In the Appalachian Mountains near Anniston in the Talladega National Forest, the 100 mile Pinhoti National Recreation Trail System is a fabulous trek through oak, pine and hickory forests with great vistas of the Cheaha Mountains. The trail can be dry, so bring plenty of water. Keep an eye out for turkeys and armadillos.
The Pinhoti Trail is marked its entire length with metal, diamond-shaped markers tacked to trees. Also, sections north of Cheaha Mountain may be blazed with blue paint. Markers should be within sight distance at any point along the trail, except for the portion that lies within the Cheaha Wilderness. Here, the trail is unmarked to maintain a wilderness experience.
Side trails in the Cheaha Wilderness and Cheaha State Park are a part of the Pinhoit Trail System. They include the Nubbin Creek, Odum Scout, Cave Creek, Skyway Loop, and Chinnabee Silent Trails.
To reach the hiking trailhead from Birmingham, take US20 east 65 miles. Exit onto US431 and head south. Look for signs for the Talladega Scenic Drive, which will lead you 14 miles to Cheaha State Park. Youll find trail parking about a half-mile east of the park.
The southern trailhead is located between milepost 54 and 55 on state Hwy 77. Take Interstate 20 East from Burmingham to Hwy 77. Go south on Hwy 77 to the trailhead.
The northerm trailhead is nine miles east of Piedmont on US 278. It is a large gravel parking lot on the south side of the road with an information board (that did not contain any information when I was there). The parking lot is visible from the road, it is not marked but there is a sign on the other side of the road for the trail, so keep your eyes out for it.
Overall, Pinhoti National Recreation Trail is the 2nd most popular hiking trail of all 15 hikes in Alabama.