Friday, March 03, 2023

The Pinhoti - Alabama and Georgia's Long Trail

The Pinhoti Trail is a 337-mile trail starting at Flagg Mountain Alabama in the southern Appalachians

and extending up into Georgia to meet up with the Benton McKaye Trail. It is also part of the Eastern Continental Trail or ECT that spans from the Keys in Florida all the way up to the International Appalachian Trail or IAT. I've had the opportunity to hike a good deal of the ECT, of which the Pinhoti is a part, from the Florida Trail down in Big Cypress, Alabama and Georgia on the Pinhoti, heading along the Benton McKaye trail or BMT, and linking with the Appalachian Trail which I’ve done twice. 

The Pinhoti Trail is managed by many volunteers in conjunction with the Pinhoti Trail Alliance. There you can find links to hiking the trail, including shuttles and hostels along the way - of which there are several. 

Relaxing at the Hearn Inn

The most famous and robust one and a great advocate for the trail is the Pinhoti Outdoor Center, which helps with shuttles and has a hostel for hikers. You'll also want to download the FarOut app for your phone which now includes the Pinhoti Trail and provides an invaluable resource for all trail info, campsites, water sources, town info, etc.

The trail itself is divided into sections, some of which include fairly lengthy road walking. 

Road walk and the familiar turkey blaze for the trail

I did this trail last year in March and found it to be a very interesting trail. The weather was good as far as it wasn’t too hot or buggy. But I did have to contend with several severe weather situations, being springtime. Having adequate rain gear and plans for dealing with weather and raging creeks is a good idea. The Pinhoti Trai Alliance has a downloadable data booklet that gives ideas for navigating flood waters should the need arise.  

Roaring water after rain. There are several hazardous crossings

The road walks were not as obnoxious as they could’ve been because I was used to it from the Florida Trail. But for those not used to hiking by way of roads, this can sometimes be a difficulty. In Georgia, I did much of the road walking on a Sunday and this helped with traffic.

The trail does have a few trailside shelters. 

There are several good places to stay along the way as well as places re-supply. I had the opportunity to stay with several good friends in the Georgia section of the trail, which allowed me the opportunity to do some slackpacking and helped a knee condition that sprouted from doing too many road miles ( I think from now on, 20-mile days are out)

Along the trail in Georgia

I recommended the Pinhoti Trail for its diverse beauty and mountains that do exist in Alabama. And there are hikers now that are doing it in conjunction with the AT in what’s being called the Bama to Baxter thru-hike.

Cheaha State Park - the highest point in AL

  At the  Border of AL and GA

The Finish 


Check out my Florida Trail Blog

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