Prep Like a Pro
Hike Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail with a local’s gear picks and know-how.
CHEAHA STATE PARK plays host to just 4 miles of the 339-mile Pinhoti Trail (page 43), but according to park manager (and Pinhoti thru-hiker) Callie Thornton, panoramic views of the Talledega Range and steep, rocky stretches make those 4 miles some of the trail’s best. The Pinhoti winds northeast from Flagg Mountain, Alabama, through northwestern Georgia. As it links together small towns and parks like Cheaha, the trail funnels hikers—and their spending money—into local economies. It’s this interplay between sustainable growth and dedicated conservation that kept Callie Thornton checking for job openings at Cheaha ever since she started backpacking seven years ago (she finally landed the gig in 2017). People often think Alabama is flat, she says, but it’s not—and the views you’ll find atop rocky summits here will change your perception of hiking in the South.