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Fannin County Georgia Hiking Trails

Benton Mackaye Trail - Appalachian Trail


Length: 78.6 miles
Rating: All Difficultie
Use: Light

Restrictions: No motorized vehicles allowed on trail.

Benton Mackaye Trail offers sparkling streams through laurel and rhododendron thickets to scenic ridge tops, mature forest, and country roads.

Benton Mackaye Trail in Georgia stretches from Springer Mountain to Double Spring Gap on Tennessee border. The first 20 miles of this trail merge 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 country roads near Stanley Gap, and then follows ridges tops to Cherry Log.

The trail then 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. The last 7 miles are located within the Cohutta Wilderness. The terrain varies from streams through laurel and rhododendron thickets to scenic ridge tops, mature forest, and country roads. The trail is marked with white diamonds and blazes on trees. On the Cohutta District, the trail merges with the South Fork, Jacks River, and Hemtop Trails, where horse travel is permitted within the wilderness.


There are many access points along this trail. Shallowford Bridge Access: From Blue Ridge, take old U.S. 76 for 1 mile east to Aska Road. Turn right, and go south for 9 miles to a steel bridge. GA Highway 60 Access: From Blue Ridge, take Old U.S. 76 east for 5 miles to Morganton. There, turn right on GA 60 and travel south 15 miles near Tooni Gap. The following access points are available within the Cohutta Ranger District. Watson Gap Access: Take GA 5 northwest out of Blue Ridge for about 4 miles. Turn left at the Watson Gap directional sign onto Old GA 2 and travel 10.5 miles to Watson Gap, a four-way intersection, where the trail enters the road. Dyer Gap Access: Follow directions to Watson Gap. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 64 and go 3.5 miles to the Dyer Cemetery. The trail crosses the road just beyond this point. Dally Gap Access: Follow directions to Watson Gap. Then turn right onto Forest Service Road 22 and go about 3.5 miles to Dally Gap and the Jacks River trailhead. Hike down the Jacks River Trail about 0.8 mile to where the Benton MacKaye Trail intersects.

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