In 2001, a small group of avid hikers met at the Open Pond Campground in Conecuh National Forest near Andalusia. They had with them a state roadmap that they had picked up at an aging rest area along an interstate. Using an orange magic marker, they began to carefully draw a line on the map.
The line started in Florence, near the Tennessee state line, then headed south connecting several dots along the way—state parks, national forests, city parks, open public land—and finally ending at Fort Morgan on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
The result was a proposed new long trail in the state, a mountain-to-sea hike that they would eventually call the Alabama Trail.
Since that time, the Alabama Hiking Trail Society has been laying the groundwork for that trail to become a reality. Construction has gone in stops and starts over the years, the trail building is finally underway, bringing a dream years in the making to fruition. The final route of the path will determine its final length, but currently, AHTS estimates that it will more than 650 miles long. An actual complete walk-in-the-woods from the Gulf to the mountains is still years off but AHTS is working to connect those dots with a temporary roadwalk between them. And when it’s finished, the route will delight hikers with all that makes Alabama an amazing outdoor wonderland: tranquil blackwater rivers, rich green swamps and wetlands, deep canyons, towering waterfalls, and mountains with spectacular views.