Prep Like a Pro

Backpacker - - Contents - CAL­LIE THORN­TON Cheaha State Park Man­ager

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.

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