The Trail Details
The Pinhoti ( pin ~ HOE ~ tee) is a premier southern Appalachian long distance hiking trail and it is also a southeast region Appalachian Trail connector. The total distance of the trail is 334.9 miles. There are 171.2 miles in Alabama (150.1 woods hike & 21.1 miles of road walk) and 163.7 miles in Georgia, which makes the Pinhoti the longest hiking trail in either state.
The trails northern terminus is in northwest Georgia, near the town of Blue Ridge, where it intersects with the Benton MacKaye Trail at around BMT mile 70. Hiking east 70 miles on the BMT will put you at Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of America’s trail, better known as the famous Appalachian Trail. The Pinhoti’s southern terminus is in east central Alabama at Flagg Mountain, near the town of Weogufka.
“The original plan for the Appalachian Trail was laid out in 1925 at the first Appalachian Trail Conference. This plan showed a main trail running from Cohutta Mountain in north Georgia to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. This plan also proposed a spur trail from Mt. Washington to Mount Katahdin in Maine and one from the Georgia Mountains into Northern Alabama. The spur in Maine was completed in 1940, while the spur into Alabama has yet to be blazed. However, the effort to make this Alabama spur trail a reality is underway and is the result of persistent work of many groups, individuals, agencies and organizations.”
Construction of the Alabama Pinhoti Trail began in 1970 within the Talladega National Forest in east central and northeast Alabama. In 1977, the Talledega National Forest portions of the trail were designated a National Recreation Trail. By 1983, 60 miles (100 km) of trail had been constructed and Mike Leonard of the Alabama Wilderness Coalition proposed connecting the Pinhoti to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. The U.S. Forest Service and Alabama’s Forever Wild land trust aided in the acquisition of major wilderness tracts. The Pinhoti Trail currently travels through some of those acquired lands and others in which it is planned to go through.
The Pinhoti Trail was completed in February 2008, and officially opened to the public on March 16, 2008. Even though the trail is completed, there are still efforts to improve the trail, mainly involving moving road walk sections of the trail onto trails away from the road.
Appalachian Trail Designation
For many years, Alabama and Georgia hiking groups have been advocating for U.S. Congress to officially designate the Pinhoti Trail as a part of the Appalachian Trail —a move that would make Flagg Mountain the southern terminus of the AT.