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The section of the Benton MacKaye Trail stretching from Springer Mountain to Three Forks/FS 58.

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Point to Point

3,736' 1,139 m


2,569' 783 m


569' 173 m


1,730' 527 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (11°)

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Need to Know

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


Points of Interest along this section: The BMT begins just 0.2 miles down the AT from Springer Mountain's summit. The commemorative and informational plaques at the start of the AT are a favorite photo opportunity for hikers as is the Springer Mountain AT Shelter which is close by. A short distance down the BMT is a plaque commemorating Benton MacKaye, the founder of the AT. Owen's Vista at mile 1.4 is worth a trip in its own right with its sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. With the four AT/BMT junctions in this 6-mile section, it is possible to make several fairly short circuit hikes starting from the Springer Mountain Access Parking Area off FS 42 or from Three Forks on FS 58.

Trail Description: The AT begins at Springer Mountain (WP 8, 3782') and the BMT begins 0.2 miles up the AT (WP 9, 3750') a short distance past the trail to the Springer Mountain Shelter. The Benton MacKaye plaque (WP 10) is 0.1 miles down the BMT on the right mounted on a rock slab and it provides another good photo opportunity. The trail goes downhill to the short side trail to Owen's Vista at mile 1.3 (WP 11). This is a great lunch spot with views of the surrounding mountains. The BMT crosses FS 42 at mile 1.7 (WP 7), then heads downhill to a dry gully, up over a small ridge, then down to a stream crossing. There is a nice campsite at mile 2.2 just after crossing the stream on the right (WP 12). There are two more creek crossings at mile 2.6 and 2.7. At mile 3.2 the BMT crosses the AT (WP 13) on a ridgeline. The trail then goes downhill to a right-hand turn at mile 3.4, then heads back up over a ridge to again cross the AT at mile 3.9 (WP 14) on Rich Mountain. The Stover Creek AT Shelter is 0.8 miles down the AT west from this intersection. The BMT goes straight across the AT and follows the top of Rich Mountain (3357') on a fairly level trail for the next mile or so, then heads down the west side of the ridge to its last intersection with the AT at mile 5.9 just south of Three Forks (WP 15). Turn right on the AT and go a short distance to a bridge over the creek and FS 58, where there is parking and camping (WP 16, 2550'). This is mile 6.0.

Campsites: The Springer Mountain AT Shelter (WP 17) has a lean to, water, and a bear cable. There is another campsite is at mile 2.2 just after you cross a small branch (WP 12). The Stover Creek AT Shelter is 0.8 miles west on the AT from the AT/BMT crossing at mile 3.9 with a lean to, water, and a bear cable. Camping is permitted at Three Forks on the south side of the creek before crossing the footbridge (WP 16).

Water Sources: Water is available at the Springer Mountain Shelter (A), at the campsite at mile 2.2 (WP 12, B), at a creek crossing at mile 2.6 (WP 18, B) and again at mile 2.7 (B). Water is available down the AT from the BMT/AT intersection of mile 3.9 west at the Stover Creek Shelter 0.8 miles (A) or east at a creek crossing 0.9 miles (A). Water is available also at Three Forks (WP 16, C).


Shared By:

Richard Harris

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in Georgia


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Benton MacKaye Plaque
Aug 6, 2019 near Dahlonega, GA
Owens Overlook
Jul 22, 2019 near Dahlonega, GA


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 23 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Mar 10, 2024
Quentin Humberd
Oct 25, 2020
Steve Vacula Jr
Three Forks Loop (AT>BMT) 5.1mi
Sep 9, 2020
Shawn Penick

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