Weogufka State For­est, Alabama

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NOT ONLY ARE lo­cal non­prof­its buy­ing up pri­vate land to reroute the Pin­hoti’s road walks onto wilder­ness trails, but they also want to ex­tend the Ap­palachian Trail to where the Pin­hoti crosses Flagg Moun­tain, the south­ern­most 1,000-foot peak in the Ap­palachian Range. It’s big­ger than Ge­or­gia’s Springer Moun­tain, where throngs of hik­ers (and their tent cities) have over­run the south­ern ter­mi­nus of the AT. Ad­vo­cates say Flagg’s size and CCC cab­ins, which could be adapted for hik­ers, will re­lieve overuse at the cur­rent AT start­ing point. Long trail leg­end and for­mer AT record holder Jen­nifer Pharr Davis is on board: In March, she’ll thru-hike Alabama’s 170-mile por­tion of the Pin­hoti Trail to raise aware­ness for the un­der­rated route, which ducks through quiet, leafy cor­ri­dors, fords small creeks, and passes rocky over­looks above the rolling green hills.

You can fol­low in her foot­steps. Hik­ers (and their tourism dol­lars) can do a lot to per­suade lo­cal res­i­dents to sup­port pro­posed Pin­hoti Trail im­prove­ments by demon­strat­ing the eco­nomic ben­e­fits that come from wel­com­ing walk­ers (see page 41). From the Flagg Moun­tain sum­mit, hike a 4-mile lol­lipop-loop on new trail: Fol­low yel­low then white blazes to his­toric CCC cab­ins, then make a steep, .3-mile climb for views of Alabama’s rounded sum­mits. Re­trace your steps on the re­turn, and turn it into an overnight if you’d like; dis­persed camp­ing is al­lowed. Tip: Time it for mid-Oc­to­ber when the slopes ex­plode with crim­son and yel­low.

TRAILHEAD Flagg Moun­tain (32.9729, -86.3487) SEA­SON Year-round PER­MIT None CON­TACT pin­hoti­trailal­

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