Long Trails Of The Southeast

Trekking the Appalachian Trail is no longer the solitary experience it once was. Backpackers looking for a less crowded, long-trail experience should grab Long Trails of the Southeast to discover the many other long-hike opportunities available in the Southeast. Long Trails covers 7 trails in 8 states, for a total of 600 miles of trails. Each trail description is divided into segments, and includes at-a-glance information offering details on length, trail condition, high-points, difficulty, tips, and trailhead directions. Vivid trail reports describe exactly what’s encountered along the way. Finally, a Trail Log provides mile-by-mile descriptions of the entire trail, including road crossings, water sources, shelters, and more. Whether hiking a trail in one outing or knocking it off in sections, hiking enthusiasts must have Long Trails of the Southeast as a part of their library.

Birdshooter’s Take: Johnny Molloy’s book has nearly 30 pages dedicated to the Benton MacKaye Trail (which shares nearly half of the thirty mile Duncan Ridge Trail) and he provides detailed information including directions to the trailhead, highs/lows of the hike, campsites, and tips for the hiker. My Recommendation: There is no trail guide for the Duncan Ridge Trail other than a few USFS handouts, so give this book a look for the Benton MacKaye Trail portion or consider Tim Homan’s book of the same name. You should also visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association website. They have section descriptions in Adobe pdf format along with trail and profile maps for sixteen miles of the D.R.T.

Benton MacKaye: Conservationist, Planner, and Creator of the Appalachian Trail

Planner and originator of the Appalachian Trail and a cofounder of the Wilderness Society, Benton MacKaye (1879-1975) was a pioneer in linking the concepts of preservation and recreation. Spanning three-quarters of a century, his long and productive career had a major impact on emerging movements in conservation, environmentalism, and regional planning. MacKaye’s seminal ideas on outdoor recreation, wilderness protection, land-use planning, community development, and transportation have inspired generations of activists, professionals, and adventurers seeking to strike a harmonious balance between human need and the natural environment.

This pathbreaking biography provides the first complete portrait of a significant and unique figure in American environmental, intellectual, and cultural history. Drawing on extensive research, Larry Anderson traces MacKaye’s extensive career, examines his many published works, and describes the importance of MacKaye’s relationships with such influential figures as Lewis Mumford, Aldo Leopold, and Walter Lippmann. This book will appeal to students, scholars, and professionals in preservation, conservation, recreation, planning, and American studies, as well as general readers interested in these subjects.

Birdshooter’s Take: This is basically a biography of Benton MacKaye who was the first person to publish the idea of an “Appalachian Trail”. It is not a trail guidebook. My Recommendation: If you are interested in the Appalachian Trail and the history behind it’s creation, then this may be worth a look.

Hiking the Benton MacKaye Trail

Veteran hiker and nature writer Tim Homan guides fellow hikers and backpackers along the scenic, primitive Benton MacKaye Trail, currently a 90-mile trail that extends from Springer Mountain in Georgia into southern Tennessee. The guidebook is divided into 12 trail sections, each including a map, an elevation profile, and easy-to-use information on length, difficulty, access, and scenic features. Homan describes the surrounding habitat, providing comments on the area’s flora and fauna. Also included is an essay on the origins and history of the trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association, as well as a timetable for the development of the remainder of the proposed trail, information about the geology of the area, and a brief biography of founder Benton MacKaye. Named in honor of Benton MacKaye, who inspired the creation of the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail is a trail in progress that will eventually cover more than 270 miles and extend through Tennessee into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to rejoin the Appalachian Trail.

Birdshooter’s Take: This book has only recently been released and is the first guidebook completely focused on the Benton MacKaye Trail. It is the only guidebook with profile and trail maps on the route and Homan also provides some history and future plans for the trail. My Recommendation: If you plan to hike the Benton MacKaye Trail, this is the guidebook to get. You should also visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association website. They have section descriptions in Adobe pdf format along with trail and profile maps.

Hiking Trails Of North Georgia

The Hiking Trails of North Georgia is an indispensable resource, whether you’re planning a leisurely afternoon walk or a strenuous backpacking trip. The convenient new format of this updated third edition will enable you to explore North Georgia’s beautiful natural area with intelligence and ease.

Birdshooter’s Take: This is another of Tim Homan’s guidebooks and one of the first ones that I used for Georgia hiking trails. It has 124 hikes in the State with 11 maps and precise directions to the trailheads. The book is designed for both hikers and backpackers but focuses only on the trails in North Georgia. It also includes sections of the Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye Trial, Duncan Ridge Trail, and Bartram Trail in Georgia. My Recommendation: If you hike a lot in North Georgia, this is the best book out there. If you just want information on the Benton MacKaye Trail, get Tim Homan’s other book.

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