Pinhoti Trail

Travel Time : Approximately 1.5 hours
Directions : Take I-20 west to Alabama and exit 199. From exit 199, take AL 9 to dead end at US 78 in Heflin (The Shoal Creek Ranger Station is in Heflin). Turn right, east on US 78 and follow it to Cleburne County Road 61. Turn left on 61 and follow it to Forest Road 500. (Cleburne Co. 61 turns into Forest Road 500.) Turn right on FR 500 and follow it to the sign for the right turn to Coleman Lake.
Information : Call (256) 463-2272 or visit
Reservations : No
Fee : No
Open : Year-round
Talladega National Forest

Turkey tracks mark Talladega National Forest's Pinhoti Trail in Alabama, which runs over 100 miles from Ashland to Piedmont. This long-distance path follows the most southerly extension of the Appalachian Mountains, through the Talladega Range. It traces rugged pine hardwood forests and runs along rock bluffs and clear streams. The Pinhoti's ultimate destination is the Benton McKaye Trail in Georgia, which then connects to the Appalachian Trail .

The Pinhoti has numerous access points. One of the best stretches begins at the Coleman Lake Recreation Area. From here, head south to the Laurel trail shelter. Continue south to Shoal Creek, where you'll find a clear stream with high quality smallmouth bass. You'll later pass Sweetwater and Highrock lakes, as well as Cole Cemetery, where early settlers of this mountain land are buried.

Camping is permitted along the trail but a camping permit (don't worry, it's free) is required during hunting season. The Pinhoti was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1977 and many would like to see it grow. Give this surprisingly attractive and challenging path a try and you will join the ranks of those committed to extending the Pinhoti Trail to more than 220 miles in length.

Published: 30 Jun 2003 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


park finder
step one
Where are you going?

step one
What do you want to do?

+ More Activities

GEARZILLA: The Gorp Gear Blog

Receive Gear Reviews, Articles & Advice

Preview this newsletter »

Ask Questions