Benton MacKaye Trail: GA 60 to Skeenah Gap, Section 3

Sharing the same tread as the Duncan Ridge Trail to Rhodes Mountain, this 6.1-mile section of the Benton MacKaye Trail passes intermittent overlooks on a short-but-challenging ridgeline trek.
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Sharing the same tread as the Duncan Ridge Trail to Rhodes Mountain, this 6.1-mile section of the Benton MacKaye Trail passes intermittent overlooks on a short-but-challenging ridgeline trek.

This 6.1-mile section of the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) begins with a climb to Wallalah Mountain, sharing the same path as the Duncan Ridge Trail (DRT). Blue blazes mark the DRT until it splits with the BMT just south of Rhodes Mountain. This is a classic Appalachian ridge trek with numerous short summit approaches of peaks and knobs and very few respites from steep climbing or descending.
The trail is very well-marked and well-maintained throughout (and scattered with some campsites). In summer, you'll hike under a heavy tunnel of tree canopy (a mix of oaks and hardwoods). When the trees do open at the occasional overlook points, they reveal far-reaching views of Chattahoochee National Forest and the Blue Ridge peaks of north Georgia.
Note: Water is limited on this section; the best source may be at a campsite beyond Licklog Mountain, 3.5 miles in. Avoid taking water from Little Skeenah Creek near the start of the hike; runoff from a chicken farm just upstream makes it an undesirable source.
View more section hikes along the Benton MacKaye Trail at backpacker.com/destinations/category/2731.
Info: Benton MacKaye Trail Association
-Mapped by Scott Sanders, GroundedGraphics.com

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.8

Waypoints

BMT027

Location: 34.7660484, -84.1642456

Hike north from GA 60; follow the white diamond blazes.

BMT028

Location: 34.7668419, -84.1643372

Turn left @ 3-way junction.

BMT029

Location: 34.7728462, -84.1592712

Go straight @ a 5-way intersection; keep an eye out for for the white diamond blaze to make sure you're on the right track.

BMT030

Location: 34.77813, -84.1568613

At this slightly confusing spot, the trail makes a hard right and heads uphill. Ahead, you'll tackle two more switchbacks on a 500-foot climb up to the spine and summit of Wallalah Mountain.

BMT031

Location: 34.7766838, -84.1548462

Nearing the spine of Wallalah Mountain, the trail passes a scenic overlook to the south.

BMT031

Location: 34.7812119, -84.1516342

Follow the trail as it makes a sharp U-turn to the left and descends a short stretch before jogging back east along the north ridge of Wallalah (marked with blue blazes).

BMT032

Location: 34.781765, -84.1438141

Continue straight @ 4-way intersection across an old logging road. This stretch of the trail through thick green tree canopy is classic Appalachian ridge hiking.

BMT033

Location: 34.7813072, -84.138031

Turn left @ 3-way junction.

BMT034

Location: 34.7847301, -84.1308117

Licklog Mountain: This heavily wooded summit doesn't offer much in the way of far-reaching views, though there is a campsite here.

BMT035

Location: 34.7880898, -84.1278687

The trail arrives at a medium-sized campsite (room for 5-6 tents) with a fire-pit. Down the hill to the right is the first usable water source.

BMT036

Location: 34.7946602, -84.1246426

Bear right on the Duncan Ridge Trail to reach the summit of Rhodes Mountain (you'll find a scenic overlook and a campsite).

BMT036

Location: 34.7954826, -84.1242523

Turn right to continue to the top of Rhodes Mountain. To continue on the BMT, backtrack to Waypoint 35 and turn right.

BMT037

Location: 34.8065096, -84.1402048

Turn left @ T-intersection under the powerlines.

BMT038

Location: 34.8062321, -84.1407788

The section hike ends at Skeenah Gap.

Wallalah View

Location: 34.7766759, -84.1546726

Looking south on the route up Wallalah Mountain.

White Diamond Blazes

Location: 34.7699242, -84.1644745

Water Source

Location: 34.7882195, -84.1277432

Follow the W to the water source by this campsite northeast of Licklog Mountain.

The BMT/DRT Split

Location: 34.7946778, -84.1245031

View from Rhodes

Location: 34.7959377, -84.1237843

Along the Trail

Location: 34.7774779, -84.1570544

Along the trail up to Wallalah Mountain.

Trail View

Location: 34.7772399, -84.1552949

The shared treadway of the Duncan Ridge Trail and the BMT.

Rhodes Mountain Overlook

Location: 34.7959201, -84.123956

Scenic Overlook

Location: 34.7954179, -84.1252971

A scenic overlook to the south on the western face of Rhodes Mountain.