Hiking Project Logo

The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Lost Creek Campground to Hiwassee River/Childers Creek.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Point to Point

1,098' 335 m


755' 230 m


545' 166 m


782' 238 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views

Section Of

Need to Know

For more information, visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association's website.

There is a fly fishing outfitter (Reliance Fly & Tackle, 423-338-7771, with a store and small restaurant on Childers Creek Road 1.3 miles from TN 315. From the Childers Creek Trailhead, the store is 0.6 miles west on Childers Creek Road.


Points of Interest along this section: This is an especially outstanding section of the BMT as it parallels Big Lost Creek through a deep limestone gorge with cascades and waterfalls. The trail follows an old railroad grade built for logging in the early 1900s, then later used for a road. Beautiful rock formations are seen on both sides of the trail. The trail also crosses the Hiwassee River on a highway bridge. The Hiwassee River is a designated National Scenic River and is popular with canoe and kayak enthusiasts and with trout fishermen. The community of Reliance has several very old buildings and a small store, Webb Bros, one of very few stores located on the BMT. Food and camping supplies can be purchased here as well as the small store at the canoe outfitters. Watercraft (kayaks, rafts, and tubes), can also be rented at these outfitter and Webb Bros. This section is highly recommended as a day outing for families.

Trail Description: From FS 103 (WP 12, White Oak Flats Road) by the bridge over Lost Creek at mile 105.3, follow the road up the hill on the west side of the creek, then leave the road off to the right at mile 105.6. The trail switchbacks down the hillside to the creek, then turns left, downstream along Lost Creek. The trail follows an old roadbed downstream for 2 miles. At mile 108.3, gated FR 173 comes in from the left. A trail sign is at this intersection. Turn left up the roadbed and follow this to the top of the ridge to another gate at mile 108.6. Go straight down the steep hill. This gravel road then intersects a paved road at a sharp turn. Go straight downhill on the paved road. Cross Ellis Creek at a gravel ford, swing around the iron gate on the creek side, then go past the canoe livery campground on the right (WP 17), under the railroad trestle at mile 109.4, and past the canoe/kayak put-in to the intersection with TN 30 at mile 109.7. Go straight onto TN 30, past the small village of Reliance, then turn right onto TN 315 at mile 109.9 (WP 15). Cross the Hiwassee River, then turn right just past the railroad track on Childers Creek Road at mile 110.2. Go to mile 110.6 to the Childers Creek trailhead for the John Muir Trail (WP 16).

Campsites: Camping is available at Lost Creek Campground (WP 10), Hiwassee Outfitters, and a couple places along Lost Creek (WP 18, WP 19). Hiwassee Whitewater Co./Flip Flop Burgers has tent sites, bunk house, showers and food.

Water Sources: Potable water is at Hiwassee Outfitters (WP 17) and Webb Bros (WP 15). Lost Creek (WP012, C), Ellis Creek (WP 20, D) and Childers Creek (WP 16, D) and the Hiwassee River are also ready accesses for water which must be sterilized.


Shared By:

Richard Harris with improvements by Larry Van Dyke

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 4 votes


in Eastern TN


  3.8 from 4 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Eastern TN


in Tennessee


65 Views Last Month
2,253 Since Feb 15, 2019



Lost Creek
Mar 21, 2019 near Benton, TN
Hiwassee Union Baptist Church, Reliance, TN
Mar 21, 2019 near Benton, TN
At Reliance, TN with Hiwassee River and railroad bridge in the background.
Mar 21, 2019 near Benton, TN
Railroad tressle at Hiwassee Outfitters, Reliance, TN
Mar 21, 2019 near Benton, TN
Webb Brothers Grocery, Reliance, TN
Apr 7, 2020 near Benton, TN
Childers Creek Parking area and trailhead.
Mar 21, 2019 near Benton, TN



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Nov 12, 2022
Josh Shaffer
Parked at Reliance Boat Ramp, followed the gravel road along the rail road, turned right and followed Ellis Creek. Had to cross Ellis Creek by foot… 2.5mi
Jul 6, 2021
Fraz Ellis
camping lost creek campground
Oct 23, 2020
Michael Wentz
Oct 20, 2020
Michael Wentz