Ranger Field (via Hickory Flatts Cemetery)

Location: North Georgia
Trip Starts: Hickory Flatts Cemetery
Trip Ends: Hickory Flatts Cemetery
Total Distance: 4.8 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Appalachian, Benton MacKaye Trails
Trail Traffic: Moderate to Heavy
Trip Type: Overnight Hike
More Information:

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway
Gainesville, GA 30501
770 297-3000

Army Ranger Field (Benton MacKaye Trail)
Highlights:

The Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) is a footpath of nearly 300 miles that traverses the Appalachian mountains of the southeastern United States. It is named in honor of Benton MacKaye whose was a forester, planner and conservationist whose vision resulted in the creation of the Appalachian Trail in the early 1900’s. The BMT is designed for foot travel in the tradition of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Davenport Gap on the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Benton MacKaye Trail passes through some of the most remote backcountry in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, including eight federally designated Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas.

This hike starts at the Hickory Flatts Cemetery in the Chattahoochee National Forest and uses a combination of the Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trails to reach an open area at 2.4 miles after a side hike to Long Creek Falls.  The cemetery is the property of the New Bethel Church which was established in 1901 and is located 12 miles from the nearest paved road.  It has a picnic pavilion and a concrete building housing two vault toilets in the parking area.  There is also an interesting seesaw that spins 360 degrees near the pavilion which the kids will find entertaining if they are joining you on this hike.

We hiked the short 0.2 mile distance from the cemetery to the Appalachian Trail, then followed it 0.8 miles to Long Creek Falls where we joined up with the Benton MacKaye Trail.  From here it is 1.2 miles to a wildlife opening at 3250 feet that is occasionally visited by Army Rangers that train in the area.  If you spend some time combing the field, you will most certainly find spent ammunition clips, blanks resembling bullets, and smoke cans in the area.   No camping is permitted in this wildlife field, which is the case for many of the wildlife clearings in this area.  

GPS Coordinates:

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