Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek
Need to Know
For more information, visit the Benton MacKaye Trail
Campsites: At the Little Skeenah Creek Crossing (WP 36) there is a nice campsite along Little Skeenah Creek. There are primitive campsites without water on top of Wallalah and Licklog Mountains. Another pleasant campsite with water is on the north slope of Licklog Mountain at mile 22.4 (WP 44).
Water Sources: Water is available near the campsite at mile 22.4 (WP 44). Follow the blue blazes 0.14 miles to the left of the campsite steeply down to the spring (WP 47, A). If the spring is too shallow, go downhill to a ponded area. Note: Little Skeenah Creek (WP 36) has a chicken farm upstream. Do not obtain water from this creek. See note at bottom of page 19.
Points of Interest along this Section: This is a difficult but very scenic remote section of the trail. The woods on the south side of Wallalah Mountain are especially beautiful having an open feel with minimal underbrush and huge trees. Be forewarned, when hikers report that the BMT is tougher than the AT, they are probably referring to this section and/or to section 4. The Cherokee word for this area was “Skeinah” which meant ghost, devil or demon. If temped to hike both sections 3 and 4 in one day, keep in mind that it is an 11.6 mile hike with a total elevation gain of over 4000 feet. Allow plenty of time and be sure to have adequate food and water as it is not an easy day hike. The easier direction to hike is N to S.
Trail Description: The BMT leaves GA 60 at mile 18.2 (WP 36, 2028’) and immediately crosses Little Skeenah Creek, a good-sized creek with dependable water all year, though it may be polluted from an upstream chicken farm. Camping is available close to the creek. From here you climb a series of steps, then level out about a half mile before beginning the tough climb up to the top of Wallalah. The switchbacks start at mile 19.3 and at mile 19.8 there is an overlook on top of a rocky outcrop with views to the south (WP 41). The top of Wallalah is at mile 20.1 (WP 42), where there is a primitive campsite but no water. Watch out for poison ivy up here. After leaving the top of the mountain, the trail switchbacks to the left, then again to the right and down to a gap at mile 20.9 before heading up to Licklog Mountain at mile 22.1 (WP 43, 3472’). Several more switchbacks lead to a primitive campsite at the top. The trail turns sharp left, and then at mile 22.4 there is a nice campsite with water (WP 44). After leaving the campsite, the trail leads downhill then levels out to the intersection with the Duncan Ridge Trail
which goes straight at mile 23.1 (WP 45). (See the BMT Thru-Hikers Guide by Ernest Engman for information on the Duncan Ridge Trail
). Straight ahead on the Duncan Ridge Trail
just 0.1 miles is a rocky bluff with great views off to the southwest. Turn left and descend Rhodes Mountain (3400’). At mile 24.1 (WP 46) turn left onto an old logging road and follow this down to the powerline just above Skeenah Gap Road. Turn left along the powerline, descending to the road crossing at mile 24.5.
Shared By: Richard Harris