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

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:)

off road driving
12 days ago

I only went about 3 miles in as I was strapped for time, but what I did was pretty enjoyable. I had no problem on those 3 miles in my '06 2WD Explorer with tires at the end of their life other than where I turned around where I had to come back up a muddy hill, but I still managed to get up with a decent amount of steady throttle. I want to go back and see how far I can go. I saw a Honda Pilot (though 4WD I presume) going down the trail coming from the other direction so either it's not too tough or they turned around somewhere.

backpacking
16 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.

hiking
18 days ago

The water fall is beautiful.. however, this is no quick 1 mile hike. I couldn’t find any trail, basically it’s just navigating your way through the woods staying as close as you can to the highlighted route on your gps. Be ready to get dirty, you have to cross multiple small streams and slick rocks.

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
29 days ago

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

For an “easy” trail rating I will definitely give this one a 5 star. Was able to capture a beautiful pic of the sunset and my Jeep!

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!

off road driving
3 months ago

The first portion was moderately easy. Then it got a little bit challenging after we cross the highway to venture on the other side of the trail. Overall, It was well worth the trip. We would definitely go back again and bring more jeepers with us.

trail running
3 months ago

I enjoyed this trail this afternoon for a easy paced run/hike. It’s basically a ATV/horse trail that we can use. Nice undulating hills. Very easy to follow as the trail is marked with white diamonds for the 11 mile loop and red diamonds for the 5 mile loop. There’s various ground types from rocky to sandy to just plain mud. Fun for a trail runner like me but not an outing Your probably going to take little children on. I only saw a group of 3 ATVs at about mile 9 the entire time I was on the trail and they were pleasant as I stood off the trail so they could drive by me.

The only negative about this trail is getting to it: you have to drive about 4/5 miles of seriously country gravel/dirt roads to get to the trail head. If your a city person you WILL be thinking where the heck am I going and start hearing banjo music...lol.

For the record my Garmin tracker had this run at 10.80 miles and 1227 elevation gain. The trailhead signs say it is 11 miles long for the big loop and 5 miles for the short loop.

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

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.
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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!

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.

hiking
10 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
10 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
11 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
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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
Saturday, November 25, 2017

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

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,

off road driving
Monday, November 06, 2017

it was so amazing it was so fun first and second time too I loved it so much

Saturday, October 28, 2017

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
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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
Sunday, July 16, 2017

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
Saturday, July 08, 2017

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
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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.

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