BENTON MACKAYE TRAIL

LOCATION: North Georgia
HIKE STARTS: Springer Mountain
HIKE ENDS: Big Stamp Gap
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1.6 Miles
HIKE TYPE: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
HIKE DIFFICULTY: Moderate
TRAILS USED: Benton MacKaye Trail
TRAIL TRAFFIC: Light to Moderate
TRIP TYPE: Day or Overnight Hike
MORE INFORMATION:
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway
Gainesville, GA 30501
770 297-3000

HIGHLIGHTS: The Benton MacKaye Trail is a work in progress, and it currently runs nearly 100 miles from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to US Hwy 64 & 74 near the Ocoee River in Tennessee. The trail is named for Benton MacKaye, who first published a proposal for the creation of the Appalachian Trail in the early 1900’s while hiking in Vermont.

The current plan is for the Benton MacKaye Trail to continue through the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and eventually reach the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and rejoin with the Appalachian Trail. (For more information, you can visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association website. Its members volunteer for trail development, construction, maintenance and repair.)

I’ve hiked this section of the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) a few times. In 1997, we hiked a four mile loop that that started at USFS 42, climbed to Springer Mountain, dropped to Big Stamp Gap, then finished back at the A.T. parking area on USFS 42. In 1999, we camped at Big Stamp Gap, hiked up to Springer Mountain, then backtracked to our campsite. Both hikes are fairly easy and take you to the southern terminus of both the Appalachian and Benton MacKaye Trails where there are nice views to the south.

This short section of the Benton MacKaye Trail starts at Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of both the Benton MacKaye and Appalachian Trails and descends gradually for about 700 feet. There are outstanding views to the south from the bronze plaque and first white blaze at Springer Mountain, and there is also a nice vista to the east just past Ball Mountain on the BMT. At Big Stamp Gap, the Benton MacKaye Trail crosses USFS 42 and a nice drive-in campsite and continues northbound.

Guidebook For This Area Trail Map For This Area

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