Alabama backpacking destination

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 14-21, 1996
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Alabama backpacking destination
Q: Could you suggest a mid-March backpacking destination in the Southeast? I would like to bring my two dogs along for the trip.
Pam Niddrie
Durham, NC
[email protected]

A: I recommend heading down to the Talladega National Forest in east central Alabama, where the 100-mile-long Pinhoti Trail winds through long leaf pine, oak, and hickory forests. For a short, six-mile out-and-back walk, hike out to the massive outcroppings at McDill Point, with its panoramic views of the Cheaha Mountains.

Or, opt for a two-night trek and continue 12 miles from McDill Point to Caney Head--where you'll stand 1,600 feet above a valley doused with color in spring or fall--and then to Adams Gap, another eight miles beyond. On day three, hike the final six miles to Clairmont Gap and Forest Service Road 600. To find the trailhead, head west out of Atlanta on I-20, cross the state line, and take U.S. 431 south until you see signs for the Talladega Scenic Drive. This will take you 14 miles to Cheaha State Park, and trail parking is just a half-mile east of the park. For additional information and maps, call the Talladega ranger station at 205-362-2909. To pick up the necessary camping permit, call the Cheaha State Park headquarters at 205-488-5115.

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