Hike the Cave Creek/Pinhoti Trail Loop

Rate this Adventure Cheaha Trailhead

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. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Day Pack
  • Hiking Boots
  • Snacks
  • Camera/Phone
  • Trekking Poles (optional)
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RT Distance 7.2 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

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