Benton MacKaye Trail
Like a miniature Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trai follows the Appalachian mountains of the southeast U.S. and shares a southern terminus with its big brother. Starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia, the Benton MacKaye finishes on the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, crossing eight Wilderness areas in some of the most remote sections of Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Bonus: The trail crosses multiple trout rivers. “This is your classic Appalachian terrain,” says LaRuffa. “Big rhododendrons, mountain morales, a deep primordial kind of east coast forest.”
Time to Complete: 2-3 weeks
Terrain: Strenuous, akin to the Appalachian Trail. Elevation ranges from 765 feet at the crossing of the Hiwassee River in Tennessee to the 5,843-foot summit of Mt. Sterling in the Smokies.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: Low Gap to Davenport Gap (7.2 miles one-way). Located in the Great Smokies National Park, this is the scenic finale of the Benton MacKaye Trail, and it includes a side trail to the Mount Cammerer Fire Tower, which serves up a must-see panorama.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!Back to top