Cave Creek Trail from Cheaha Trailhead

MODERATE 135 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Cave Creek Trail from Cheaha Trailhead is a 6.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lineville, Alabama that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,105 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

The Cheaha trailhead is a great starting point for many routes along the Pinhoti Trail. You can park a car here and do a day trip to many beautiful sites. The trail is poorly marked in some sections.

hiking
5 days ago

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.

hiking
19 days ago

I think this was the trail I did, but I honestly don’t know such were the markings (or lack thereof). So much so, I decided to just set my timer and simply turn around when it went off...didn’t want to get lost.

With that said, it was a great hike with a few scenic spots. It appears beetles have attacked the pine trees.

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful trail!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail needs traffic—foot traffic! It is close to being overwhelmed in sections by weeds. This is a lovely track but quite rugged with roots and rocks, and a couple of challenging ascents. Would not recommend for children under 12. Old timers like me need sturdy footwear and dual trekking poles.

hiking
1 month ago

My family of three set out at the Cheaha trailhead, intending a moderate 6+ mile trek and almost ended up spending the night, unprepared, on this trail. We set out in plenty of time to complete by dark, missed the turn/connector, and ended up hiking ~12 miles, the last of it in the dark and on an abandoned roadbed (with multiple downed trees requiring detours; marked FS 589), gaining 2000 feet elevation. We encountered the connector in the rain and that might be why we missed it--also the connector was not marked at all. This trail is NOT well marked--we almost lost the blue trail several times. I was seriously worried we would end up dehydrated and hypothermic, even at the end of May, after spending the night on the trail.

Remember to take three times as much water as you think you will need, plastic bag for cell phone or electronics needed to mark bearings, backup phone battery, rain gear, bug spray, flashlight, high-energy food, personal first aid kit and a backup map/compass, just in case you end up on a different (longer) trail with no cell phone service. Long pants are essential, as there is a LOT of poison oak on the trail. There was little water. Make sure someone knows your intentions and the trail you intend to hike before you set out. If you get off the trail, notify someone about your location in case things go terribly wrong.

The trail had some pretty flora (gooseberries, wildflowers, mountain laurel, oak leaf hydrangeas and more), but the trek is very difficult and only for those who are good with maps and who have strong legs and hearts. Plan for slow speed, as the elevation change is significant.

At the end (9pm), this felt more like a death march than a pleasant family hike. I will not let this happen again.

2 months ago

Loved this trail. Parts were not marked very well but other than that it is a perfect day hike trail.

backpacking
3 months ago

Good trail well marked with good water. About half of the trail follows the pinhoti so the blue blazes light your path. When you get off the pinhoti just follow the signs and stay on the well beaten path and you should be fine. The trail passes by the out and back trail to McDill Point. It is worth the extra 1 mike out and back to take a gander. All in all it’s more like eight miles so bring a snack and water. I used most of my water cooking for my son and Myself but I had a sawyer filtration system on hand. There is a plane crash to see on the McDill trail.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

It as my first time to hike this loop. Fortunately, I have a good sense of direction and a serviceable map of the Cheaha Wilderness Area which I printed from the USDA website beforehand. The Cave Creek section of the trail was poorly marked. I never saw a sign near the Trail Head or the Connector Trail. At one point I wasn't sure what trail I was on. Was I still on Cave Creek or had I pushed past it, moving on to the Nubbin Creek or Odum Scout Trail by then? . My map did not reflect what I was seeing and because of no signage, I had no way to verify my position. Stumbling upon a trail intersection is not good when there are no markings telling me what trail was what. All I knew is that if I took the trail that was heading generally west, I would eventually run into the Pinhoti. I never saw any signage for Cave Creek until I came across another trail intersection aprox a mile from the Pinhoti. Once you get to the Pinhoti, everything is gravy. This trail is wonderfully marked with blue blazes and metal tags, a welcome contrast to Cave Creek. Despite Cave Creek challenging my old Boy Scout skills, I had a wonderful time. And the Pinhoti serves up one gorgeous view after another. I can't wait to go back.

hiking
4 months ago

This was my first time to hike this trail. When I walked to the trailhead from the parking lot I took a wrong turn! I turned right and ended up on the Pinhoti headed away from the loop. I hiked a few miles out and back in to the trailhead and decided - what the heck - I came to hike the Cave Creek Trail so I'm going to do it. I proceeded taking the trail south toward three o'clock in the loop - I would say this side of the hike was easy. I was able to move fairly quickly. The scenery changes dramatically on the "back side" - several areas when on the actual Pinhoti required finding the blazes. When I decide to hike this loop again I will dig the backside in on the front stretch. Great views on the backside.

4 months ago

Nice hike. 2nd half more rocky and more ascents. Worth it to head off 1/4 mike trail to Mcdill overlook on the back half.

hiking
5 months ago

I hiked/ran this trail today and I loved it. It was very foggy which gave it the feeling of an enchanted forest. I couldn’t see the few at the lookout points unfortunately, so I definitely like to come back some time. The hike is moderate, a little challenging at some points. Very rocky terrain, so be prepared for that.

backpacking
5 months ago

Cave Creek is an unmarked but easily followed trail carved on the side of the ridges near Cheaha. It is commonly done as part of a loop when combined with Section 6 of the Pinhoti as each trail is linked by a connector.

If seeking to do a loop then do it counter clockwise (starting on the Pinhoti from the Cheaha trailhead) so that you can get water on Cave Creek as there is scant little on that section of the Pinhoti.

Camping sites near the water sources are few and far in between but you may find some existing sites slightly off the path. (Please do not make your own, new fire ring.)

Not the hardest hike but the gradual climb and descend will make you feel your pack.

The only reason for the lack of a fifth star is that the recent ice storms have caused a considerable amount of blow downs. (Am amazed at how quickly the trail maintenance folks get out as there are very few blocking the path). This will change in the coming months as the area greens up with spring.

Also docked the star for lack of campsites that can accommodate more than 3 tents or hammocks (there are some but not a lot given the terrain).

All in all, you will enjoy this trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful in foggy day. The trail is not marked, we got lost, app dropped tracking us, and we had to came back the same way which was not easy also.

5 months ago

I probably wouldn’t want to do it alone again. I got lost twice but found my way back to the trail. When I lost the trail the first time it was very rocky and I won’t lie.. I got a little nervous lol.

6 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed it. McDill point did not disappoint!

backpacking
8 months ago

Good hike. Good camping spots. Great views.

8 months ago

Great day and a half hike. Lost of good camp spots.
Several scenic views.

backpacking
8 months ago

Great trail, trail is very confusing at times. Didn't have any trail markings. Other than that enjoyed it

hiking
8 months ago

Magical to say the least! Hiked this trail in May and it was a wonderful adventure! There were plenty of elevation and landscape changes along the way always keeping it interesting! We saw a gorgeous endangered rattlesnake peacefully passing by! We also came upon an old plane crash sight! The view was incredible!

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, has some challenging inclines. McDill trail is directly off this trail well worth the cut through for breath taking views and downed plane. Only thing I found very disappointing is the lack of marking on this trail with a hand full of very deceiving spots that could lead to hikers getting turn around.

camping
8 months ago

I had a great time on the hike in. Started on the Eastern side of the trail, which was pretty smooth, met a few hikers along the way coming the opposite direction. Once I made the loop going on the Western side the trail became a lot harder for a 45 year old in the worst shape of his life. I had to make frequent stops but was determined to make McDill Point. I saw the plane wreckage and made it to McDill Point. I ate my lunch and continued on another mile and made my camp for the evening. The next morning I ate breakfast and hiked the last 2 miles out to complete the loop. For an out of shape 45 year old I would rate this trail on the hard side because of the Western side but I had a great time doing it.
I'm just learning how to use this ap so my hike is broken up into 4 sections, also some of the pictures I posted along the trail are in the wrong spot.

10 months ago

This trail/loop has something for everyone. There are small to mid size creeks, views to post on your social media, a small plane crash site to explore. The trail offers a wide range of hiking. There is the nice flat areas to the rockier (where did the trail go) places. Worth your time.

10 months ago

Beautiful view from Mcdill Point

hiking
11 months ago

This is my favorite hike in Alabama and I have hiked it at least a dozen times. The Pinhoti portion of the hike is very rocky and requires some climbing/ scrambling in a couple of places. The views on this section are some of the best in the state. Don't miss the plane crash on the side path to McDill Point. The Cave Creek Trail portion is mostly a forest path with a few stream crossings. There are many waterfalls in and around the Cheaha Wilderness but none on this trail.

hiking
Thursday, July 13, 2017

West side of the loop is definitely more difficult. Lots of Rock and Hills, with no water source. Nice running stream on East side of loop and not as Hilly and Rocky

Monday, July 03, 2017

Nice trail- saw part of the plane wreckage. The west part of the loop is very rocky. I did not see any water fall? Only few streams on east side.

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

My friends and I really enjoyed this morning hike.

backpacking
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cool hike; lots of good campsites. Not any water on the Pinhoti in this section. Awesome views on both sides. Going again as soon as we can.

backpacking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

Nice trail for an overnight trip. A small stream was about 2.5 miles into the Cave Creek Trail section from the Cheaha Trailhead.

McDill Point, located about 5 miles into the trip, has an awesome campsite tucked away into the mountain. It has a nice rock fire pit and the view is amazing.

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