Points of Interest along this section:
The first part of this section follows the South Fork of the Jacks River, passing by the beginning of the Pinhoti National Recreational Trail. The Pinhoti is the longest trail in Alabama and spans 355 miles from the Talladega National Forest to its intersection with the BMT. At mile 74.1 the trail enters the Cohutta Wilderness, the largest wilderness in the East. Even though this section is marked MS due to the total elevation gain, the trail has several short stretches of mild ups and downs and is fairly easy to navigate.
From Dyer Gap at mile 68.8 (WP 77, 2870’), turn west on FS 64 and go 0.1 miles to where the BMT exits downhill off the right side of the road. At mile 69.4 (WP 78, 2630’), the trail intersects the South Fork Trail
. There is a good campsite just before the intersection and water is available on the other side of the trail (WP 78). At mile 70.2 and 70.9 there are two nice campsites along the South Fork. At mile 71.0 (WP 79), the trail intersects with the Pinhoti Trail, which continues to follow the creek to the left. From the Pinhoti Trail intersection, go uphill to the right on an old fire road. At mile 70.7 the trail turns left onto another old fire road. At mile 71.9 this fire road crosses a small creek. The trail leaves this fire road at mile 72.6 and crosses an unnamed knob at mile 73.0 (2960’) before heading downhill to Watson Gap and FS 64 at mile 73.3 (WP 80, 2700’). From Watson Gap, the trail goes up FS 22 (signed “Dally Gap 3 miles”). It leaves FS 22 sharply uphill to the left at mile 73.8 (WP 81), tops over a gap at mile 73.9, then goes down the other side. The trail crosses Mill Branch on a small footbridge at mile 74.8 (WP 86, 2660’). The Joe Watkins place was here until 1950, one of the last occupied homesteads in the area. The trail heads uphill to cross a gap (2930’). The BMT enters the Cohutta Wilderness at this point, then descends to cross Peter Cove Branch at mile 75.3. It crosses Bear Branch at mile 75.6 where a campsite is available (WP 84), then ascends a low hill. Old growth trees, especially huge hemlocks can be seen along this section. At mile 75.9 the BMT intersects the Jacks River Trail. It turns right and continues for one tenth before turning left and going uphill. If you go straight ahead on the Jacks River Trail, the trail is a gentle 0.9 miles uphill to the Dally Gap Parking Lot (WP 87). There is a big spring on the right side of the JRT just a short distance east from its intersection with the BMT.
Several good campsites are available along this section of the trail. The first is at the junction with the South Fork Trail
at mile 69.4 (WP 78). There are two other good campsites along the South Fork at mile 70.2 (WP 82) and 7092 (WP 83). The next campsite is at Bear Branch, mile 75.6 (WP 84). Remember, LNT ethics encourages backpackers to not camp right on the edge of a creek.
Water is available many places along this section of the trail and should be no problem to the hiker or backpacker. Water is available several points along the South Fork, at mile 71.9 (WP 85, C) along the old fire road, mile 74.1 where the BMT crosses Mill Branch (WP 86, C) and mile 75.6 where it crosses Bear Branch (WP 84, C). Water is also available a short distance east up the Jacks River Trail from the intersection with the BMT at mile 75.9 (A).