The Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) is different from the other trails in the Cohutta Wilderness because this trail is just passing through the wilderness.
The Benton MacKaye Trail or BMT is a footpath nearly 300 miles in length traversing the Southern Appalachian Mountains. It swings northwest passing through both the Cohutta and Big Frog Wilderness.
Section 9 of the BMT is a 4.5-mile trail that begins at Dyer Gap in the Chattahoochee National Forest. From Dyer Gap, the trail descends northwest 0.6 miles to the South Fork of Jacks River and shares the same footpath with the South Fork Trail for 1.6 miles following the Jacks River downstream. After 2.2 miles the BMT section 9 detours from the South Fork Trail and begins ascending northeast for 2.3 miles to Watson Gap.
Section 10A & 10B of the Benton MacKaye Trail is a 4.1-mile section which starts in the Chattahoochee National Forest at Watson Gap and continues into the Cohutta Wilderness ending at Spanish Oak Gap on Hemp Top Trail. From there the BMT begins its section 10C & 10D part of the trail and shares the same pathway with Hemp Top Trail all the way to the Tennessee State line at Double Springs Gap.
The trail described here is Section 10A & 10B of the Benton MacKaye Trail which begins at Watson Gap and follows FS 22 Rd for the first .3 miles before detouring from the road to the left onto the trail. From here the footpath has slight increases and decreases in elevation during the first mile. This section of the trail also has a small quaint wooden bridge that crosses a small creek.
At mile 1.4 the trail enters the Cohutta Wilderness. It continues to twist and turn in a gradual descent to Bear Branch Creek at the 2.4-mile mark where the trail crosses it. After crossing the creek the trail continues a short .2 miles to the western Benton MacKaye - Jacks River Trail junction. Total distance so far is 2.6 miles.
The Benton MacKaye Trail turns right onto the Jacks River Trail and shares the same trail for a 100 yards or less. The sign marking the northern departure for the Benton MacKaye Trail will be on the left. An image of the trail sign marking this junction is in the top right of the page.
From here the trail gradually ascends gaining 300 feet over the next 1.5 miles to Spanish Oak Gap where it junctions with Hemp Top Trail.
From this point, the BMT Section 10C & 10D continues to share the same pathway with Hemp Top Trail for 4.4 miles to Double Spring Gap and the boundary for the Cherokee National Forest and Tennessee which is marked by a sign.
Once in Tennessee the BMT Section 11A continues to share the same pathway with Hemp Top Trail to the top of Big Frog Mountain where it enters the Big Frog Wilderness at the Big Frog Trail junction.
Blue Ridge, GA Access: Access to Section 10 of the Benton MacKaye Trail is via Blue Ridge, GA solely now since FS64 below Three Forks Mountain Trailhead is closed due to the road washing away over this past winter because of the record 25 inches of rainfall.
Once arriving in Blue Ridge, GA go to the US 76-GA 5 intersection near the McDonald's. Go North on GA 5 approximately 3.7 miles. Take a left onto Old Highway 2.
Continue straight for approximately 10.2 miles to Watson Gap. The last 1.2 miles is gravel. The intersection at Watson Gap is a 4-way intersection of FS22, FS 64, Old Highway 2, and County Road 187.
At this intersection take a right onto FS 22 and the Trailhead for section 10 Benton MacKaye is .3 miles on the left.
|BMT:Section 10A &10B|
|Hiking In:||Easy to Moderate|
|BMT Section 10: Trailhead:||2,726 feet|
|Jacks River Trail Junction:||2,600 feet|
|Hemp Top Trail Junction:||2,920 feet|
|Trail Junctions:||Jacks River, Hemp Top Trail|
|Features:||Benton MacKaye Trail|