Blazing a New Trail

Over the course of nearly two decades, the Fund worked with numerous partners to link the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama to the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia. By conserving key properties and extending the Pinhoti Trail, we linked the two trails and extended the reach of the Appalachian Trail into Alabama.

Our efforts began back in 1985 when the Alabama Trails Association approached us to engage private landowners and negotiate the acquisition of properties that were key to completing the trail. We helped acquire nearly 10 properties, protecting more than 7,000 acres and adding more than 20 miles to the Pinhoti Trail across Alabama and Georgia. Finally, in 2006, the purchase of three miles of trail corridor culminated the effort to link the Pinhoti Trail to the Appalachian Trail.

Even after linking the trails, our work continued: In 2009, we protected the eight-mile crest of Rebecca Mountain, a major ridge in the Appalachian Mountains. This land allows the U.S. Forest Service to complete a portion of the Pinhoti Trail that connects Rebecca Mountain to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. This property is open to visitors for hiking, camping and recreation.

Beginning in 2010, the Fund has worked closely with Alabama's “Forever Wild” program to ensure the long-term management of these lands as natural areas for hiking the Pinhoti. We are working to protect over 1,300 acres and move 10 miles of the trail to a true off-road trail environment, which will enhance the hiking experience through the Weogufka region.

In 2014, a group of volunteers constructed the Pinhoti along Weogufka Creek tocreate more outdoor recreation opportunities for visitors and residents. The lands surrounding Weogufka Creek include 400-year-old trees, a wide array of wildflowers and plant species, and rolling hills that jump quickly in elevation. In early 2015, the Fund worked with Alabama Forest Resources Center, the State of Alabama and others to open a new trailhead at the base of Flagg Mountain, at the southernmost terminus in Coosa County.

Most recently, in October 2017, the Hugh Kaul Foundation enabled the Fund to acquire an important 240 acres in Coosa County, Alabama. These additional land acquisitions by the Fund have now protected the great majority of the rugged Weogufka Creek Gorge thus expanding the protected area at the southern end of the Pinhoti Trail to include both Flagg Mountain and the Gorge .Only 40 miles due north of the State Capitol in Montgomery, this wild area at the southernmost end of the Appalachians will provide a fitting southern terminus for a mountain trail system stretching over 2,500 miles north to 5,000 foot high Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Why This Project Matters

With three million people hiking a portion each year, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most well-known places to experience the outdoors. The Conservation Fund has protected land around the iconic trail in Alabama, Tennessee, Vermont and New Hampshire. Our efforts continue, ensuring that one of America’s favorite places is protected for future generations.

"When I was 16 and 17 years old I took my first long hikes on the Appalachian Trail and developed the dream of linking the mountains of Alabama to the Appalachian Trail. Today that dream is a reality. It is an extraordinary achievement born from hundreds of volunteer hours and decades of work to link the trail between Alabama and Georgia.”
—Mike Leonard, Chairman, The Conservation Fund, and Founder, Alabama Trails Association

Pinhoti Trail Map:

The Trail is best accessed at the Flagg Mountain Trailhead, which offers an open-air shelter, kiosks, and parking area for explorers to set out on their trek within the beautiful Alabama wilderness:


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