Outside Magazine calls Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail one of the best hikes to take on earth in 2020

Conservation Fund map of the Pinhoti Trail. Graphic from the Pinhoti Trail Alliance

In its latest edition, the nationally acclaimed outdoor adventure publication Outside Magazine recommended the 335 mile Alabama/Georgia Pinhoti Trail as one of the best long-distance hikes to take in the world this year.

Birmingham Alabama
Outside Magazine’s 25 Best Towns of 2017 – photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Who else made the global “hike to-do list?”

  • Dientes Circuit, Navarino Island, Chile
  • Chinese Trail, Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana
  • Laugavegur Trail, Southern Highlands, Iceland
  • Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
  • Jomolhari Loop Trek, Paro Valley, Bhutan
  • John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada, California

Talk about good company.

The list appears in Outside Magazine’s February 15, 2020 feature story:

7 Long-Distance Hike You Should Take This Year

History of the Pinhoti Trail

The Pinhoti is relatively a new trail compared to the ones that made Outside Magazine’s global list. The construction of the Alabama Pinhoti Trail began in the early 1970s within the Talladega National Forest in east-central and northeast Alabama. In 1977, the Talladega National Forest portions of the trail were designated a National Recreation Trail.

In 1983, at the dedication of the Cheaha Wilderness, Mike Leonard of the Alabama Wilderness Coalition proposed connecting the Pinhoti to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Subsequently, by the late 1990s and early 2000s, U.S. Forest Service and Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust acquired major tracts “on” and along the trail. While the land was being secured and protected, countless volunteers blazed the trail.

A ceremony was held at Cheaha State Park on March 16, 2008, commemorating the connection of the Pinhoti Trail with the Appalachian Trail.

Only 50-60 miles from Birmingham

There is no need to travel thousands of miles to experience a world-class trail.

The Pinhoti Trail’s southern terminus is on Flagg Mountain, near Weogufka, Alabama, which is about 60 miles from Birmingham. It takes about an hour and a half to get there on rural roads. The trail’s northern terminus is in Georgia where it joins the Benton MacKaye Trail.

If you are interested in taking a day hike on the Pinhoti, the outdoor digital publication Roots Rated recently published an article identifying 5-day hikes you can take on the Pinhoti.

Fun fact: The Pinhoti Trail crosses two federally designated wilderness areas – the Cheaha Wilderness and Dugger Mountain Wilderness.

Want to Learn More?

Interested in exploring the Pinhoti Trail? Connect with the Pinhoti Trail Alliance and the Alabama Hiking Trail Society.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.