Hiking on the Benton MacKaye Trail
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Benton MacKaye Trail

After realizing his dream for the Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye, (pronounced Mac-Eye) a forester felt the need for a series of loop trails that intersected with the Appalachian Trail.

In 1980 a trail association was formed to create a major loop in the South which appropriately named the Benton MacKaye Trail. The plan is to create a 250 mile foot trail with its southern tip at Springer Mountain, and its most northern point in the northeastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Attractions along the Benton MacKaye Trail

  • Long Creek Falls
  • Fall Branch Falls
  • Suspension Bridge across the Toccoa River
  • Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron
  • Seasonal 360 views on top of Rhodes Mountain

The trail in Georgia stretches from Springer Mountain to Double Spring Gap on the Tennessee border. The first 20 miles of this trail merges with the Appalachian and Duncan Ridge Trails. From Springer Mountain, the Benton MacKaye Trail goes north to Rhodes Mountain and turns west crossing the Toccoa River at Shallowford Bridge. The trail uses county roads near Stanley Gap, and then follows ridge tops to Cherry Log. The trial hen crosses private property before following state and county roads to Bush Head Gap. The entire trail is marked with white diamonds and blazes on trees.

for more information....

Benton MacKaye Trail Association
PO Box 53271
Atlanta, GA 30355-1271



It is important to be well versed before exploring the backcountry. Here are a few basics to help you get started:

• Always hike with another person.
• Always bring a small flashlight.
• Always bring water.
• All water taken from the backcountry should be treated.
• Let someone know your route and return time.
• Wear appropriate shoes and clothing.
• Carry a small first aid kit.

Be informed on the weather and be prepared for quickly changing conditions. Always check current weather conditions.

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