Hike the Cave Creek/Pinhoti Trail Loop

Cheaha Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Cole Lanier

Hike along the ridges of the highest points in Alabama, including a stretch on the famous Pinhoti Trail.

The Cave Creek Trail is a very comfortable, three-mile trail with some amazing views and relatively little elevation gain. At roughly two miles along the trail, you’ll come to a rocky overlook facing the south. This area provides a nice place to stop and rest or even eat a nice picnic lunch. Roughly another half-mile down the trail, you’ll come to the namesake: Cave Creek

From here, you can either turn around and make the trail a simple out-and-back or continue another half-mile to the Pinhoti Connector trail, a steep but short trail connecting the two trails and make it a loop, which is what we decided to do.

If you choose to take the Connector Trail, you will join the Pinhoti on the edge of a large rockfall area about four miles from the trailhead. The rockfall is truly the toughest part of the trail, since there is no clearly-defined trail and navigating the stretch takes some clambering over the rocks. Boots are recommended for stability during this part of the trail. However, it is a brief stretch, lasting roughly a quarter of a mile. Just follow the blue marks on the trees to make sure you stay with the trail, and rest when you need to. The views to the left, looking north, provide a good distraction from the fatigue during a water break. After you get through the rockfall, the trail remains flat for about a mile before it switches back and begins a steady ascent for about a half a mile. At the five-mile point, the trail switches back again and follows the ridge along the top of the mountain adjacent to Cheaha, with a breathtaking overlook to the north of Oxford, Anniston and Talladega. This also make a great spot to sit, take a water break and enjoy the views before the final two-mile push back to the car.

The trail will rise very quickly after the overlook, so take your time catching your breath. At about the 5.75-mile mark, you’ll reach the summit of the mountain. For the last mile-ish, it’s all downhill back to the trailhead. The entire loop of the Cave Creek and Pinhoti Trails is a little over seven miles and took us about four hours, at a very relaxed pace. 

Distance

7.2 Miles RT

Type

Loop

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Nearby Lodging

Cartersville / Cassville-White KOA

Cartersville, Georgia

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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