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BMT: Segment 15a-15c (Unicoi Gap to Sandy Gap)

Intermediate

Trail

8.4 mile 13.6 kilometer point to point
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 2,108' 643 m
Descent: -1,600' -488 m
High: 3,574' 1,089 m
Low: 2,071' 631 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)

Dogs

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Map Key

Trail shared by Richard Harris

The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Unicoi Gap to Sandy Gap.

Richard Harris

Features Commonly Backpacked · Views

Section Of

Need to Know

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

Description

Points of Interest along this section: In late 40s, Doc Rogers built a 3 story house at Tate Gap. He and his wife moved to the home to get above the “dust level” due to his wife’s asthmatic condition. They lived there for several years before moving back to the town of Tellico Plains. Most of this property was purchased by the USFS in 1973. About 100 acres of this property was awarded by the court to the Monroe County Board of Education, and the USFS has recently procured this tract as well. The building is now just a shell but makes a great place to eat lunch with a spring running right through the old basement. Also, at Six Mile Gap there is a side trail with a half-mile 500 foot elevation climb up to Waucheesi Bald with incredible views and a great camping site, but without water.

Trail Description: The trail heads north out of Unicoi Gap (mile 129.2) on a gated forest service road for about a mile where the trail exits right off the road at mile 130.0 and climbs up a ridgeline trail northward. This trail skirts the east side of Peels High Top, then enters Peels Gap at mile 131.5. The trail again leaves the gap along the east side of the ridgeline and crosses over to the west side at an unnamed gap at mile 132.2 (WP 38). There often is water just southeast of this gap as well as at three sites on the west side over the next half mile down from the gap. The trail merges into the Unicoi Mtn Horse Trail #117 at mile 130.0 (WP 39), then follows this horse trail to a mile 132.1 then goes on to Tate Gap and the old Doc Rogers homesite (WP 36) at mile 133.5. The trail follows an old roadbed to the top of the gap, then cuts sharp left (WP 40) straight up the ridgeline towards Cantrell Top and Six Mile Gap (mile 135.5). At Six Mile Gap (WP 41) there is a trail which cuts left up to Waucheesi Bald for about 0.45 miles, a worthwhile side trip and a great spot to camp, but without water. From Six Mile Gap, the trail turns east and descends to Sandy Gap at mile 137.6 (WP 35). Since the BMT traverses wilderness from Six Mile to Sandy Gap, there are no trail blazes on this section but there are a few signs. The Kirkland Creek Trail (#85) heads north at Sandy Gap down to the Bald River Road 6.7 miles away.

Campsites: Primitive LNT campsites can be had at most any flat space along the trail. There are no developed campsites. A great LNT campsite is at Waucheesi Bald (WP 42). Another nice campsite is just east of the BMT at Tate Gap. Continue on the old road through the gap rather than turning left up the ridgeline. Backpackers also often camp at Sandy Gap because water is close by, yet this is essentially a parking lot.

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Oct 19, 2019
Michael Wentz
6.2mi
Oct 18, 2019
Michael Wentz
2.2mi

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  3.0 from 1 vote

#4

in Etowah

#22557

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