ApproachYou will need to have two cars (one at either end of the hike) or make arrangements to have someone give you a ride back to your starting point. Begin the trek at Adam's Gap. You can reach the Gap by following the signs to Cheaha State Park. Follow State Highway 281 until you see the parking area and a sign on the west side of the road. This is the point where the paved road stops and a gravel road begins. Park your car here.
The Pinhoti Trail is marked with painted "turkey feet" that are usually white. Unlike the Appalachian Trail, the markers are irregular and sometimes poorly places. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR THEM. Also, where the Pinhoti connects with the Odum and Chinnabee Silent Trails, the "turkey feet" trail markers have been painted over with blue blazes such that all three trails have the same blazing. USE YOUR MAP!!!
Route DescriptionThis hike is 10.8 miles long (17.3 km). Begin the hike eastward out of the Gap up a very steep hill. The trail disappears into thick woods and will skirt to the left of the ridge and continue on for several miles. There was a forest fire in this area (2001) so the route can be hard to follow in a couple of places. You may have to wander a bit, but if you follow a logical route (the path of least resistance) you will eventually find the real trail again.
Eventually the trail will turn noticeably southward and begin getting very steep. You will move up the mountain, gaining 700 feet of elevation until you reach more level and rocky ground. You are very near Odum Point (elevation 2,342 feet) The trail meanders around in a generally northeast direction.
Continue on for another mile and a half. You will reach an obvious trail junction with numerous good campsites around. In this area you will find the ONLY reliable water source along the entire trek.
Follow the trail northward along the left flank of the ridge. There are some very nice views to your west. After another two miles the trail makes an abrupt turn to the left. Occassionally there will be water found here in the buckle of the trail (where it begins turning back southward about 120 degrees to the left from the direction of your previous heading). The trail will make an almost complete, albeit very large, circle that follows the left side of the mountain.
After a short hike further, you will come to another trail junction. The Pinhoti continues northward to your right. However, if you take the short left fork you pass by an interesting plane crash site and come to a very panoramic view from McDill Point.
Follow the trail through very rocky terrain northward. Pay close attention to the trail markers in this area because some of them are hard to spot. Other markers are placed slightly off course so stay alert for signs of the true route. You will go up and over Hernandez Peak (elevation 2,344 feet). Continue following the ridgeline. You should also be able to see some radio towers that sit almost directly on top of Cheaha Mountain. These can be used as very obvious landmarks.
Follow the trail several miles and past several other trails. Eventually you will cross a road and come to the top of Cheaha Moutain. Once you hit the road you can end your trek at the Ranger operated convenience store that is very near the summit. To reach the summit follow the road past the gate and take the right fork.
The true summit of the mountain has a picturesque stone tower built on it and very pretty views.
Essential GearBackpacking gear, plenty of water.
Be advised: There are numerous snakes in this area... even if you do not see them. Don't put your hands or feet where you cannot see them. Copperheads are especially plentiful from April until October.