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Pinhoti Trail Opens New Connector Trail

Pinhoti Trail Opens New Connector Trail

By Larry Wheat

I suspect that most readers are unaware of, and certainly have not ridden, the regional Pinhoti Trail portion that lies on an old railroad bed west of Rome and south of Summerville, GA.  The Friday and Holland sections of the Pinhoti share these 12 miles with the Simm’s Mountain Trail.  Equestrians, fat-tire bikers, and hikers enjoy this flat, all-weather surface trail.  Until now it has not been used by many equestrians because parking and easy access were not available.  That has changed and now this location is expected to see more use, especially by equestrians. 

 

The railroad bed trail is about one mile from the US Forest Service High Point trailhead that provides considerable equestrian rig parking space and toilets.  Going north, the Pinhoti Trail crosses through the parking lot and climbs the adjacent mountain, then goes northward toward Dalton and east to the Cohutta Mountains.  Hopes of riding south from the trailhead were realized when The Conservation Fund purchased 242 acres of private timberland that lies between the Forest Service trailhead and the railroad trail.  This was done to provide an easement for the Pinhoti Trail.  A Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association (GPTA) volunteer designed a connector trail and other local volunteers cleared brush and some trees.  On April 6, 2010, the initial trail tread cut-in was completed using a mini-excavator generously donated and operated by Dr. Ken Humber, of Humberland Guest Ranch near Waleska.  This provides a safe dirt surface trail that allows equestrians (and others) to park at the High Point trailhead and ride to the railroad trail.  Essentially, this opens about 12 miles of trail to equestrians.  I have ridden both the connector and the railroad trail, and recommend this ride for everyone. 

 

The photo above shows Dr. Ken cutting in the tread on rather flat land.  Much of the new connector is flat pine woods.  The photo below left shows that there are also some hills in the trail, mainly as one approaches the railroad trail.        

 

The resulting tread path is about 4-feet wide as shown here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Point trailhead is shown to the left, and two riders on the railroad bed trail are shown on the right.

Now that you know about this new riding opportunity, your question may be “How do I find the High Point trailhead?”  Here are the directions:

 

Directions to High Point Lookout Parking Lot on Georgia Highway 100

This location is about eight miles south of Summerville (GA) on the east side of state highway 100.  Hwy 100 runs north-south near the Alabama border.  From Rome you may go west on state highway 20 to highway 100, then go north several miles.  You will see the parking lot and a large sign that contains “Pinhoti Trail Parking, Chattahoochee National Forest.”

For those driving from the north or east, you may get on US 27 and drive to Summerville.  In Summerville take Georgia highway 100 south about eight miles and look for the parking lot sign on the east side of the highway. 

 

This is a large parking lot with plenty of room for many large horse rigs.  Pit toilets are available.  There is not any water source at the trailhead.