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Nick P

South Cheaha Wilderness Loop 12.18.13

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Quote Originally Posted by Matt65 View Post
Completed a day hike yesturday of the South Cheaha Wilderness Loop. I opted for a Clockwise Turnip to Turnip loop via Chinnabee/Pinhoti/Skyway/Chinnabee Trails.

We left the Turnipseed parking area at 6:30am wearing Bright Orange for the Hunters and proceeded the climb up to the Pinhoti. I'm guessing the temp was high 20s, low 30sF. The incline kept me very warm. The trail was marked well to the camp, but as we reached the rocky section markers were limited. Trail path could be distinguised in the leaves/ rocks etc. The views from this section to Adam's Gap were excellent as the sun came up. With the leaves gone for winter, and the clear skies you could see much further than usual. My pictures do not do it justice. We saw no wildlife in this section of the trail, or the entire loop. The previous night had a full near full moon which could have influenced this. Previously I had only completed this section in Summer months, in comparision water was very readily available. 1 bottle of "Tap water"
was seen coming into Adam's Gap. Note that Hang gliders are no longer allowed . We did see a tent set up alongside the trail before we reached Adam's Gap around 10:15am. No other hikers were seen.

From Adam's we hit the Skyway. This was my first time hiking it. Shorter, and much less elevation change than the previous section up and down to Adam's. Trail was in decent shape, white blazes are your markers. Proceed on to Chinnabee.

Chinnabee was excellent as usual. This was the first time I had seen it since the May floods. The amount of damage up stream away from Chinnabee Lake indicates that there was an enormous flood of water. Huge trees were all laid over in the direction of flow. Based on what I saw, anyone camping in this area was lucky that night. This section we were tracked by 3 hunting dogs with collars for an hour or two. We made it back to Turnipseed shortly after 4:00pm.

Pictures will be uploaded soon.

Mr. Hudson's map of this area: http://jahudson.wiki.hoover.k12.al.u...oop+Trail+Maps

The trail notes used were from the PTA, as mentioned I modified the sequence of the loop. Information quoted below from: http://pinhotitrailalliance.org/loopscw.html
South Cheaha Wilderness Loop
Pinhoti / Chinnabee / Skyway Loop Trails

Trail Data
Hike Distance ~ 16.7 miles
SC ~ Small Campsite / At least one tent site.

  • 4.4

LC ~ Large Campsite / At least three tent sites.

  • 3.1, 4.8, 5.4, 5.8, 6.0, 7.6, 7.8, 9.0, 11.0, 12.7, 15.7

TS ~ Trail Shelter / Three sided, open front.

  • 9.2

SW ~ Seasonal Water / Needs rain in the past week.

  • 1.2, 2.5, 3.2, 5.5, 5.9, 6.0, 6.9, 8.2, 16.4

RW ~ Reliable Water / Always available.

  • 7.6, 9.0, 11.0, 11.4, 12.7, 12.8, 15.7


Trail Description
This 16.7 mile counter-clockwise loop begins at the southern end of the Cheaha
Wilderness at the Adams Gap Trailhead. From the parking area, you'll cross over AL 281
and go down the downhill dirt road about 20 feet to the Pinhoti Trail. Turn left on the
Pinhoti and hike 6.0 miles to the Little Caney Head Campsite. Then turn left on the
Chinnabee Silent Trail and hike 5.4 miles to Lake Chinnabee. Just before the lake you'll
turn left on the Skyway Loop Trail and then hike 5.1 miles to the Pinhoti Trail. Turn left
on the Pinhoti and hike 0.2 miles to the Adams Gap Trailhead.

Trail Marking
Minimal Blue Blazes

Trail Guide
0.0 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD / AL 281 ~ 1444' ~ (Photo)

  • From the parking area, cross over AL 281 and go down the downhill dirt road about
    20' and turn left up the hill into the Cheaha Wilderness.

0.1 ~ CHEAHA WILDERNESS BOUNDARY / INFO BOARD ~ 1500' ~ (Photo)
1.2 ~ 2.5 ~ 6 SPRING CROSSINGS ~ 1360' +/- ~ SW
3.1 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 1380' ~ LC

  • There is a fire ring on the left and a spring crossing just up the trail.

3.2 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 1360' ~ SW
3.5 ~ SIGN BOARD / ROAD BED ~ 1460'

  • The trail turns right on the road bed and goes 0.2 miles.

3.7 ~ SIGN BOARD ~ 1575'

  • The trail goes back in the woods on the left. This sign board is off trail 10' on the
    left and is easy to miss.

3.7 ~ STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN ~ 1575'

  • Here is a huge rock garden and there are a lot of tricky little uphill rocky
    switchbacks for the next 0.5 miles. Keep a close watch on the blazes!

4.3 ~ PEARLY GATES ~ 2050'

  • You will have to see it to believe it. Yikes!

4.4 ~ HEAVEN / ROCKY TOP 4 ~ 2135' ~ SC ~ (Photo)


4.8 ~ 5.4 ~ 3 CAMPSITES ~ 2100' +/- ~ LC ~ Good views
5.5 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 2140' ~ SW
5.7 ~ * ROCKY TOP 5 ~ 2160'
5.8 ~ CAMPSITE ~ 2120' ~ LC ~ Good views
5.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ 2120' ~ SW
6.0 ~ LITTLE CANEY HEAD CAMPSITE ~ 2100' ~ LC, SW

  • Turn left at this big intersection on the Chinnabee Silent Trail and start working
    your way down off the ridge.
    LC ~ Little Caney Head is a busy place with 6 fire rings.
    SW ~ The spring is 50' down the CST, on the left.
    WILDFLOWER ~ Mountain Laurel / Late Spring / White

6.9 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW

  • The spring is off trail about 50' to the right, through a Mountain Laurel thicket.
    You'll be able to hear it a lot better than you can see it.

7.6 ~ CREEK CROSSING ~ LC, RW
7.8 ~ TURNIPSEED HUNTER'S CAMP ~ LC

  • The trail goes straight across the camp road. You can go right on the road about 50
    yards to a new outhouse. The old hand pump across the road has been removed
    because of bacteria in the water.

8.0 ~ AL 281 CROSSING / PARKING AREA

  • The trail goes straight across the road.

8.2 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW

  • Cross the spring and the trail turns left.

8.5 ~ SKYWAY MOTORWAY CROSSING

  • The trail goes straight across the road.

9.0 ~ CHEAHA FALLS ~ LC, RW

  • Cross the creek and the trail turns left. The falls are downstream 50' to the left.
    LC ~ There is a large campsite on the right, before the creek crossing.

9.2 ~ CHEAHA FALLS SHELTER ~ TS

  • The trail turns sharp right just past the shelter. The water source for the shelter
    is Cheaha Falls.

10.5 ~ BEETLE CUT
11.0 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW

  • Look for the camp down on the left.

11.2 ~ DEVIL'S DEN FOOT BRIDGE

  • This 75' bridge has good views of the chaos below in Devil's Den.

11.4 ~ TRAIL SIGN / SKYWAY LOOP TRAIL INTERSECTION ~ RW

  • Continue on for another 50' past this sign to the Skyway Loop Trail sign. Turn left
    here and cross the creek.

12.0 ~ ROAD BED CROSSING
12.2 ~ ROAD BED CROSSING
12.7 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW

  • Look for a trail on the right leading to the camp.

12.8 ~ HUBBARD CREEK CROSSING ~ RW
13.7 ~ ROAD BED CROSSING
14.7 ~ ROAD BED CROSSING
15.7 ~ CAMPSITE ~ LC, RW

  • The campsites are on the right and left.

15.8 ~ CCC CHIMNEY

  • Many years ago there was a CCC Park Cabin on this spot. Keep an eye out for the
    uphill switchbacks ahead.

16.4 ~ SPRING CROSSING ~ SW
16.5 ~ PINHOTI TRAIL INTERSECTION ~ 1400'

  • When you come to the intersection, turn left on the Pinhoti and follow the rocky
    trail up to the gap.

16.7 ~ ADAMS GAP TRAILHEAD ~ 1444'
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