Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views
Need to Know
For more information, visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association's website
Points of Interest along this section: This section provides sweeping views of the Hiwassee River and the surrounding mountains. An especially beautiful view can be seen from the swinging bridge which crosses the river at the Apalachia Powerhouse. Another notable feature is the section known as The Narrows, a deep narrow gorge through which the old river bed flows. The confluence of Coker Creek with the Hiwassee River has also created an interesting array of large, beautifully shaped boulders, but descent to the stream from the BMT is challenging. A side trip 3 miles up the Coker Creek Trail #183 will lead to a beautiful series of cascades and waterfalls.
Trail Description: The old JMT route followed the river edge upstream from the Towee Creek TH past the Apalachia Powerhouse and under the swinging bridge. This section of trail was rerouted to avoid the busy road and the dangerous riverside trail, but a nice 5-mile loop can be made combining the old and new routes. From the Towee Creek overflow parking lot at mile 114.2, head east along the edge of Towee Creek, then cross the creek at a shallow ford at mile 114.8. In high water, this crossing can be challenging and a reroute is under construction (noted in green) to avoid the bridge. The newest reroute will cross the road bridge over Towee Creek, then turn off the north side of the road ascending the ridgeline through a series of switchbacks to intersect the old route at the ridgeline. For the current route, ford the creek and head up to the top of the ridge on a couple of switchbacks, then follow the ridgeline trail, eventually descending to intersect with the old JMT at mile 117.1. Turn left and cross Rock Island Branch, then Wildcat Creek at mile 117.4. Cross Loss Creek at 119.3 (with care!) and come to FR 22B and Coker Creek at mile 120.5. The Coker Creek Trail #183 also leaves from the campsites and goes three miles upstream to Coker Creek Falls, a beautiful series of cascades and waterfalls.
Campsites: At FS 22B by the edge of Coker Creek (WP 25), there are a few primitive campsites without toilets. Several other primitive LNT campsites are found along the route, especially where the trail crosses Loss Creek on the west side of the crossing (WP 28).
Water Sources: Water which must be sterilized can be obtained from the Hiwassee River, Towee Creek (WP 21, D), Rock Island Branch (WP 26, B), Wildcat Creek (WP 27, D), Loss Creek (WP 28, D), and Coker Creek (WP 25, D).
Shared By: Richard Harris