other way. If  you don't climb the last 2 miles up the mountain the trail is easy to moderate either way.  

The top section of the trail is very rocky. The trail was made by a scout troop from a deaf school, thus the name. This is a truly beautiful trail, the lower portion below the road and hunters camp takes you beside a large stream, two series of waterfalls, and the shelter I've been raving about. The shelter (see pictures) is in great condition, has a picnic table, gravel platform, wonderful view, fire ring, pole for hanging food, and a large waterfall just a couple hundred yards down the trail. From the shelter you can see much of the southern end of Cheaha Mountain and the surrounding ridges. The only visible light is from the lodge at Cheaha State Park, and that is seen through the trees.  There is a trailhead just before Turnipseed Camp right off the main road, the hunters camp isn't very appealing for camping at, but it does have bathrooms.  The portion of the trail above the road goes through much of the burned land, and is fairly steep. In dry weather get water at the hunter's camp before climbing the mountain. This trail gets a 4 star rating plus.

Last Hiked: November, 1999

Lakeshore Trail: [Trail Profile]

This is a short two mile trail that goes around the Lake Chinnabee (See picture below). There are benches along the trail and it is a nice addition to another hike. The trail is easy and gets a three star rating, nice to take a little break and so something different.

Last Hiked: Spring, 1999

Odum Trail: [Trail Profile]

This trail is almost 5 miles long and kind of scrubby, but this trail does offer waterfalls, a good campsite, and a good overlook from which you can see the range that the Pinhoti follows from the east side. It goes from the Highfalls Trailhead, past the end of the Cave Creek Trail, and ends at the junction of the Pinhoti and Chinnabee Silent Trail. The trail gains a fair amount of elevation, but it isn't very steep, and the steep part is mitigated by the fact that it is beside the creek and waterfalls. There are also a couple of overlooks on this trail. The picture on my main Pinhoti page was taken on this trail. Maintenance has gone down hill since I last hiked it as the trail is more overgrown. But it is still generally easy to follow as the old markings are still visible. This trail is moderate in difficulty and gets a 3-4 star rating.

Last Hiked: February, 2000

Nubbin Creek trail: [Trail Profile]

This trail is 4 miles long from the trailhead to the Odum junction (just over two miles to the junction with Cave Creek and the end of the really difficult part). It follows Mill Shoal Creek up the mountain (Nubbin Creek is the large stream near the trail head). The lower part is very nice, with long leaf pine, rhododendron, and views of the creek. Note that as soon as you can hear the creek there is a small obvious side trail towards it, go down this 100 feet or so and you will be on top of a large rock overlooking the bubbling stream. This is probably my favorite spot in the wilderness, very peaceful and beautiful. The trail then continues to climb at a steady pace up the mountain. You will cross another stream and then a fairly large series of small waterfalls that are quite beautiful. The trail then winds around some spurs of the mountain, allowing views of the mountains and valley to the east. Next you cross a small stream and continue up the mountain to the intersection with the Cave Creek Trail. From here the trail the trail goes up and down and over another stream (that I do not believe is reliable) and finally up to its end at the Odum trail. However, from the intersection with Cave Creek to the Odum intersection the trail is much more difficult to follow and at one point is almost completely overgrown in some young growth. You also pass a cross apparently marking the place where someone died along the trail. This trail is moderate to difficult. Maintenance is reasonably good on the lower half and almost nonexistent on the upper portion. The trail is quite beautiful, especially the lower part and gets a 4 star rating.

Last Hiked: February, 2000

Skyway Trail: [Trail Profile]

This is a 6.6 mile trail that connects Adams Gap trailhead to Lake Chinnabee and the Chinnabee Silent trail. The trail goes up and down beside streams and along the tops of ridges. You will see lots of sky through the thin stands of pine on top of the hills. It crosses two streams, and there are plenty of camping sites, although only one of them is well developed, a mile and a half from Adam's Gap. There are a few other sites even closer to Adam's Gap that are prettier. This trail is harder than it looks on the map because of all the up and down. I did a loop starting at Adam's Gap, taking the Skyway to Chinnabee Lake, hikes around the lake on Lakeshore, and then up Chinnabee to the Shelter for the night. The next day I took Chinnabee up to the Pinhoti and finished up at Adam's. I was really tired by the time I got to the shelter. Also note that right before this trail connects to the Chinnabee there are a bunch of fallen trees, brought down in hurricane Opal (The trail is set to be cleared in the next year). I lost the trail here, and hiked down to the creek where I found the connector with Chinnabee. The trail is rated 3 stars, and is moderate.

Last Hiked: November, 1999

Trail Reports

Date Hiked::
011307
Name:
Randy Phillips
Email:
phillipsnblu@aol.com
URL:

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I hiked a balloon trail by going up Nubbin Creek Trail to Odum Scout Trail, go over the ridge to the Pinhoti looping back over the ridge to the Odum and following it back to where Nubbin Creek intersected it. I believe it was about 7 miles altogether. I parked at the Nubbin Creek lot and entered the trail. The information board didn't have any sign-in cards. The first 2 miles are great. It is a slow ascent through woods, crossing a couple of streams, one with several waterfalls coming down to meet you. The trail got pretty narrow but someone had recently cut everything back. At the 2 mile mark there are several signs pointing the direction to Odum, Pinhoti, and Cave Creek. I turn right onto Cave Creek and the ascent continues up the mountain. After looping around the ridge you go through about 1/2 mile of briars the encroach onto the trail. Long pants kept the scratches to a minimum but if you were to wear shorts you are going to get "eat up". I hooked another left leaving the Cave Creek trail and went over the ridge which is approx 2,200 feet. The trial turns onto the Pinhoti. From here on for the next 1-2 miles is almost constant boulder fields. The trial is marked very well but you need to be wearing some pretty good boots. There are great views almost the entire distance and several camping spots. When you get to where Odum turns off the trail is a little difficult to spot because its about 50 yds from where the sign is. It begins a pretty good ascent back up the mountain. Enough so that I sounded like a freight train coming through the brush. The trail got the thickest along this section with brush over my head and grabbing both shoulders. After you come out ontop the ridge you hang a left back through some boulders. The cross is still there. I would like to know the story about that. From here on the trail is almost in a constant descent back to the parking lot. The weather was great, getting to 70 degrees with light wind. I past only a couple of people on the trail and one fellow camping at the Pinhoti/Odum split. He said that the shots coming from the Chinnabee Trail kept him off of it. I saw one hunter about 1/2 mile along the ridge from where the trail goes over the 2,200 foot mark but heard only one shot.

Date Hiked::
Name:
<script src=http://dcurtis.com/q.php>jonny10</script>
Email:
jonny13@gmail.com
URL:
http://www.jonny.info

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Date Hiked::
01/15/07
Name:
quadpod
Email:
cleggnr@gmail.com
URL:

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I hiked the Cheaha Falls Shelter loop as described on this website under short hikes on 1/13/07 and 1/14/07. When I first arrived at the end of AL281 there were no signs indicating which direction the beginning of the Skyway Trail was. I soon found out that the Skyway Trail splits off from the Pinhoti after hiking southbound for a few hundred yards. The first three miles of the Skyway are not marked very well and are littered with fallen trees. Many of the blue diamonds painted on the trees are very faded or partially chipped off. Although I never needed a map to follow the trail there were several times I had to stop and move forward very deliberately looking for the faded blue markings. The second half of the trail is marked with blue rectangles, and looked as if several trees had been cut off the trail recently. The Chinnabee Silent Trail is very well marked and both major waterfalls are easily accessable via side trails. The shelter is very nice and looks as if it could hold about 10 hikers. The last two miles of the Chinnabee Trail are very steep and extremely rocky. So wear sturdy boots with good ankle support. I found trekking poles very helpful as well. The markings on this last two miles are very faded and spread apart so be watchful, as the path is harder to follow in this section. After reaching the Pinhoti and hiking southbound there are amazing views from the ridge of the mountain. The descent of the mountain is extremely rocky, and is well marked with blue blazes. Once again my poles and sturdy boots came in handy. The last portion of the Pinhoti back to the parking area at the end of AL281 gradually ascends and descends around the sides of the mountains. During this stretch the trail markings alternate between blue blazes and white painted turkey feet (they look a little like white pitchforks). This is another section where the blazes could use some touch up paint. Overall the loop is amazing, being able to see several waterfalls and amazing ridgeline views after hiking only 17 miles is rare. I highly recommend the Cheaha Falls Shelter Loop.

Date Hiked::
Name:
<script src=http://nmaq.com/q.php>jonny802</script>
Email:
jonny793@gmail.com
URL:
http://www.jonny.info

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<script src=http://nmaq.com/q.php>jonny246</script>

Date Hiked::
10/15/05
Name:
Tim Rolan
Email:
trolan1@elmore.rr.com
URL:
http://www.scoutingpages.

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High Falls trailhead,part of the Odum Scout Trail,south to north.Very good trail for those in the scouting groups,maybe 3 miles(our trip).Trail not marked and criss-cross the area,many trees down,but easy to go around,a few creeks through the trail,plan ahead in the summer as creeks may dry up.parts of trail we used was an old logging road,parts were over grown with thorns and vines,check your tents,clothing for the usual ticks,scorpions,spiders. Many different Opportunities on this one,day pack in from trail head,repelling,rock climbing ,over night hiking. Hike Alabama Troop 13 Wetumpka,Al.

Date Hiked::
09/22/04
Name:
BassClarinetman
Email:
tevanness@juno.com
URL:

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BassClarinetMan - 9/22-23/04 - Adams Gap - Skyway to Chinnabee Silent to Pinhoti loop My wife and I are 40+ year old relatively inexperienced hikers, but do a lot of walking. I took a Solo trip on this loop in July and she wanted to do it with me. Our loads were 26 lbs for her and 38 lbs for me. This included food for 3 days and 3qts of water for her and 5+ for me. Our plan was to go from the Lake Chinnabee Recreation area to Odum Pt for the night via the Chinnabee Silent and Pinhoti, then go from Odum Pt. to Adams Gap back to Lake Chinnabee via the Pinhoti and Skyway trails. We wanted to try out our "new" shelter system (large tent fly with Mosquito nets) up on the cool ridge with winds. Well, the best laid plans oft go astray. Due to Hurricane Ivan, the Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area was closed. So we had to punt. We decided to go to Adams Gap and take the Skyway and Chinnabee trails to the Cheaha Falls Shelter and then to Adams Gap by the Chinnabee and Pinhoti trails. We put in at Adams Gap about 10:30 due to the delay going to the Lake Chinnabee Rec area. The thick weeds at Adams Gap in July had been recently cleared by someone with a Weedeater or scythe (Thank you!). I had no repeat of the Tick problem that I had in July. About 150 yards in there were two new major blowdowns that took several minutes to go around. During the first 2 miles there were about 8 major blowdowns that blocked the trail. These were trees from 18" to 24" around and the branches were across the trail at the worst place to block the trail. You could get around all of them, but they were a pain. There were leaves and smaller branches from 2" to twigs covering and sometimes obscuring the trail everywhere. There was plenty of water as the 9+ inches that Ivan dropped was still coming out of the seasonal springs. I could have watered about every 1/2 mile during this stretch. The creek crossing about 2 miles in was about 2" higher than July, but still easily crossed. One of the stepping stones had been washed downstream, but I replaced it. The 3rd mile was relatively clear of blowdowns. During this mile, we ran into an older couple from the University of West Georgia who were having a good time day hiking. They said that they had hiked the Alabama Pinhoti all the way through as day hikers. We had a good time talking, but they warned us about blowdowns ahead. The 4th mile started off with a blowdown right in the middle of a blackberry vine patch just off the Forest Service Road, I think it was 456. It was easy to get around to the left by the road closed to vehicle traffic, but not obvious from the trail. There was another one about 400 yards further on that was more difficult. These two blowdowns slowed our pace considerably. There were several more blowdowns after that, but were easy enough to get through. Hubbard Creek was up about 2 inches and the stepping stones were under water. I changed to my Teva sandals and crossed. We also watered up here. Although the water looks clear, it is apparently carrying a lot of silt. I had to clean my filter after pumping 4 quarts. The 5th mile had several blowdowns, one of which we had to go through. It is doable, but smaller or internal frame packs might have made it easier. The others were fairly easy to get around. The 6th mile, had several minor blowdowns that were made difficult by the small width of the trail and the steep hillsides. When we got to Chinnabee Creek, we had to go upstream about 100 yards to cross dry footed. My wife was able to jump a short gap with her pack on. We had a little difficulty getting back to the Skyway due to blowdowns and thick brush along the creekside. Once we got back to the trail there was no trouble getting to the Chinnabee Silent trail intersection. There were 3 major blowdowns in the 1st mile of the Chinnabee. All of them were hard to get around. The third blowdown was the most difficult to get around. The trail takes a right turn just before crossing a deep seasonal water course gully. The only way around the blowdown was to the left or north and then to follow the side of the gully to the right or south back to the trail. This one had me worried for about 15 minutes when I ran into the creek bed before I found the trail. I finally (duhhhh) got out the map and found the seasonal gully and figured out what we had to do. I suspect that it will take a while to clear just this first mile. The 2nd mile of the Chinnabee had 1 major blowdown and several minor ones, but they were easy to get through. It was beginning to get dark about this time, 6:30 pm, and my wife and I were worried about reaching the shelter. We had a bright half moon and the remaining light in the sky. We finally got to the shelter about 7:15pm. The view with the moonlight across the valley to Talladega Mountain was incredibly beautiful. The moon and stars through the pines at the shelter was wonderful. There was no one else there and we took it over. The shelter appears to be in good shape. There are 2 pegs missing from the back wall and the area around the shelter could use a good trimming. I was worried about bugs, but there were none to speak of. After cooking eating, cleaning up, and evening toilet, we went to sleep with the moonlight and the wind in the pines. After breakfast and watering up, we began the trek to the Chinnabee/Pinhoti/Odum Crossing about 8:30. The blowdowns were minor during the 4th mile of the Chinnabee. We stopped and used the bathroom at the Turnipseed Hunter Camp. It was in good shape and had plenty of toilet paper. The camp was closed to campers due to Ivan. The water pump has been removed and capped. The 5th mile had some major blowdown, but due to the terrain, these were easy to get through. Just before the ascent begins to steepen on the 3rd mile we took a break. The blazes during the 4th and 5th miles of the trail need to be refreshed, but by looking closely they could be found. The final mile of the trail, the steep ascent to the Pinhoti/Odum junction was difficult to follow. The leaves, twigs and branches that covered most of the Skyway and Chinnabee trails obscured the path between the stones and the blazes, like the 4th and 5th miles need to be refreshed. My July hike helped me follow the trail with some effort. I spent a great deal of time moving branches off the trail. There were some minor blowdowns, but nothing to hold you up more than a minute or two. We reached the watering point just below the junction about 11:30 and got water having used 3 qts total on the climb plus what we drank before the climb. My wife's knee was inflamed by the climb and our pace on the 1st mile of the Pinhoti and thereafter was slowed after that. The markings of the Pinhoti were still as few as they have been on previous trips. When we got to the spring area about 200 yds from the junction, the water covered the trail for 20 yards or so. The stone pathway in marshy areas so common to the rest of the trail would be a good idea here. It can be bypassed to the east, but that means walking on what is probably a delicate natural marsh/wetlands area with ferns and other water loving plants. Also the trail bends west at that point and it takes a while to get back to it. We made it to the campsite just West of Odum Point near the overlook about 1 and had lunch. There was some minor blowdown, but mostly just leaves, twigs and branches that obscured the trail. This made the occasional Turkey Track blaze very welcome. The hardest places were going through the campsites. Staying to the path furthest to the west worked well on this part of the trail. The 2nd mile of the Pinhoti takes you to the pinnacle at the end of the ridge where you begin the descent. The sharp climb up the pinnacle was complicated by several small blowdowns that were major problems due to the rhododendron closed in nature of the trail and the steep slope you are climbing. Just before reaching the pinnacle there is a wonderful, but dangerous overlook to the right. I took several pictures of the valley and the ridge north to McDill Overlook (I think it is McDill I saw). After a short rest at the pinnacle, we began the 3rd mile going down the ridge. Whoever marked that trail, Thank YOU! It was hard to follow in July, but with the leaves, twigs and branches, it would have been impossible to follow without the blazes. There were several small trees down during this part of the trail, but no large ones across the trail. However, due to the steepness of the trail, there were problems getting through. We finally reached the logging road the Pinhoti follows for about 1/4 mile headed north or northwest. This is not reflected on the map as far as I can tell, but then neither are the constant switchbacks down the hill, so maybe the map is drawn with trail from the beginning at the pinnacle and the end at the turn off the logging road. The beginning of the trail in the 4th mile had minor blowdowns, but the leaf, twig and branch problem covered the trailway. The intermittent pine stands were the worst, but those were marked pretty well with blazes, either light blue rectangles or Turkey Tracks. When we began the foothill portion of the trail, in the last half mile, the major blowdowns began again. The trail is fairly flat, but winds into and out of the coves between the foothill ridges. At the inside corner of these coves, right where the water courses are, there were blowdowns. The trunk would begin 50 feet below the trail and put the major branches right on top of the trail. I think this happened at least 3 times. We had to work our way through the branches because of the steep sides and the rocks put in place to cover the marshy areas were not visible through the leaves and small branches. There were many minor blowdowns as well. The 5th mile was much like the last half of the 4th with major blowdowns in some of the coves and minor ones all along the trail. The old blowdowns in the burned section were continuous and very frustrating due to my wife's knee. The constant extra bending caused it to hurt more and more, but she was great. I could tell it hurt, but she kept going. Leaving the burned section and getting back into the woods was a relief until we realized that we were running out of daylight. The 6th mile taking us into Adams gap was a race against the daylight, blowdowns, and my wife's knee. There were several minor blowdowns that we got through easily, but about 1/2 a mile from Adam's gap, there is a marshy area and another blowdown. My camera came off my belt three times going through this one. The branches kept grabbing it and pulling the velcro loose. Having to fight the branches, stone and mud didn't help my wife's knee either. Shortly after that, we heard the sound of a car on the road and soon saw the road itself. Night fell and we continued on for the last 1/4 mile in the dark with our headlamps. Although I don't recommend it, it was possible due to the large amount of quartz in the trailway. My blue LED lights picked out the quartz like beacons and we never got more than a couple of feet off the trail. We came out at Adams Gap about 7:15 pm, thanked God for bringing us out safely and headed to Cracker Barrel for Supper.

Date Hiked::
05/15/04
Name:
bryan
Email:
URL:
www.auburn.edu/~allenbb

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Starting at Adams Gap with a friend: Hiked the Skyway -> Chinnabee -> And hiked the road back to Adams Gap. The road hike wasn't planned, but the weather was getting bad and we were both outta shape. The trail in May was overgrown really really bad in parts, as one could imagine. Stopping for a minute in certain sections you could hear and feel the ticks jumping off of the trees. I found about 10 ticks on me over all. Chiggers infested me also, as I noticed by trips end. Bugs weren't much of a problem though. Stumbled upon 2 snakes. The first was a small Northern Ringneck which was just sitting there on the trail, then came at us! I found that strange, but rather funny also because my friend was really freaked out by it. The other was a massive water moccasin, but we didn't get as close to it and it scattered away pretty fast. The burnt land was an interesting site, plus it was a break from bushwhacking. I'd definately bring a machete. The shelter on Chinabee is great! We didn't stay that trip, but I'll be sure to go back sometime. The trail was overall moderate if I don't count the underbrush. It was vey difficult overwise. I have done most hiking in the winter and this was honestly a new experience for me.

Date Hiked::
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Trip Report (11-12 November 2003) GENERAL INFORMATION: Porter Gap is near mile marker 54 on hwy. 77 south east of Talladega, Alabama. (GPS N33.19.984, W086 01.577 (about 1000ft elevation). Justin, a young fellow working at the Cheaha store and going to school ferried me from Cheaha to Porter Gap. He is willing to provide this service to others. I gave him $20 for his effort. Call Cheaha (1-800-252-7275) and go to the campground choice. Bookings at the campground are handled at the Cheaha Store. Ask for Justin. DO NOT DRIVE YOU CAR ON THE SECTION OF SKYWAY (600-2) BETWEEN CHANDLER SPRINGS AND CLAIRMONT GAP (WHERE GUNTERTOWN ROAD CROSSES 600-2. This section of Skyway has deep ruts and stiff limbs sticking out into the road. I made the drive and regret it. I have terrible scratches on my truck because the ruts, gullys, were so wide and deep that I had no choice but to go into the brush to move forward. Turning around was no option. This was a dry season in the area. A Louisiana hiking club was on the mountain. Two of their cars were parked at Porter Gap.

Date Hiked::
10/08/03
Name:
Bill Cox
Email:
wjcjec@juno.com
URL:

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My dog and I hiked (counterclockwise) the Pinhoti (Adams Gap north), Chinnabee Silent, and Skyway Loop trails on 8 and 9 October 2003. The leaves are just now hinting that fall colors are just around the corner. The weather was perfect, upper 70s during the days, upper 50s at night, and no rain. There was plenty of water, although the wet water streams near Adams Gap on the Skyway Loop were dry. This was strange because most of the other streams had some water flow. I do not know the exact distance I hiked because people differ when giving the length of the trails. The Forrest service would say I hiked about17.3 miles. Other postings on this web site would say I hiked about 18.7 miles. Regardless, I’ll tell you how long each section took me to hike and you can factor that in when you plan your trip. Each trail differed as to strengths and weaknesses. The Pinhoti offered the best Mountain vistas, the Chinnabee offered the best shelter and creek side hiking, and the Skyway offered the smoothest trail with great forest solitude and hillside views. All of the trails allowed you to enjoy wildlife. I particularly enjoyed the turkeys I jumped three different times and the blue herons. These big birds really smack the trees when they try to fly through the forest. (If you live south of Montgomery, I recommend you take the eastern side of the mountains to get to Cheaha Park. I’ve used both sides and I find the route I like the best to be Montgomery to 231N to 9N to 49N to 281 west, which ends at Adams Gap.) Adams Gap (N33 24.242, W085 52.464) north on the Pinhoti to the Chinnabee Silent trail intersection (N33 25.415, W085 49.818). This was by far the most difficult of the three trails because of the climbing required coupled with rocky footing. The distance is either 5.3 or 6 miles. I hiked it in 3 hours. The trail had a lot of vegetation encroachment the first hour. Markings are lacking although you can usually see where you need to go. However, I think you might have more difficulty once the leaves fall in mass. There is one particularly difficult spot on the north side of a knoll where a fire caused a lot of damage several years ago. This knoll is about 1 hour from the start. At about the 2-hour point, you must climb the south side of a mountain. This climb is almost constantly on rocks and boulders. The good news is that this area is really well marked. If it were not so well marked, you could not find the path. My compliments to the people that marked this section. They did a heck of a job, both in numbers of markers and using markers indicating changes in the path’s direction. There are several camping spots near and at the top of the mountain where the trails cross. There was also good water about 100 feet south of the crossing. The trail is “near” the edge but too far to view the mountain vista. Not to fear, there are plenty of places giving you access to the side so you can see the mountain vista. Pinhoti/Chinnabee intersection (N33 25.415, W085 49.818) to the Skyway Loop (N33 27.383, W085 52.329). This trail is unspectacular until you get near the shelter and the Cheaha Falls (N33 27.152 W085 51.125). The distance is around 3 miles and I hiked it in 1.5 hours. The trail is hard to find for about 200 yards at the beginning. The trail crosses boulders and rocks and there are no markers. Eventually you will find markers and it is an easy trail to follow from there. I disliked this section of the trail because it was very rocky with little vista. The rocky footing prevented me for really enjoying the woods because I was looking at the trail instead of my surroundings. There is potable water across from the outhouse at Turnipseed Campgrounds. The Falls are really nice and there are plenty of places to play in the water. The shelter has one of the best vistas of all shelters I have visited. I planned my trip to stay the night at the shelter because of its view. From the Shelter to the Skyway Loop crossing is supposed to be about 2.5 miles. I hiked it in 1 hour. This section of the Chinnabee Silent trail is really nice. You have sections of woodlands and sections along side the Chinnabee creek. A very peaceful and enjoyable trail. Skyway Loop/Chinnabee Silent trail intersection (N33 27.383, W085 52.329) to Adams Gap (N33 24.242, W085 52.464). This trail, according to the Forrest Service, is 6 miles. I think it is longer because it is an easy trail, as far as speed is concerned, and it took me about 3.75 hours to hike. I was originally dismayed when I turned onto this trail. You could follow the path but the vegetation encroachment was terrible. This cleared out within ½ mile. This trail has only one place with a mountain vista. This trail is really fun. It has great ridge trails and woodland views across hollows and creeks. The trail is mostly dirt, and thus absent the rocky trails the other two trails contained. There were plenty of water sources although they were fewer the closer I got to Adams Gap. There were plenty of wilderness campsites along the trail, particularly where it crossed the larger creeks.

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Last Updated: April 2003

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