Hiking Project Logo

The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Childers Creek to Towee Creek.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Point to Point

1,080' 329 m


771' 235 m


554' 169 m


448' 137 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views

Section Of

Need to Know

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


Points of Interest along this section: From the Childers Creek Trailhead, the BMT follows the John Muir National Recreation Trail #152 (JMT) to Coker Creek. The JMT is named in honor of John Muir's Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf (see references), that he took in 1867, one of his first wilderness treks. On September 19, 1867 he wrote, "My path today led me along the leafy banks of the Hiwassee, a most impressive mountain river". The JMT parallels the Hiwassee River, downstream from the Apalachia Powerhouse. Water from the Powerhouse has traveled in a pipeline for over 8 miles from Apalachia Dam, near Farner, TN. Above the powerhouse the river is called the "Dry Gorge" as the river bed is a series of scattered pools, separated by areas of "boulder gardens' and/or heavy vegetation. A section known as The Narrows, a deep narrow canyon, exposes fascinating rock formations. At high water levels this situation can change drastically, resulting in a roaring whitewater river. The river below the powerhouse is popular with canoers, kayakers, and fly fishermen.

Trail Description: From the JMT Childers Creek Trailhead (mile 110.6, WP 16), cross the creek on a wooden bridge and follow the JMT along the north edge of the Hiwassee River close to water level below a steep ridge with many rocky outcrops. At mile 113.6, pass through the Big Bend Picnic Area and soon cross the paved road and climb up the side of the ridge to a high point at mile 114.5. Descend to the Towee Creek Launch Site at mile 114.8 (WP 21).

Campsites: Camping is available at Hiwassee Outfitters (WP 17). There are three primitive campsites between the Childers Creek Trailhead and the Big Bend Picnic Area (WP 22, WP 23, WP 24). Use LNT practices. No camping is allowed in the Big Bend Picnic Area or anywhere within a 1/4 mile of the road along the river, but pit toilets are available at the Big Bend and the Towee Creek Trailheads. Hiwassee Whitewater Co./Flip Flop Burgers has tent sites, bunk house, showers and food.

Water Sources: Water is readily available from the Hiwassee River, Childers Creek (WP 16, D) and Towee Creek (WP 21, D) but must be sterilized. Beware: there are some farms upstream on Childers and Towee Creeks. Potable water is available at Hiwassee Outfitters and Webb Bros.


Shared By:

Richard Harris with improvements by Larry Van Dyke

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote


  3.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Tennessee


18 Views Last Month
1,084 Since Feb 15, 2019
Intermediate Intermediate



Benton MacKaye Trail at Big Bend Recreation Area and Hiwassee River.
Mar 21, 2019 near Etowah, TN
Trail along the Hiwassee River cleared by volunteers
Apr 7, 2020 near Benton, TN
Hood Mtn Overlook on the Hiwassee River on Powerhouse Rd, Reliance, TB
Mar 21, 2019 near Etowah, TN
Big Bend Parking Area on Benton MacKaye Trail.
Mar 21, 2019 near Etowah, TN
Childers Creek Parking area and trailhead.
Mar 21, 2019 near Benton, TN



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started.