Blazing a New Trail

Over the course of more than three 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 along the trail to enhance it and rerouting portions of the trail from roadways to more natural settings, we’ve helped establish and protect the Pinhoti Trail and link it to the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia 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 8,000 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 continues:

In 2009, we protected the eight-mile crest of Rebecca Mountain, a major ridge in the Appalachian Mountains in Alabama. This property is open to visitors for hiking and camping.

Beginning in 2010 and continuing through today, the Fund is working with multiple landowners to create the southern terminus of the Pinhoti Trail. Much of this area is an outstanding example of the rare montane longleaf pine forest with some trees that are nearly 400 years old. Volunteers began the construction of the Pinhoti along Weogufka Creek to create more outdoor recreation opportunities for visitors and residents in 2014. Since then, more than 10 miles of the trail has been moved off the highways to a true off-road trail environment, which will enhance the hiking experience through the Weogufka region.

In early 2015, the Fund worked with Alabama Forest Resources Center, the State of Alabama and others to open a trailhead at the southernmost point of the Trail, the base of Flagg Mountain, in Coosa County.

Most recently, in 2017, a Birmingham-based foundation enabled the Fund to acquire an important 240 acres in Coosa County. 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. 

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, the southern terminus, which offers an open-air shelter, kiosks, and parking area for explorers to set out on their trek within the beautiful Alabama wilderness:

pinhotitrailmap


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