North Pinhoti Trail is a 31.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Dalton, Georgia and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
The Pinhoti Trail is a 318 mile long trail system running from Central Alabama to the Blue Ridge Region of Georgia. Some sections are a bit tough, but others are very easy. With easy access along it's length, the Pinhoti makes a good trail for training for that big trip, regardless of your level. This trail is perfect for someone wanting to get into hiking or backpacking. With multiple sections of almost flat terrain divided with mountain ridges, this trail has something to challenge everyone. Access points every 10-25 miles makes it easy to plan a day trip or even a weekend. The Pinhoti also passes through many small towns in addition to some larger ones such as Dalton, GA and Centre, AL. This makes resupply relatively easy compared to a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Let me start by saying I hiked only eight miles of this, four in and four out, not all 30+ miles. It's a quick walk up to the top, from there the next three or so miles is a ridge line hike. Most of it you have views on both sides, albeit seasonal. When the leaves are back it doesn't look like much to be seen for most of it. I was scouting campsites for an overnight when it warms up.
I always hike the dug gap trail head for pinhoti. As far in as time allows and straight back out the same way. It's fun a hike, you have to climb a gravel road to get to the actual trail which usually takes me about twenty minutes to climb. Cell service bc the towers right up there with the trail. The two times I've hiked it I went 7 miles and 5 miles in and out. Really enjoy this hike.
My husband and I have done in section day hikes with 2 cars using the guides from the pinhoti site it is pretty easy to follow, We did from road 100 up to Dug Gap most are 10 miles or less except dug gap to snake creek which is 12 miles, I do Dug gap 4 miles down to hurricane creek trail which comes out to 5.7 miles at least 20 times a year since I live within walking range from hurricane creek trail. I did see a bear once when I went early in the morning, Have seen scat on hurricane creek trail several times
Pilchers Pond to Snake Head Gap
When I hike, I like to have some interesting points or destination. We started at Pilchers Pond and hiked along ridge to Snake Gap. Not particularly picturesque. At all. Some nice (trying to be positive) views of mountains in distance but the rest of the section was "meh". Lots of fallen trees. Did not see so much as a bird, squirrel or Big Foot.
Trail has some inclines & descents - nothing killer - but steady to get blood pumping a little. Passed some mtn bikers & 1 other hiker. More muddy crossings than actual stream crossings. *Area had a good soaking 2 days before. Some folks in our group complained about "the rocks" on the trail - the trail was well-marked, no trees blocking the trail, but there are small rocks on the path from time to time - none bigger than an orange, but one does need to keep an eye out. *This seems obvious to me, but...
6.2 miles per my GPS, took us about 3hrs with "lunch break" and waiting several times for slow pokes.
Trailhead at Snakehead has restrooms - didn't use them, so can't comment on 'em. Lot at Snakehead is large, on a fairly busy road. "Lot" at Pilcher can fit maybe 3 cars. Not sure I'd feel quite as comfortable w/ my car there...
My verdict... no need to return. Not worth the drive for me. I would have rather stayed in Atlanta to hike locally or gone elsewhere.
I'll update hikingdiva.posterous.com with trail pics & more deets.
I don't know where the 24.1 mile figure came from. Nor the loop status. The Pinhoti trail is 318 miles long and runs from Alabama to Georgia. I've hiked this trail a lot as it passes straight through the town I live in. The sections I've done run from the GA-AL state line east towards Dalton. The Terrain is rocky, but easily passable on foot. I'd be hesitant to bike certain sections of this portion.
The maps are available online for free:
The elevation of the route is available on these two pages: