Benton MacKaye Trail – maps & notes

Benton MacKaye Trail - maps
Benton MacKaye Trail – maps

In seven (7) days, my brother-in-law and I are heading out to hike the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT). Running from Big Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Springer Mountain in Georgia, it is quasi-parallel to the Appalachian Trail, yet vastly different.

Why hike the BMT? It is remote. In 2017, nearly 4,000 people started hiking northbound on the AT. From the blogs and journals I have read in preparation, we will be lucky to see another thru hiker the entire length of the trail for 286 miles. The BMT passes through eight (8) different wilderness areas in otherwise remote areas of Tennessee and Georgia. Even the first 92 miles in the Smoky’s run along trails unknown to the multitudes of backpackers. We want to be in the forest, to bask in the quiet solitude of the woods.

For navigation, we’re taking three (3) maps: Nat. Geo. Great Smoky Mountains #229, Nat. Geo. Tellico & Ocoee Rivers #781, Nat. Geo. Springer and Cohutta Mountains #777. Most importantly, we have Sgt. Rock’s Thru-Hiker’s Guide.

I will not be blogging in the same manner that I did on the Long Trail. It was simply too taxing and time intensive to blog at the end of each day. In lieu of this approach, I will be publishing when I resupply, once every five (5) days. My hope is that I am able to synthesize the best stories, the funniest moments and lessons into that post.

I am looking forward to the hike with much anticipation and hope you can follow along.


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