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  1. #1
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    US, GA or AL, Searching for a Site

    I'm looking for a good twenty to forty mile loop trail (or a longer one with side trails that can be turned into a twenty to forty mile loop), with good elevation change (between 500 ft and 2,000 ft of change along the trail) within four hours' drive of Gainesville, FL. Plentiful water stops would be preferred even over a shorter drive, assuming that the above requirements are met.

    I don't know if such a thing exists, but I'd like to get a good weekend in backpacking and this seems a good place to ask.

    As an example for distances from Gainesville: Atlanta is about five hours' drive, while Savannah is about three and an half. Mongomery is about six hours, Columbus about five.

    Please feel free to direct me to wherever you might want; more information on the areas recommended is always a good thing!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mr.Tattoo's Avatar
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    I'm pretty interested to see some of the responses to this.....FLRider how many miles a day you planning on doing on this trip ?

  3. #3
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Tattoo View Post
    I'm pretty interested to see some of the responses to this.....FLRider how many miles a day you planning on doing on this trip ?
    Depending on the campsites available and the terrain, I figure on doing anywhere from 12 to 20 on the first day and then finishing up on the second (the second day can be as short as just five or six miles, if I can't find a 20+ mile loop; that'll make getting back to town easier). I'll probably take it pretty slow (1.5 to 2 mph or so); my experience on the Foothills Trail has shown me that elevation change is nothing to take lightly.

    I'm not even completely averse to doing an out-and-back; but, if I can find a loop, that'd be ideal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mr.Tattoo's Avatar
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    Going to keep an eye on this post.

  5. #5
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    It's farther than your stated driving range, but there are several possible loops involving the Pinhoti Trail in AL and GA. Multiple loop options are possible particularly in the Cheaha State Park area.

    If you're not familiar with the Pinhoti, it's a footpath trail that runs along the southernmost ridge of the appalachian mountain chain. The southern terminus is near Weogufka/Sylacauga AL, at the southernmost mtn that rises above 1000ft elevation. From there it meanders in a generally northeast track for about 335 miles until it connects to the Benton MacKaye Trail near Elijay GA. It's JMO, but the Pinhoti is a too often overlooked trail. It has a lot of solitude and diversity, just what a good hiking trail should.

    BTW, there is a reliable shuttle service for the AL portions of the trail, so you need not be bound to loops only. Lookup Blister Bob on Alatrails for shuttle contact info.

    There are maps, elevation profiles, and trailhead descriptions available through links at the alliance site I linked above. Also, I've thru-hiked the trail and I'd be happy to answer questions if you decide to hike it.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  6. #6
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angrysparrow View Post
    It's farther than your stated driving range, but there are several possible loops involving the Pinhoti Trail in AL and GA. Multiple loop options are possible particularly in the Cheaha State Park area.

    If you're not familiar with the Pinhoti, it's a footpath trail that runs along the southernmost ridge of the appalachian mountain chain. The southern terminus is near Weogufka/Sylacauga AL, at the southernmost mtn that rises above 1000ft elevation. From there it meanders in a generally northeast track for about 335 miles until it connects to the Benton MacKaye Trail near Elijay GA. It's JMO, but the Pinhoti is a too often overlooked trail. It has a lot of solitude and diversity, just what a good hiking trail should.

    BTW, there is a reliable shuttle service for the AL portions of the trail, so you need not be bound to loops only. Lookup Blister Bob on Alatrails for shuttle contact info.

    There are maps, elevation profiles, and trailhead descriptions available through links at the alliance site I linked above. Also, I've thru-hiked the trail and I'd be happy to answer questions if you decide to hike it.
    Thanks for the suggestion, angrysparrow! I'll check that out and keep it in mind as a possible. I recall reading about it in a couple of the Eastern Continental Trail journals I've been keeping an eye on this year, but I haven't actually done much research on it.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    BTW, I realize that's a bit of a drive for a single overnighter loop. I just mentioned it in case you might want to consider it as a project to tackle in weekend sections as time allows. The trail is just about perfect for that sort of thing.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  8. #8
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    A friend and I attempted a trip into the Cohutta Wilderness Area years ago. At the time you were supposed to be able to hike most of the Jack's River Trail and then hit a cross trail to return down another one to turn this into a loop something like this:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=285844

    I'm not having much lucking finding more info but there seems to be several cross trails so you can turn this into an out-n-back or use various cross trails to make loops. Oops, I just noticed the drive time from Gainesville is a bit out of your radius.

    If you want to stay away from the AT, BM, etc I think this may be your best bet in Georgia. Come prepared for water crossing though, there's something like 40 stream crossings in less that a mile on one of the legs.
    Last edited by zukiguy; 07-07-2012 at 14:11.

  9. #9
    Member Inertia's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Senior Member SwinginIt's Avatar
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    Check out Cumberland Island. It has 50 miles of trail system. There's cool wildlife, ruins and deserted beaches. You need to reserve in advance and its buggy this time of year, but it's an amazing place. I plan to hit it in Jan.

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