Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail Loop

East Ellijay, Georgia

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This pleasant dayhike gives you a taste of two of the Southeast’s long-distance paths, the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT). The hike begins just north of Springer Mountain, which marks the beginning of the AT. Starting on the AT, you begin in hardwoods and pines, and soon the AT and BMT share the same treadway. After descending through thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel, the trails split and you follow the AT to Stover Creek. The trail then passes eastern hemlock trees that are hundreds of years old. Just south of Three Forks (the confluence of Stover, Chester, and Long creeks) you turn south to take the BMT and begin a gradual climb up Rich Mountain. The BMT finally descends from the mountain, and you rejoin the AT to return to the trailhead.

Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail Loop Professional Review and Guide

"This pleasant dayhike gives you a taste of two of the Southeast’s long-distance paths, the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT). The hike begins just north of Springer Mountain, which marks the beginning of the AT. Starting on the AT, you begin in hardwoods and pines, and soon the AT and BMT share the same treadway.

After descending through thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel, the trails split and you follow the AT to Stover Creek. The trail then passes eastern hemlock trees that are hundreds of years old. Just south of Three Forks (the confluence of Stover, Chester, and Long creeks) you turn south to take the BMT and begin a gradual climb up Rich Mountain. The BMT finally descends from the mountain, and you rejoin the AT to return to the trailhead."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: East Ellijay
Distance: 5.8
Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: U.S. Forest Service, Blue Ridge District
Local Maps: National Geographic Trails Illustrated Springer & Cohutta Mountains, Appalachian Trail Conservancy S. North Carolina/Georgia map set

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