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Conquer the east and west ridges of Talladega Mountain during a series of strenuous climbs on this rocky 12-mile loop. Start on the Cave Creek Trail; as you enter the wilderness, go right at the first clearing, then left, and right again to cross Cave Creek at 2.2 miles and continue through Virginia pine, hickory, and chestnut oak. Pass the Cave Creek/ Pinhoti connector and stay straight on the Nubbin Creek Trail at the next intersection. At 4.4 miles, get water at Mill Shoal Creek; the trail narrows as you near a junction with the Odum Scout Trail and the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Follow the Silent Trail to the right as you start to swing around from south to north. At large group camp, bear right onto the unmarked Pinhoti Trail, heading north. It may be faint; don’t let yourself be drawn west and downhill. Take in one of the state’s best long-range views of the forested valley at mile 7.1 before closing the loop at 11.7 miles.-Hike Courtesy of Russell Helms, author of “60 Hikes within 60 miles: Birmingham” (Menasha Ridge Press)
Location: 33.4171142, -85.8307743
Chinabee Silent Trail/Pinhoti Trail Junction
Location: 33.4241169, -85.8302808
4-way intersection in the middle of a large campsite: The Chinnabee Silent Trail heads northwest downhill. The Pinhoti Trail heads north here, while the Odum Trail shoots off to the east.