Hiked By: Darwin
Total Miles: 335 (complete thru-hike)
Day 1- 12 miles
Snuggles dropped Toasted Toad and me off at what we thought was the southern terminus of the Pinhoti Trail. From our research, we thought the trailhead was at the top of Flagg Mountain in Alabama. However, this was not the case. We found the terminus thanks to the caretaker at Flagg Mountain Cabins, Nimble Will. About two miles into the trail we came to our first shelter finding some gear and supplies. The first six miles of trail are in the woods. Almost exactly at the six-mile mark, we started six miles of road walking. Due to a delayed start, our twelve-mile day put us literally at a road intersection. If it wasn’t for trail magic offered by a local, Toasted and I would have needed to walk about six to seven more miles to camp back in the woods.
Day 2 – 18 miles?
Started the day back with about six miles of road walking even walking through neighborhoods. Finally leaving the paved road to return to the woods on a dirt forest service road. It seems that part of this day’s section of trail is newer. From the information/guide we used, we were expecting more road walking around eleven miles prior to Bull Gap, however, we were rerouted and stayed in the woods.
Day 3 – 8 miles
Due to a water filter malfunction, Toasted Toad and I started hiking late into the afternoon. We got picked up at Bull Gap by a trail angel and drove into town to dry out from rain the night before and to get a replacement filter. Most of the trail today was in the woods with mild terrain.
Day 4 – 20 miles
A few water crossings today, waterfalls and overlooks. Overall mild terrain all in the woods.
Day 5 – 17.5 miles
Steep climbs! We had lots of ups and downs today reminding both Toad and me of the Appalachian Trail. We entered into the Cheaha Wilderness, which proved to be some pretty challenging terrain. The day ended at Cheaha State Park. There Toad and I got a burger at the park resturant and resupplied at the park’s general store.
Day 6 – 17 miles
We had a very wet and foggy start to the day causing slippery trail. The roots and rocks along the trail were somewhat treacherous. Encountered our third stream ford today. Finished the day out at a “Trail Magic Camp” that was set up for Toad and I. We enjoyed brats, beer, and dry place to set up our tents for the night under tarps.
Day 7 – 9 miles
Made our first one hundred miles today! Hiked a smaller day to head into Heflin, AL for a shower and resupply. Our day was hiked completely in the woods. My hiking partner Toasted Toad has decided to leave trail due to lack of daylight and knee issues.
Day 8 – 21 miles
Joined by another hiker Leonidas who is hiking about a hundred-mile section of trail since Toasted Toad left. Hit a large section of trail that was flooded out due to the seasonal rainfall. Hiked passed a historic Alabama landmark the Shoal Creek Baptist Church. We found a campground still closed for the season to camp at for the night. Overall trail terrain was wooded and again very mild to flat.
Day 9 – 24 miles
We hiked in a lush Pine Forest today and entered into the Dugger Wilderness. We started moving noticeably up in elevation. This section of trail marks where the terrain becomes a little more difficult. Until now the terrain has been very mild. Climbed Dugger Mountain and Oakey Mountain which were both very steep and difficult climbs. We camped at Oakey Mt. Shelter for the night. So far most of the shelters on the Pinhoti have been newer and well maintained.
Day 10 – 21 miles
We started the day hiking on the Chief Ladiga Trail an old railroad bed and another piece of Alabama history. We hiked alongside a “swampy” area along with a section of trail called “The Pits” that looked like sinkholes. Stopped into Hawkins Hollow Shelter for lunch, which proved to be another really nice shelter stocked with snacks and community gear. We crossed a footbridge today and descended a small ladder adding a little variety to the dirt trail. The highlight of the day was crossing into Georgia! We camped at Spring Creek Shelter, the first shelter for us in Georgia.
Day 11 – 9 miles
The trail took us into Cave Springs, GA via an old service road that then turns into a paved road leading us down the town’s sidewalk. We hiked a smaller day in order to resupply and refuel on town food. We ended up staying in a camper in the Town Square provided by a trail angel. We also enjoyed some of the best Catfish I’ve ever eaten at the Southern Flavor Resturant. A must stop for any hiker!!!
Day 12 – 32 miles
Today was full of mostly paved road walking (around twenty miles) with only a small portion of about twelve miles on an actual dirt trail. The benefit of road walking is stopping at a few gas stations and stores for snacks and lunch. After several miles of paved road walking the trail turned back towards the woods and into the Simms Mt. Rail Trail another old railroad bed. The rail trail is very smooth and proved to be easy hiking. We hiked to the end of the rail trail hitting the two hundred mile marker of the Pinhoti and headed into Rome, GA where Leonidas left the trail.
Day 13 – 21.6 miles
Started the day out solo and hiking into the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. My legs are really starting to talk back to me after so much road walking and big days. Today provided some softer trail and smoother terrain with old service roads, which is a nice change from the paved. I ended the day at the West Armuchee Trailhead before heading into Summerville, GA thanks to a trail angel to rest and soak my legs.
Day 14 – 23 miles
Started the day off with more miles on forest service roads along with a few small water crossings. Had some great views on top of John’s Mountain after some steep climbing to the summit. One of the best views I’ve had in Georgia. Attempted to camp at Snake Gap, however, I hiked on three more miles in order to find some kind of campsite.
Day 15 – 13.5 miles
Hiked into Dalton, GA to resupply and rest up. I stayed at the Super 8 Motel, resupplied at a Kroger Supermarket, and ate ALOT of Pizza. My legs are still feeling very sore due to the trail returning to the road tomorrow, I wanted to rest up as much as possible.
Day 16 – 34 miles
Started a very large section of road walking out of Dalton, GA today; around twenty-four miles before hitting ten more trail miles. Made camp next to a creek.
Day 17 – 23 miles
Hiked primarily dirt trail, which has been great the weather has however been humid and sticky. I had a very big stream crossing today and continued hiking in bog-like terrain/conditions. I decided to go ahead and push it to the end of the trail. I however took a wrong turn and hiked three miles on another trail. Ended up walking a road for a while until I realized what I had done. Backtracked about 0.5 miles and made camp for the night.
Day 18 – 6 miles?
Due to a wrong turn on Mountaintown Creek Trail, I was unable to finish the Pinhoti as planned on Day 17. The terrain was for the most part smooth today with multiple knee deep water crossings. Made it to the Northern Terminus of the Pinhoti which meets up with the Benton Mckaye Trail. The Pinhoti’s Northern Terminus ends in the middle of the woods forcing me to hike another two to three miles up a mountain in order to find a major road crossing to head back into the closest town.
Helpful Links When Planning A Pinhoti Hike:
Pinhoti Trail Alliance
At the time of my hike there was not a lot of current information on the Pinhoti. There are currently several companies now interested in having hikers document notes and GPS coordinates which would be a great opportunity for someone planning a thru-hike to look into. Please do LOTS of your own research before heading out!