Location: North Georgia
Trip Starts: Big Stamp Gap
Trip Ends: Three Forks
Total Distance: 4 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


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.)

This section of the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) is a short one that runs about four miles from Big Stamp Gap to Three Forks, where it joins up again with the Appalachian Trail. Three Forks is a nice flat area accessible by USFS 58 where Stover, Chester, and Long Creeks converge. The area is very pleasant and it is often crowded with overnight campers, especially on weekends.

We hiked a loop in this section that started at Three Forks and followed the Appalachian Trail back to USFS 42. From here we returned back to Three Forks via the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT). It’s either a short day hike or an extremely easy backpacking trip, depending on your preference.

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