Backpack to McDill Point

Alabama Cheaha Trailhead

Added by John Sides

One of the best overlooks in Alabama, McDill Point is a perfect destination for an overnight backpacking trip. Hike a very scenic section of the Pinhoti Trail, passing through the Cheaha Wilderness in Talladega National Forest. Primitive campsites near the boulder cliffs make it easy for overnight hikers to catch awesome views of sunset and starry skies at the overlook.

Start hiking at Cheaha Trailhead, located at the far end of a parking area just before you get to Cheaha State Park on Highway 281. Follow the Cave Creek Trail until you reach the Pinhoti connector, and hang a right to take the Pinhoti Trail northbound. Look for a sign that points to McDill overlook, and follow a side trail for the last quarter mile. Along this side trail you’ll pass the wreckage of a small plane that supposedly crashed back in 1972. Look for blue and white pieces of the plane off the trail to your right. Keep going and you’ll eventually come to a campsite that would comfortably fit 3 or 4 tents, only about 100 yards shy of the overlook. Camping in this area is a great option because you’re close to the cliffs, but protected from the wind. There are also a few spots right at the cliffs that are big enough for a small tent or hammocks and have better views, but are a bit breezier. The boulder cliffs are an awesome place to hang out at sunset or for stargazing, just remember to keep a headlamp on you! The next day, backtrack the quarter mile and continue on the Pinhoti back towards Cheaha State Park. Several rocky outcroppings provide some good views along the way.

Probably the most beautiful time of year to hike in this area is late Fall, when most of the leaves around Cheaha have changed color and are spectacular!

Also, it can be challenging to find a good convenient map for this area. Because there are several trail junctions, consider snapping a quick photo of the detailed map at the trailhead on your fully charged camera or phone.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent or hammock
  • Food
  • Stove and fuel
  • Cookware
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Map (or photo of map)
  • Water for 2 days (no reliable water sources)
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



7.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

250 Feet



Dog Friendly

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How to Get There

4 months ago

Pinhoti trail map resource

Have not been to McDill Point, but have hiked other parts of the Pinhoti....a good resource for info is According to this guide you would go Southbound on the Pinhoti from the Cheaha Trailhead. Will definitely have to check this out the next time I am in the area!

4 months ago

5 months ago

McDill Point (June 8th, 2016)

One of the most beautiful views I've ever seen before. We camped at McDill Point and it was so nice to wake up to the cool morning air and breath taking views. We are definitely coming back to do hike the area again!

5 months ago

5 months ago

McDill Point Is Breathtaking

It takes about 3 and a half hours to get to Mcdill. On the pinhoti connector as you come down hill the sign will say highway 281, follow it. It is really the pinhoti trail. Other that that this was such a cool hike and the primitive campsites on the connector are sweet. Also driving down highway 281 is beautiful coming in.

5 months ago

Added by John Sides

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