Explore the most popular birding trails in Talladega National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

A very nice and easygoing hike. Water flows next to the trail almost the whole way. Watch out for snakes!! I have seen a few water moccasins along this trail. Absolutely perfect for spring and fall hiking. it does run through a management area. So be cautious during hunting season. Once you get to the lake it's a great places for a picnic, pictures, fishing (with a valid fishing license!!), and frog gigging

Fun hike! We did this trail clockwise and camped out near the falls. Plenty of water throughout..the water was pretty high so we found ourselves having the take off boots in order to cross. Incline towards the end of the trail is no joke, but the views are worth it! My dog did fine on this trail too:)

backpacking
14 days ago

We arrived at Adams Gap trailhead at about 3:30 the previous day. Conditions were foggy and wet as we set out clockwise on the loop. The wet rocks and leaves on the narrow trail were pretty sketchy, glad I brought trekking poles! By the time we went through the first mile or so we decided to go off trail and set up camp. I think it's the same site referred to by other reviewers. Rain continued all night and most of our gear got completely soaked. We almost bailed but eventually we decided to continue.

The Skyway Trail was very challenging, lots of rocks, slippy parts and steep ups and downs. Water was no problem. We followed blue blazes and Pinhoti trail blazes the whole way but somehow missed the turn-off to the Lake Chinnabee camp area by a long shot. We would have loved to do the Chinnabee trail loop but we passed by the junction somehow. Deciding to continue on to Turnipseed camping we went on to no avail.

I'm not used to a lot of elevation change myself so unless you are, know that the Skyway Trail is quite strenuous, it would have helped if trial junctions were clearly marked so that we could have made our waypoints. Something strange ensued.

I'm befuddled as to how we ended up at the trail intersection of forest road 600-2 and the Pinhoti trail SW of the trailhead. I was experiencing early hypothermia and extreme fatigue at that point and we ended up walking the forest road back to the trailhead after using Google Maps to find our location.

All in all quite the adventure. The skyline trail is very rugged and you better be in good shape for it. I'm only giving it three stars because I think the Forest Service could mark trail intersections better. If we weren't as resourceful as we are we could have had a serious survival situation on our hands.

Amazing trail! Used it as a shakedown hike to test my pack weight and gear. Downed trees made the path difficult to find and navigate in several areas. Had to use my AllTrail map to stay on/return to trail. Love this app. Several reliable water sources along the way. Since this was just a shakedown hike I only did a small part and stayed just one night. Lots of great camping sites with fire rings. Planning to return and do a two night hike from Adams Gap to Cheaha then return on Cave Creek.

unseasonably warm temps in January made for unexpectedly active trail traffic today! recent rains and fallen limbs made trail blazes difficult to see, bring your GEO map and compass or extra battery for your phone to use All Trails GPS.
HIGHLY recommend this trail, I can't wait to go back! 10 am start at Adam's Gap, 3.45 pm finish at Cheaha Trailhead.

Great Hike!!! Water and camping suggestions at end.

We did this loop counter-clockwise with dogs. We started at Adams gap. Starts off with a little climb on the Pinhoti. Was up and down, did not see any campsites early.

If you do plan to do this hike and are late in the day, I would suggest to begin clockwise, after a short rock garden, you will find a camp site .2 miles in and about 1 mile in. Night hiking counter-clockwise from Adams gap can be sketchy, (unless already proficient)

Continuing counter-clockwise, you will begin a technical ascent to the highest point of the trail...watch the hairpin turn! We were climbing along an old logging road, missed the turn, went over some substantial blow-downs and went through some thick stuff. My own fault, but a good learning experience. The turn is marked with a post, just on the left side of the logging road.

Overall a great trail.

WATER: plenty of water on trail. 1L bottle or a 700 mL water is plenty with filter.

Camping: tent camping is good, but in a pinch, hammock camp anywhere along the trail. I am a tent camper, but overall, saw 2 tents and 9 hammock set ups along the route.

4 STAR REVIEW?: The reason I gave four stars is a lot of the hairpin turns, especially at creek crossings weren’t marked or blazed, so wasted a lot of time scouting false trails prior to crossing and picking up the trails.

Next time we are rolling clockwise for a different approach, great for preparing for a thru hike.

love it

backpacking
28 days ago

Great in fall, lots of places to camp along the stream near Chinabee lake.

Awesome time all the way around. Very nice creek along the way finishing up at the lake. If you go up the hill as the lake is on your right you will find a nice flat area with a fire ring. Great view.

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

backpacking
3 months 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!

This trail is awesome you can go even further if you would like. We'll do this trail again and spend a night or two hiking it.

Great short hike. Trail was very well marked. Sweetwater Lake is a very beautiful, peaceful lake.

Great trail to ride bikes on. A lot of small rocks on climbs though. Next time I go I’m checking the weather, me and my friend got stuck on the mountain in a thunder and lightning storm with 10 miles to get back to the car. But away from personal error it’s a great trail

I hiked the Pinhoti from Cheaha Park to Chinnabee Silent Trail—about 7-8 miles. It’s a beautiful trail with great views, but some sections are under-maintained, making it very easy to lose the trail.

Before backpacking I camped (really just slept in my vehicle) in the primitive camping area at nearby Cheaha State Park. The park is atop Mt. Cheaha, offering camping, hiking, hotel rooms, cabins, chalets, and a restaurant, where I had a decent hot buffet breakfast.

I met friends at the Turnipseed Campground, just 10 minutes South on Hwy 128. That also looks like a great place to camp, and offers honor system payment and convenient location to the trail. We left a car there and drive another to the trailhead north, just past the park.

The highlight of this section of the Pinhoti is McDill Point, a picturesque stone outcropping offering stunning views of the forrested valley.

South of McDill Point the trail gets very faint in spots, sometimes disappearing in high grass, other times obscured by rock fields. Several times we had to search for the blue blazes it even backtrack a bit because of confusing paths leading in several directions. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the blue blazes marking the trail.

We camped in an open area at the intersection with the Chinabee Silent Trail, with a couple of stone fire rings, plenty of downed firewood, and a small stream at the south edge of the campsite.

Overall I would recommend this trail to anyone looking for a challenging hike with spectacular views. It can be combined with the Chinnabee Silent Trail for a 2- or 3-day backpacking trip that is very scenic.

This was a great trail for young kids. Trail was well-marked and not a lot of up and down. It’s about a mile until you get to water, FYI for dogs, and the shelter is right when you get to creek. The shelter is adequate with a great fire pit & beautiful creek wrapping it. Nice place to hike to camp or hike to & hang out for the day. I’m not sure of park requirements for camping.

First to say is if not for Gaia gps that I downloaded before I left, my son and I would have gotten very lost. The trail from the TH on to nubbins Creek intersection was difficult from a couple reasons.
1. too many fallen trees over the trail / ZERO maintenance.
2. zero markers.. That was my number 1 complaint.
3. Trying to bushwack up a very Rocky mountain where the grasses had overtaken the trail in spots, plus the fact that most of the trail was on rocks and boulders.

I am most Definitely not knocking the trail in itself because the beauty of the huge glacier boulders was spectacular sitting atop a mountain peak!!
I will say the high falls itself is worth a day trip to enhance the beauty and is only about 100 yards in off the TH parking area. My Son and I thoroughly enjoyed the quality time we spent backpacking the entire loop of the chinnabee silent trail then back around the skyway trail. I'l
I'll chat about anything related to the outdoors and backpacking.
Ken

Can somebody please pick up my leather belt and t shirt I left hanging on a tree on top of Robinson Mountain. :)

date was July 4th

hiking
7 months ago

Nothing to see here but the waterfalls towards the beginning of the trail. Just wooded and flat areas with a few primitive campsites beyond the falls. If you do decide to trek out further, wear pants! The overgrown grass will slice and prick your legs. There were a few steep inclines and we traversed across rocks in the water at one point, which was not difficult because the water was low. There were stairs near the waterfalls, but some were uneven and loose. The trail is also not well marked. Be careful: we came upon a snake on the trail. It quickly slithered away, but it was a good reminder for us to look before we took a step. Over all, not a difficult trail but also not worth a second trip.

hiking
7 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

Great place for a short backpacking trips. We were able to carry one liter of water each without running low due to the stream that the trail follows.

backpacking
9 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
9 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.

hiking
9 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.

backpacking
9 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.

We started at the Cheaha State Park end of this art of trail as part of a three night backpacking trip in the area. Over the first 5-miles there are some incredible vistas over the lower land to the west. There is no water sources on this part of the trail. There are several good campsites and there is a very good area (no view) at the intersection with the Chinnebee Silent Trail. There are several fire rings and water source at that site. There are numerous water sources on the trail from the intersection to Adams Gap. There is one very steep downhill going south, and the trail generally has some tough footing in places because of the rocks.

We camped at Sweetwater Lake which has no showers, toilets or other fancy things and we loved it! We parked our cars right by the lake and set our tents right by the lake. We hiked the trail there and back which was pretty tough just because of the overall distance but there are no challenging areas though. My dog loved it!

hiking
9 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.

Great unique trail. Has rocks thru out and challenging in spots.

Plenty of water along the trail and the rock gardens along the trail are a real treat for any hiker. One of the best section hikes in the state.

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