Explore Brent's To Do List - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Brent's To Do List Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Only did the first half, but it sucked.
At first it showed promise but after a while the trail became less managed and the markers weren't very clear.
To be fair I haven't done the second half, so it may still be worth it.
But do not recommend

I am so glad I picked this trail. We started from Backcountry Info Booth, right near Standing Indian Campground.

We started counter-clockwise on the Kimsey Creek Trail from the Campground and hiked about 5 miles until we reached Standing Indian shelter, where we camped for the first night.

Day 2 we walked around 15 miles northbound on the AT. When you reach the junction to get on the AT at the end of Kimsey Creek, make sure you go North, which will be to your left (this happens before Standing Indian Campground). We hiked all the way until the summit of Albert Mountain and camped at the top. The best parts of the trail are immediately before you begin the ascent to Albert Mountain and the views here. I would also recommend staying at Carter Gap shelter if you’re looking to shorten the mileage / day. We stopped here for lunch around 4:00 pm after leaving Standing Indian Shelter at 11:00 am.

Day 3 was very quick, purely downhill 5 mile finish back to our car. Nothing too remarkable.

Overall, some inclines that are challenging, but the two newbies with me never felt really exhausted. I would recommend going clockwise if you want to avoid a very steep climb over rocks up to Albert, but those with some experience I do endorse the counter-clockwise route.

Great weekend!

I feel like it should be rated Hard instead of Moderate! Lots of fun!

Our 2nd time hiking Jacks River in, and like last time the river crossings can get very slippery on the rocks with many crossings containing a moderately heavy current. We set up camp where Jacks River and Penitentiary Branch trails met, and took Jacks River Trail a little further all the way to the falls.

First time taking Penitentiary Branch Trail out and it was rough the next morning as it’s mostly incline. Saw bear droppings but luckily no bears! Lots of horse droppings on both trails.

Be mindful of nature and pick up after yourself if camping! Saw lots of plastic bottles, cans, and wrappers. :(

~19 miles total

backpacking
1 month ago

My 15 year old son and I completed this loop counter clockwise starting at Adams Gap this past weekend. The first mile or two is a very pleasant up/down hike. Miles 3-4 included a very steep climb and fairly comfortable ridge line hiking until we reached the silent trail. Steep descent for a mile with a gradual decent for second mile into camping area where we overnighted about 1/8 mile from improved campground at Turnipseed. 2nd day we hiked the remainder of silent trail to skyway trailhead. Skyway trail is a moderate to hard trail with steep ascents and descents all along the six mile trail. Awesome campsites from 1-1.3 miles from Adams gap parking area; we stayed at the first site we came to which was large enough for 4-6 tents. Our third day was an honest climb from the bottom of a valley to the top of the Adams gap parking area. 1.3 miles took us almost 90 minutes, gradual climb the entire way!!! All in all, an awesome loop that can easily be completed in 48 hours!

in June, we were the only people on the trail once we passed the deep creek waterfall area. we took sunkota ridge to Indian creek. sunkota ridge was several miles of incline.
it was really nice to follow the creek on the back half of our hike.

This is a great 3-day hike that you can do as a loop from the Standing Indian Campground. We enjoyed hiking North to South, starting from Standing Indian, going up the Long Branch Trail to the AT, then turning right and hiking until the Kimsey Creek Trail, then back to the campground.

We camped the first night at Long Branch Shelter (great water source, new shelter and picnic table), and the second night at the Beech Creek tenting area. We loved both spots. This hike isn't super strenuous, goes through pretty canopy and has some pretty vistas, especially at the top of Albert Mountain from the firetower. We carried a bear canister and had no problems.

I didn't love the Kimsey Creek trail - it's very wet and slippery, with a lot of fallen trees crossing the trail. Otherwise, the rest of the hike was wonderful, with well maintained trails.

Trail was good even with all the blow downs from past storms. The trail crews hadn’t made it all the way down Jacks River Trail so if you’re not confident in your ability to spot a trail when it’s not clearly marked I’d suggest maybe avoiding this one alone. The river wasn’t high at most thigh deep in some spots and I’m only 5’9. Overall great overnight trip and will repeat in the future.

hiking
1 month ago

wonderful trail I will be back definitely

This was a short hike with a bushwhack to the summit of Cowpen Mountain and back. Long forest/service road drive to the trailhead at Three Forks Mountain. Still smells like fire in this area of the woods. Also, the bow hunters are out so be careful! I hiked East Cowpen Trail to the backside (north) of Cowpen Mtn where the ridge line comes down to the trail. At that point I turned back south and bushwhacked the ridge to the summit. Encountered only briers which were easy enough to go around or through. Pile of rocks is all there is to the summit. No views. From there I headed almost due East back to the trail and from there to the trailhead.

I do not recommend this trail. The trail conditions were poor, views where blocked by overgrowth, and dead standing trees and no blaze make this a dangerous track. My 12yr old daughter did complete it with us, but I highly don't recommend it for kids less than 4ft, because the overgrowth is that high.

Very solid and well maintained trail. I'd recommend using Guthook's Guide as well as AllTrails app since you are walking the AT for most of this loop. It'll help with planning your water stops. Finished the trail in 2 days, but I'd recommend 3 if you want to have a more casual time. The shelters and sites are spaced pretty well if you'd rather average 8-9 miles a day.

I headed counter-clockwise down the Kimsey Creek trail first. It was bit overgrown and there were several blowdowns for the first half mile or so, but as long as you are paying attention you shouldn't have any issues. This portion follows and cuts across streams almost constantly so you will have no problem with water. I'd suggest filling up before heading up to Standing Indian mountain though, just in case.

After Carter Gap shelter, it's pretty much smooth sailing until a couple miles before the Long Branch junction. On my trip, there was a massive blowdown fully blocking the trail. I climbed over the tree, but I would 100% recommend that you try to squeeze under it or maybe hike up the mountain a bit to walk around it. It had rained earlier that day and everything was slippery.

If you are heading NOBO, the hike up Albert Mountain is pretty intense. It's half stairs, half rock climbing. There is a bypass you can use which follows a forestry service road for a bit and reconnects on the other side. It took me roughly 30 mins to climb the 0.3 mi from the base to the fire tower. I hiked this part after it rained, and the rocks were pretty slippery. You can always do the bypass then just hike SOBO up to the tower.

Significant storm damage has portions of these trails closed. On 8/11/18- 40+ volunteers cleared 8 miles of trails, this being a wilderness area means we can only use hand tools (crosscut saws and sling blades etc). Still some sections are closed due to damage from flooding. Reading below there is a misconception that forest service personal maintain these trails, the FS has only a few trail techs that cover large swaths of forest so they rely heavily on volunteer organizations to keep the trails marked and clear. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact their local ranger station or a local trail maintenance group, in this case Kevin Vasilinda from the FS teamed up with members of the Benton Mackaye Trail Association, Southern Appalachian backcountry Horsemen and the Conasauga trail volunteers to clear a lot of downed trees.

Excellent gravel trail/road along Indian Creek Trail with numerous bridge and stream crossings. We had to ford at one location towards the end because of all the rain the previous day. Then Sunkota Ridge was pleasant, with the occasional glimpse of mountains through the trees.

Lots of downed trees makes the trail a bear to complete. Jack's River Falls was almost impossible to get to but fun nonetheless

Super cool trail, but we went the day after a storm and, due to down trees, could not complete. Great wildlife spotting! Saw a bear in the water, a wild turkey and a beaver! Butterfly central at the Hickory Ridge campsites.

We didn’t do the full hike because there were so many downed trees and a lack of trail marking that it was very difficult to follow the trail in some places. Because of this I would rated as a challenging hike rather than a moderate hike. We did not see any bears. Wildflowers were starting to bloom. I found that the second big River Crossing was super difficult- even with my hiking poles.(I’m pretty short and the river was high and was flowing very fast.). I’ll do this again in the fall when the water is lower and I will take a friend who has hiked it numerous times. I wish the forest service would remark the trail!

hiking
5 months ago

Did the loop for the first time last week (early June). Counter-clockwise. Obviously the bugs were out and the trail was starting to get overgrown with weeds in a few places. Didn't seem anybody had been on it too recently and lots of spider webs to negotiate. Not bad though, as the hard-packed trail is still easy to follow, but would imagine it would be uncomfortable soon. In some areas I was walking through weeds and shrubs on the trail, so grateful I was in long pants. 1 tick and a couple of chigger bites is what it cost me. Temperature was not bad, but ended up using a lot more water than I thought I would. In the rocky sections of the Pinhoti and stairway area I needed to find the marks on the trees to follow the trail. It was fine, but had to double back a couple of times. That is the most difficult part, the Chinnobee Silent is easy, and the skyway probably moderate. I hiked 13 miles the first day and camped by the water a couple of miles into the skyway trail. I missed the water crossing where I camped and again had to double back past the campsite to find the path. No big deal, just lost a little time. Be careful to notice the painted trees if you are by yourself, and note that the actual path is hard packed and easy to stay on. Looking forward to doing this in the fall, winter or spring when things would be more ideal

Just did this hike for a 3day trip. We parked at standing Indian campground for $2 per day. Day 1 we went about 12 Miles south/clockwise and camped at carter gap. There were plenty of tent sites and fire rings there but it was crowded. So don’t expect privacy here. Day 2 we went about 9.5 Miles and camped at deep gap. Several spots here as well, but is right off of a road. We found a private site close to the creek and there was only one other group camping in the area. Someone had recently cut down a tree and chopped up firewood so that was convenient. Day 3 we hiked the kimsey creek trail (3.7 Miles) back to our car. You will cross and walk through creeks and streams the entire time your on this section and there were a lot of downed trees. It was rated as easiest, but definitely was not that. It was a good trail overall though. The whole hike was great.

Great hike. I did this hike in 13hrs over a 2 day period. The first half was not bad, more of a walk through the woods feel. Second half was a little more of a challenge. Took me an extra hour for the second half of the trail due to the climbs.

backpacking
6 months ago

Skyway Trail to Chinnabee Silent Trail to Pinhoti Trail

This is mine and my wife's second time completing this loop. The first time (going counter-clockwise) was a nightmare. We got lost around the trail change from Chinnabee to Skyway and ended up having to spend an extra night out.

Clockwise was a much easier to navigate route. On Day 1, we went from the Adams Gap trailhead to the Turnipseed Campground just off US 281. You get deep in the woods pretty quickly on this section. Occasionally, there's a nice view of just how secluded you are; the surrounding hills will peek at you as you crest a hill only to disappear as you go down the other side. There is no lack of water as there are several easy stream crossings. As you approach mile 7, the Skyway trail gets narrow and steep leading down to the Cheaha Creek crossing just before it flows into Lake Chinnabee. This crossing can be tricky if there's been recent rainfall but a patient rock hop will keep you dry. Once over the creek, you'll be on the Chinnabee Silent Trail. The Chinnabee Lake parking lot with restrooms is a relatively short walk NW, but the trail continues E. The Devil's Den area after this is a steady, rocky ascent. Once through this area, you'll resume the steady up and down that characterizes the Appalachians and their foothills until you arrive at the Cheaha Falls shelter followed by the beautiful Falls themselves around 9.5 miles in. This is the same water source that flows through Devil's Den and into Lake Chinnabee that you crossed a few miles back. Just over one more mile gets you to the Turnipseed Campground where there is plenty of space to pitch a tent (finding a flat area is a trick, though). There is a $5 honor system fee to camp here. Just past the campground there is a small creek at which I'd advise you fill up your water cache for the night and for the day ahead.

On day 2, we finished the loop with a pretty grueling climb and descent of Talladega Mountain (actually a mountain mass of which Cheaha Mountain is the highest peak). From Turnipseed, you'll gain ~917' in just under 2 miles (a 9% grade on average). As you crest that climb, you're at the Little Caney Head Campground at which you'll take a right onto the Pinhoti Trail. A less steep ascent gets you to 2,217' of elevation, the highest point on this loop (for comparison, Cheaha is at 2,411'). There's an almost unimpeded 180 degree westerly view from this point and it was a much needed 45 minute lunch break for us. After this ridge, you dive down immediately losing 752' of elevation in 0.9 miles (approx. -16%). The Pinhoti undulates but continues to lose elevation for another 2 miles after this. As the loop nears completion, nearly a mile of climb appears out of nowhere, the trail reasserting its dominance as if the earlier ridge weren't enough. To finish up, you fall 0.3 miles downhill back to your car.
------
With GPS for reference after some of the creek crossings, through campsites and at trail junctions, the trail is relatively easy to follow. There are a few service roads that cross the trail near the outset; take care not to let your feet get distracted by them.

Happy trails!

on Skyway Loop Trail

hiking
6 months ago

I hiked this trail yesterday from Adams Gap moving counterclockwise. First - it is not 17.7 miles, but 18.8 miles. I think I have seen someone else mention this. When you are exhausted from hiking this in one day, then finding out you actually aren’t finished, but rather, have one more mile to hike is not good news. Second, your feet are going to get wet. Just go ahead and baptize them early, and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Yesterday, the creeks were high and the current was stronger than I have seen it because of all the rain Saturday. I spent 20 minutes trying to find a safe place to walk across at Chinnabee Lake area. The waterfalls are gorgeous on the Chinnabee section, and the rock gardens on the Pinhoti are just beautiful - although make for a very slow ascent to Pearly Gates. Skyway section is great exercise because it is rolling hills most of the way with a good uphill run at the end. This trail is rated moderate, but there are definitely hard sections. The trail is well marked except for the section coming down off Pinhoti all the way to Devils Den. It got a little tricky in a few areas coming down after I left Pinhoti, and I was thankful for GPS to show me where the trail was. There is one creek crossing about 2 miles from finish to Adams Gap that is a T where one creek meets another, and it is a bit confusing because of a campsite being there which dissolved the trail. There are markings here, but it took me a minute to find them, and at 5:45 I was pretty nervous about getting lost! All in all, a good, but EXHAUSTING hike! It would be much better and more fun to take in two days with a camping buddy.

Just got home from completing this one. Due to weather, we decided to do the river crossings first. Which meant we had to face an uphill penitentiary branch trail the next day. That was fairly strenuous.

hiking
7 months ago

I loved this trail. So many areas where you are hiking along the water. We did the skyway loop in one day going counter clockwise. It was exhilarating and exhausting! My hiking partner is 5 months pregnant and was able to complete it - only becoming tired the last 2 miles of the 18. ( she was already an avid hiker so no worries...). I would like to note that going CCW, we completely lost the trail around mile 13. We bushwhacked for approx. 45 minutes until we backtracked far enough back to finally discover that the trail takes a very sneaky hidden 180* jump across the creek. There are no blazes at this area to tell you to cross. Besides that, the waterfalls and beautiful terrain, I fell in love with it.

This was a great hike, but I recommend three days rather than the two day hike that I did for the loop. Park at the backcountry information center and the trail is easily marked. The Kimsey Creek area is beautiful along the river and plenty of places to stop and enjoy, but be prepared to walk in water, on rocks, and navigate some down trees. It’s slippery and very muddy in areas and your feet could submerge so be prepared. No one else was on that part of the trail, but met many once I got to the parking for the AT. There’s a water stop at the end of the trail and a good place to break before Deep Gap. At this point make sure you are committed to finishing the loop back to Indian Creek, if so continue N on the AT. otherwise take the road to the right or Kimsey trail back to the camp. Also, while it was warm in Kimsey, you’ll definitely want layers for the hike up. The LBT is the most difficult part, a lot of tree debris, but worth the views! It’s a great hike and met some great people.

backpacking
7 months ago

This is one of my favorite trails. We joined this trail from the north from the Pinhoti trail at Cheaha State park. The skyway trail from Adams Gap to the intersection with the Chinnebee Silent trail has numerous small stream crossings and two "significant stream crossings" . The Chinnebee Silent trail section of this loop has more foot traffic a two waterfalls (Devils Den and Cheaha). You have to make a crossing at the top of Cheaha Falls. Great camp sites, lots of water, rocky and some gradient.

hiking
7 months ago

Awesome trail. Was my first solo trip, started counter clockwise and climb to the top of the mountain the first night after a late start. I didn’t find the stairway to heaven that terribly hard but definitely very rocky on the way up and down. There was a nice overlook camping spot at the top of the the mountain at like mile 4.1 or so (before the pearly gate). Stayed there the night sunset and sunrise was amazing, enough room for a 1 person tent. Rest of the trail on the pinhoti was fairly straight forward, once you get to the Chinnabee silent trail play close close attention to blazes. After hitting cheaha falls is very easy to get lost, ended taking a detour on a car trail (I thought was part of the loop) to CR 385 to rd 646 to lake chinnabee since I didn’t want to turn around.... but was a pretty awesome place. I missed devils den unfortunately but hikers I met said it’s an awesome swimming/ cliff jumping spot. Once back on trail at lake chinnabee you have to cross a decent creek... the Skyway part is not very visible and very hard to see only found it bc of some other hikers tbh. After getting on skyway though it’s a basically a straight shot till you hit pinhoti, those rolling hills will kick your but though. Would be a moderate 2 night hike and an ambition 1 night hike after a late start. You can pick up a map in the way at the turnipseed trail head along the way.

hiking
8 months ago

This trip kicked our tail. We went counter clockwise so we could hit the mountain first. Climbing the mountain had tons of rocks so be extremely careful not to twist an ankle. The path down was very similar. Once you make it to Chinnabee Silent Trail near the next railhead it levels out and is incredibly enjoyable for the next 5 miles. trail is 6 miles of rolling hills. You have to cross 3 creeks so be careful to spot the correct trail. The last 3 miles are mostly uphill and we were exhausted. Barely made it due to exhaustion. Having said all this, this is absolutely a trail worth taking. A beautiful view from the top of the mountain, gorgeous waterfalls, rolling hills, canyons, pine thickets, and some killer camping spots. The distance wasn't bad, but the elevation certainly was. Next time I'll make it a 3 day tip and preserve our strength.

This trail was a perfect loop for my first back packing trip. A friend and I did the loop counterclockwise. We parked at the backcountry info center, which was perfect because it’s exactly where the trail starts and ends. Our first day was a half day, hiking a little over 4 miles.
The 1st day we started around 2:00, hiking down Kimsey creek until joining the AT. We spent the night at Standing Indian Shelter.
The 2nd day we hiked to just past Carter Gap Shelter and set up camp (roughly a 9 mile day). Day 3 was by far the most scenic and had a few good climbs. We finished up on the AT and took the Long Branch Trail back to our car. It ended up being a 11.4 mile day from our campsite back to the car.
Overall, it was a great trip! Good multi day loops are hard to come by and this one is perfect for a weekend or beginner trip. The trail is really well marked, LOTS of water sources, and plenty of spots to camp. You’ll meet a lot of thru hikers and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Be prepared for some work getting up Mt. Albert- but it’s definitely worth the view you earn and a perfect spot for a lunch picnic.

We did this trail in two days. Great hike. They were a few trees down on Kimsey Creek trail, but all were passable. The first day it was overcast and windy, However the following day the sun came out and WOW!! by the time we got to Albert Mtn it was totally clear.

hiking
8 months ago

Counter clockwise is a good way to go. That puts the big climb up the mountain first. Lots of nice views up there. The trouble with the rest of the trail is the creek crossings and the lack of signage. Yup, it's a wilderness. But it seems like every time you reach a creek the trail dissolves on both sides of the water. Almost none of the creek crossings are obvious or directly where the trail meets the water and then picking up the trail on the other side becomes a chore.

Load More