Commonly Backpacked · Views
Need to Know
For more information, visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association's website
There is no vehicle access to Big Frog Mountain.
Points of Interest along this section: This section follows a ridgeline with many great views off each side. The Hemp Top Trail section, which the BMT follows for the most part, is a horse trail, so be cautious and yield to horse traffic. Hemp Top is the translation of the Cherokee word “gatun-lti-yiy,” which referred to the place where wild hemp grew.
Trail Description: From the intersection with the Jacks River Trail at mile 76.0, the BMT heads north to Spanish Oak Gap at mile 77.3 (WP 88, 2930’). At this point there is a closed FS road here which leads 1.0 miles down the east side of the ridge to the Dally Gap parking area (WP 87). This parking area is a major access point for backpackers and horsemen going over Big Frog on the Hemp Top Trail. The BMT continues north on an old roadbed which generally follows the ridgeline around a series of knobs toward Big Frog. The Penitentiary Trail intersects from the west at mile 78.8 at Rockwell Gap (WP 89). This 3.4 mile trail once led to a logging camp so remote that loggers named it “The Penitentiary.” It also provides a side hike to the Jacks River Trail (and water). The BMT continues straight ahead. Just south of Hemp Top (WP 90, 3565’) at mile 80.5, there is a sometimes confusing trail Y-intersection. The right fork leads to the top of Hemp Top to the site of a former fire tower. The left fork is the BMT. Follow along the west slope of Hemp Top on the BMT. The Double Spring Gap campsite on the TN/GA state line (WP 91, 3220’) is at mile 81.8.
From this point, the trail ascends the steep slope of Big Frog Mountain. The Licklog Trail intersects from the right at mile 82.6 (WP 92), and the BMT bears left and continues a more gradual ascent up the remainder of Big Frog. An intermittent spring will be passed about 0.1 miles before reaching the crest of the mountain at mile 83.0. At the crest (WP 93, 4224’), camping is available to the left (west) side of the trail. The Hemp Top Trail turns left at this point, but the BMT continues straight along the north slope of Big Frog. Since this is wilderness, there are no blazes and the wooden signs often are destroyed by bears or vandals.
Campsites: There are two great campsites in this stretch, one at Double Spring Gap (WP 91, 3220’) right on the TN/GA state line and another up on top of Big Frog Mountain (WP 93, 4224’). There is room for several tents but water may be a problem in dry seasons.
Water Sources: Water is scarce along this section of the BMT. Reliable water is available near the intersection with the Jacks River Trail (A), and a short way up the Jacks River Trail from the Dally Gap parking area (WP 87, C). At the Double Spring campsite (WP 91)water is available down both the east and west sides (west is best), but may dry up during drought seasons (A). Water is also intermittently available right along the BMT about 0.1 miles south of the Big Frog campsite (A). If this spring is dry (as it often is), then go down the NE side of the mountain until you reach water.
Shared By: Richard Harris