Heflin Spur of the Pinhoti Trail
Want to hike to Maine and then on to Canada ?????
Start at Heflin City Hall on the Heflin Spur of the Pinhoti Trail.
Enjoy Scenic Mountain Views— Old Growth forest —-Train watching—— Rocky Creek Waterfall—Cahulga Park—Downtown Heflin
Branching from the 350 mile Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, the Heflin Spur of the Pinhoti Trail is a 3.5 mile extension that highlights the natural and cultural heritage of the Southern Appalachians, Cleburne County and the City of Heflin. The spur was designated in 2018 by the US Forest Service.
Starting at Heflin City Hall you have access to information about the city, and all it has to offer to hikers and those wanting to experience the great outdoors. Near city hall is a variety of shops and businesses that can be enjoyed.
In 2007, the United States Forest Service formalized the blazing standards for the Alabama section of the Pinhoti Trail. For all spur and side trails white pianted vertical rectangles are blazed on power poles, and trees along the route around 1/10 of mile each . The blazes will be painted at about eye level and will be about the size of a vertical dollar bill ~ 2”x 6”.
Blazing starts at the Corner of Ross and Bedwell streets. This first mile of the trail is quiet roadwalk to Cahulga Creek Park. Along the way you will pass the historic First United Methodist Church of Heflin, as well as the Baptist Church of Heflin . A short crossing of the railroad on Oxford Street, leads you to Mountain Street and the Park.
Once at Cahulga Creek Park ( an Alabama Birding Trail site), the trail follows the gravel road that traverses the park . Disc Golf, fishing, canoeing and birding abound. As you approach ( and cross ) the Cahulga Dam the Heflin Spur Trail ascends in elevation near the border between Cahulga Park and the US Forest Service. You are near 1200 feet above sea level.
As you cross into Forest Service property, you will notice upland hardwood forests composed primarily of chestnut Oak, Red Maple, and Yellow Poplar. You will also notice mature pine forests composed of Longleaf, shortleaf and loblolly pine. Also within these forests are large flame Azaleas, some over 20 feet tall Peak bloom is in the middle of April .
Around mile 2 you will descend from the upland pine forest to cross Rocky Creek Branch. At the bridge go upstream about 1/10 of a mile to the old dam and waterfall. This was used as the electric power source for the city of Heflin until the 1920s when Alabama Power arrived. The waterfall is well over 20 feet high. Huge Umbrella Magnolia trees abound, their blooms are white during in the spring.
When crossing the Rocky Branch, you follow the spur until you come near Norfolk Southern Railroad right of way. As the trail turns and parallels the railroad, you will go past old growth pine, sweetgum, white oak, green ash and yellow poplar. These trees are huge. Rail traffic is heavy, so do not be surprised if a freight train or AMTRAK comes down the line. After crossing a small stream (parallel to the railroad) you will then be on the old Heflin to Oxford road that was used prior to the construction of US HWY 78 the 1930s.
At the of end of the nearly ¾ of a mile part of the spur, Forest Service Road 500 Parking lot with the Pinhoti Trail connection is reached . Hikers can continue the rest of your hike on the Pinhoti to Flagg Mountain in Coosa County to the south or connection to the Appalachian Trail (and on to Maine) in Georgia to the north.
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Activities Available: Birding | Fishing | Hiking | Trail Running | WalkingAmenities Available: Dog Friendly | Dogs Allowed | Picnic Tables | Restrooms