Mill Shoals Creek, flowing off the eastern fringe of Talladega Mountain, is home to two of the few water features in the Cheaha Wilderness part of Talladega National Forest. Once you cruise past the two waterfalls, start on a clockwise loop that will take you through thickets of mountain laurel, through boulder fields, and pass grand rock cliffs, before reaching the grand destination - a beautiful vista on a rock outcrop which provides unobstructed views westward into the heart of Alabama. Finish the loop with some boulder field hiking and back down Mill Shoals Creek. This hike occurred on Sunday, April 24th, 2015. My plan was to hike the Nubbin Creek Trail to its terminus at the Odum Scout Trail. From here on, I'd turn right and take the Odum Scout Trail to its terminus at the Pinhoti Trail. Next, I would turn right and take the Pinhoti Trail to the Cave Creek Connector. Then, I would turn right onto Cave Creek Connector, connect to Cave Creek Trail, and turn right to follow the Cave Creek Trail to its terminus back at the Nubbin Creek Trail. I would finish the hike by returning the way I came on Nubbin Creek Trail.
Cheaha Wilderness is the first of two wilderness areas in Alabama's Talladega National Forest. The wilderness is named after Alabama's highest peak, Cheaha Mountain. The wilderness is located in the southern half of Talladega National Forest, and is shaped as a thin rectangle east of Highway 281. A large trail systems lies across the wilderness and surrounding areas, making it easy to travel through different portions of the wilderness. One of the trails in particular, Chinnabee Silent Trail, starts at Lake Chinnabee in the western end of Talladega National Forest, and meanders a half dozen miles through the area, with the last 2 in the Cheaha Wilderness, before terminating at the Pinhoti Trail. This hike occurred on Saturday, July 26th, 2014. My plan was to hike the entire Chinnabee Silent Trail from west to east, and return the same way.
There's wilderness even in Alabama. In an area of low-elevation ridges and long valleys lies the Cheaha Widerness of the Talladega National Forest. While this is only a mini version of the mountains further north, the Talladega National Forest has numerous hiking trails, with many leading to grand views. While this wilderness is not as "wild" and rugged as the ones in Georgia and North Carolina, it still isn't an easy hike. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 17th, 2014. My plan was to drive up the Talladega Skyway to the Cheaha Wilderness Trailhead. I would hike the Cave Creek Trail to the Pinhoti Connector, follow the Pinhoti Connector to the Pinhoti Trail, and follow the Pinhoti Trail back to the parking lot. Along the way, I would stop at McDill Overlook for what was clearly the most beautiful view I have seen in Alabama, if not one of the most beautiful views I have seen in Alabama and Georgia combined.
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Year 1: 540.0 Miles
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Year 5: 253.4 Miles