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The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Sledrunner Gap to Tellico River.

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Point to Point

4,012' 1,223 m


2,158' 658 m


1,293' 394 m


3,107' 947 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked

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Need to Know

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

BEWARE: Bears are often seen on Whigg Meadow feeding in the summer on blackberries and huckleberries, which abound along the edges of the meadow. Be especially careful to hang your food or use a bear resistant canister. Beware of thunderstorms as well. This trail has a lot of elevation change (~2700 feet) from south to north.


Points of Interest along this section: Beaverdam Bald is a beautiful high mountain bald at over 4200 feet elevation with views into the mountains in both TN and NC. Brookshire Creek is a sparkling stream with several small waterfalls. The Bald River is a fast flowing mountain river which dwindles away to nothing as you ascend the south flank of Sugar Mountain on the BMT. The Tellico River is famous for its trout fishing and for class IV and V canoeing and kayaking. At the Tellico River, a trout fish hatchery is just over the bridge from the parking area and worth the visit to see the huge breeder fish.

Trail Description: From Sledrunner Gap at mile 143.9 the BMT enters wilderness, thus no white diamond blazes are to be found. However, a few old rectangular white AT-like blazes are still evident along the Brookshire Creek Trail down to the Bald River. Head left down the Brookshire Creek drainage. The BMT intersects the Brookshire Creek Trail (#180, WP 53) at mile 144.1. Keep left, heading downhill. The trail follows the Brookshire Creek drainage until this creek joins the Bald River at mile 147.1 (WP 54). A short ways down the trail to the left there is a 25 foot waterfall on the Bald River. Turn right, heading up the Bald River drainage, almost immediately first crossing Brookshire Creek above a small waterfall. This trail climbs up the south flank of Sugar Mountain and crosses the Bald River at mile at 148.1 (WP 55), then another side creek at 148.5, reaching the top of Sugar Mountain at 149.6 (WP 56). Here the trail leaves the wilderness and crosses a gated forest service road and heads down the north flank of Sugar Mountain, reaching the Tellico River Road at mile 152.0 (WP 57). Turn left and hike a short distance to a picnic area with pit toilets next to the bridge over the Tellico River (WP 58).

Campsites: Primitive LNT campsites are possible at several sites along this segment. One particularly nice one is along Brookshire Creek at mile 145.7 (WP 59).

Water Sources: Water is available all along Brookshire Creek, at the Bald River crossing at mile 148.1 (WP 55, C), as well as another feeder creek crossing at 148.5 (WP 56, B), and from the Tellico river at mile 152.0 (WP 58), but must be sterilized. Also, there is a small spring on the trail down the north flank of Sugar Mountain at mile 150.4 (WP 60, A).


Shared By:

Richard Harris

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in North Carolina


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852 Since Feb 15, 2019
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