Skyway Loop Trail

MODERATE 45 reviews
#1 of 13 trails in

Skyway Loop Trail is a 17.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Lineville, Alabama that features beautiful wild flowers 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.

DISTANCE
17.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3149 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving

scenic driving

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

washed out

backpacking
29 days 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.
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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!

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 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.

hiking
3 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.

backpacking
5 months ago

We did this loop counter clockwise on Thanksgiving weekend and it was definitely a challenge. There is a lot of ups and downs and a ton of rocks from mile 2 all the way through mile 5. It was a great view at the top of the first mountain, but it just about killed me to get there. We had 5 guys that were probably overpacked for a 3 day hike. The reviews we read about this loop never stated anything about how bad the rocks were. As stated below, the blazes could be better. All in all it was a great trip, just wish I was better prepared and in better shape!

hiking
5 months ago

Not a mountain biking trail. Great hike... be prepared full loop is quite the hike!

6 months ago

Second time we tried to reach the so called Skyway loop trail and directions don´t end up taking you there, on top of it it is not a Mountain bike trail as claimed on the app,

6 months ago

Hiked 12.5 mile of trail (out/back) - very nice and adequately blazed - ran into no others - easy creek crossing - great Hike. Look forward to doing the full loop in near future!

hiking
8 months ago

my favorite, i go to skyway at least three times per year. walked out on an overnight almost two years ago with wife and apparently on day 2 of a controlled burn. knew immediately i should have checked site the day before. great trail. we go in the middle of the week and in four years ive seen less than ten people during hikes. i like the location

backpacking
10 months ago

Myself and 3 friends completed this trail counter clockwise over a 7 day period, July 1st-7th. This was my first time backpacking in Alabama and it was a great experience. The trail was marked well, and maintained with the exception of a few spots on the Pinhoti trail. I imagine it's better in spring and fall when trials see more activity. Surprisingly the weather was nice for it being early July. We didn't see many folks outside of July 4th.

As mentioned several times over, the Pinhoti trail has incredible views. Go check them out!

backpacking
10 months ago

Did a 3 day trip with 5 guys the weekend before July 4th. We intended to complete the full 17.7 mile Skyway Loop. We started at Turnipseed and worked clockwise through Pinhoti, Adams Gap, Skyway Trail, back to Chinabee Silent Trail - overall great trip. We did about 8/9 miles on day one to get a jump start on the weekend, then about 4 miles on each of our last days to make it an easy going way out.

Great scenery and some really nice views once we hit Pinhoti. Devils Den was really nice - moderately filled with people coming in and out just to jump in the water. A few had ice chests, but overall not many backpackers. We setup our hammocks alongside the creek about 1/4 mile shy of Devils Den which made for a peaceful evening. On the final day out we did lose the Trail about a mile or so before we got back to the truck... some kind of way we hit the shelter twice toward the end? That aside, the trail, for the most part, was marked well throughout, with the exception to the Chinabee Silent Trail where we started (Rock Garden Area) near Turnipseed. But, certainly nothing overbearing.

Overall great trip!

backpacking
11 months ago

Started out from Adams Gap headed counter-clockwise on Saturday around noon. We hiked around 8 miles on Saturday and Sunday and finished the hike early Monday.

There are several pools around Cheha Falls for swimming. Devil's Den was pretty crowded and there was a good amount of trash (mainly beer cans...). The Skyway trail could be marked better. The connection to the trail was tough to find and we completely lost the trail around the Hubbard Creek crossing. Nice hike though, moderately difficult in certain areas.

backpacking
Monday, May 22, 2017

Hiked the Pin-Chin-Sky loop with a friend, started out on the Pinhoti from the Adams Gap TH - too late on a rainy Friday afternoon - and just made it to the base of the Stairway in the dark, in the rain. Glad we had fresh legs the next morning (first trip of the season) for the Stairway! Beautiful trails, especially the last portion of Chinnabee that parallels the creek. Overnighted near Devil's Den and finished with Skyway on the next day. Overall a very good hike, some scrambling, and yes we missed the sign for the Chin-Sky connection and turned around at Lake Chinnabee, LOL! I get it with "no blazes in the wilderness", but there were places on the Pinhoti that really should be marked better, i.e, especially in the rock gardens.

backpacking
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

We did the Loop starting at Adams Gap to Chinabee Silent camping at the Creek below the shelter for the night. Hiked from the creek on Silent Chinabee to Pinhoti, back to Adams Gap. Steep hike up the mountain. Great scenery.

backpacking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If you are like me and only hike once or twice a year, this is a hard loop. I really enjoyed my hike and there were some really nice swimming holes if you a there in the summer. Also take water the drought has dried up everything between adams gap and turnipseed.

hiking
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The water was not flowing due to lack of rain. We do plan to go back to see the falls. Skyway is overgrown in several areas.

backpacking
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hiked the loop beginning at Adams Gap. A few portions of the Pinhoti and Skyway are overgrown and it felt like moving through a jungle, but overall these trails are well maintained.

If you're doing this loop counter clockwise, be advised the junction with the Skyway trail is easily missed. If you reach the Chinnabee Parking lot, you've gone too far. Back track and you'll see a sign for the Skyway trail that will lead you to where you cross the water. Additionally, the Skyway trail is poorly marked and there are two creek crossings where the trail can be hard to distinguish.

While the Skyway does have some great campsites, the Pinhoti and Chinnabee sections of this trip are the most scenic. Views from Odums Gap are highlights.

hiking
Friday, January 01, 2016

A friend and I parked at Turnipseed campground and hiked the Pinhoti trail then turned on to the Skyway trail and then finished up with the Chinnabee Silent trail to make for a big loop. This trail was the least strenuous of the three. It didnt have mountain views like the Pinhoti section or large waterfalls like the Chinnabee Silent section, but it did has beautiful, thick hardwood forests and very pretty streams with countless little waterfalls. There are a few streams crossings, two of which are somewhat large, but they are not too much to handle and got no deeper than our thighs. Overall the trail is not too difficult, although there are a few strenuous climbs. There are quite a few nice, developed campsites as well.

hiking
Monday, July 20, 2015

I backpacked this along with the Chinnabee and a section of the Pinhotti to make for a 17 mile loop. Although there weren't too many mountain views, the wealth of wildlife and creeks made up for it. This is a moderate 6.5 miler from Adam's Gap parking lot to the falls (about 1/2 mile from Lake Chinnabee. There are a lot of switch-backs and up and downers.

hiking
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pinhoti, Chinabee, & Skyway S Cheaha Wilderness Loop Trek Plan, 17-19 miles.
U can do it as 2 day hikes by leaving all camping gear in vehicle(s) half-way around at Turnipseed, which makes it tons easier sans backpacks.

A 19-mile LOOP HIKE in the southern Cheaha Wilderness area, combining the SKYWAY Tr with the CHINABEE Tr & a piece of the PINHOTI from Adam's Gap to Odum Point.

(COPY& PASTE LINK below into the URL web address line of your browser)

https://www.facebook.com/NALOutdoorsRecreation/photos/a.228444860571531.54372.166636590085692/836244816458196/?type=1

off road driving
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Great trail, we uses it to break in the new Jeep because there is a road you can drive on but there is also a trail that is very nice but be careful on this trail.

hiking
Saturday, May 19, 2012

DO NOT FOLLOW THESE DRIVING DIRECTIONS!!!! This is not directions to Adams Gap. But once you do find Adams Gap this this trail is great.

hiking
9 days ago

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