Nice trail with several overlooks, plane wreckage, and rock formations. After reading some of the posts regarding lack of trail markings, I was fearful of being lost (we are new to hiking). So I bought a paper map, compass, and read many reviews and watched Youtube videos of the trail. In the end, all I needed was the AllTrails Pro app. The Pro app enables you to download maps so that you can view them offline. So, when you lose cell service, GPS allows you to see your location on the map as a blue dot in relation to the red trail outline.

We entered at the Cheaha trail head (a short way down the road from the general store at the top of the mountain). We decided to do the counter-clockwise route since I read that the Pinhoti portion of the loop is more strenuous. Not long into the hike we took a wrong turn (while still on the blue-blazed Pinhoti) and it ended at the road that leads down to the trail head (I looked on a map afterwards and it turns out that this is where the Pinhoti crosses the road and continues on north-east toward Georgia). So I consulted the AllTrails app and found our location (the blue dot that gives your current location) and just followed the trail back to the proper place and continued on. We got confused a couple of other times, but each time we consulted the app and got back on course. The Pinhoti side of the loop was especially narrow in some places with high grass crowding us on the trail, but the blue blazes kept us on track.

Because running the app (like running any other app) will cause the battery to drain as you hike, take a battery pack that will charge your phone when it gets low. Also, because there are so many rocks and roots on the trail, I recommend hiking shoes/boots. Our feet were sore afterwards even though we both wore Merrell Moab 2 shoes, which have soles made for this type of terrain. I guess if you are not doing the entire loop in one day, this may not be a problem.

Be sure to record your hike in the app so that at the end, after you stop recording, the app will provide distance traveled, calories burned (if you set your height and weight in your profile), elevation gain, and a red-line exact map of your route (including your detours). We walked exactly 9 miles (we walked out to the McDill overlook and to several others). I would do this hike again; I think a fall or winter hike would provide a cool, different perspective.