Backpack to McDill Point

Cheaha Trailhead

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)
Show More
RT Distance 7.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 250 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

One of the best hikes in Alabama!

Mcdill Point can be a shorter backpacking trip or a fun day hike! It offers 3 major lookout points that are some of the best spots at Cheaha State Park. Hike the loop clockwise for the full loop trail or counter clockwise for a quicker trip to the overlooks. This is part of the Pinhoti Trail so make sure you stay on the correct trail.

Great Day Hike or Stay and Camp

Views are beautiful at the point! Kids enjoyed checking out the plane wreckage and climbing around looking for caves. Will definitely be back to camp the area. Plenty of places to set up a tent or hammock. I imagine the sunset and night sky would be gorgeous from this point.

Pinhoti trail map resource

Have not been to McDill Point, but have hiked other parts of the Pinhoti....a good resource for info is http://www.pinhotitrailalliance.org 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!


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