BMT: Segment 12a-12b (US 64/Ocoee River to Kimsey Mountain Hwy)
ElevationAscent: 2,038' 621 m
Descent: -1,089' -332 m
High: 2,808' 856 m
Low: 1,135' 346 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)
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“The Benton MacKaye Trail section from S 64/Ocoee River to Kimsey Mountain Hwy.”— Richard Harris
Trail Description: Starting from the Thunder Rock CG overflow lot (WP 1, mile 92.0), run out the entrance road and over the Ocoee River bridge. Carefully cross US 64 and head up the BMT/Drypond Lead Trail #76. Eventually you'll enter wilderness and will lose the white diamond blazes. At mile 94.2, pass the Rock Creek Trail intersection (WP 4) coming in from the east. This trail follows Rock Creek for 5.4 miles back to US64. At mile 96.3, the Drypond Lead Trail (WP 5) goes straight and soon intersects with Kimsey Mountain Highway (0.4 miles) but the BMT turns left. This can be a confusing and easy to miss trail intersection. The left turn is just past the wilderness sign. At mile 97.6 the BMT crosses under power lines at Deep Gap (WP 2), the first access to Kimsey Mountain Highway. The trail continues however, to mile 99.0 (WP 3), where it crosses Kimsey Mountain Highway. Part of this section is in wilderness, so blazes are not ever-present.
Campsites: The Thunder Rock Campground at mile 92.0 (WP 1), is a USFS class A/B campground with 41 sites, potable water, flush toilets, and showers in season. As this CG is popular with kayakers and rafters in the summer months sites may be difficult to find. There are no other primitive designated campsites on this stretch of trail, though sites can be found using LNT ethics.
Water Sources: Potable water is available at the Thunder Rock Campground and at the Ocoee Whitewater Center, accessed via the Rhododendron Trail #335 (see map). Along the trail, water is available 0.2 miles down Rock Creek Trail (WP 6, B) and 0.2 miles west on the Kimsey Mountain Highway crossing (WP 7, A) and must be sterilized.
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