Commonly Backpacked · Views
Need to Know
For more information, visit the Benton MacKaye Trail Association's website
Points of Interest along this section:
The trail follows the ridge crest all the way to Unicoi Gap. Most of this section of trail is a designated motorcycle trail. Buck Bald is up the Buck Bald Road FR 198 0.7 miles from the trail and has a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. A side trip up FR198 is well worth the effort even though it is a 1.4 mile round trip. Unicoi Gap is near the TN/NC state line and is a site on the historic Unicoi Turnpike National Historic Trail, which intersects the BMT just south of Unicoi Gap. This trail, which spanned the Cherokee Nation, reached from near Savannah to the Little Tennessee River. It is said to have been in use for over 1,000 years. It was called the Tellico Path, the Overhill Trading Path, and the Great Trading Path. In 1812, it became a 12 foot wagon road called the Unicoi Turnpike with a tollgate at Unicoi Gap. After the Cherokee Removal it became known as a part of the Trail of Tears. Much of it is now the Joe Brown Highway, a mostly unpaved road that leads to Murphy, NC. Interpretative signs are now present at the gap which is a trailhead for the Unicoi Motorcycle Trail #82, the BMT, and the Unicoi Turnpike Trail
From TN 68 at mile 124.5 (WP 31), the trail heads up the side of the mountain, reaching the top at the intersection with the Unicoi Motorcycle Trail #82 at mile 125.0 (WP 34). The trail crosses Buck Bald Road FR113 at mile 125.6, then skirts along the edge of Buck Bald and continues up the ridgeline to Unicoi Gap at mile 129.2 (WP 33). On the motorcycle trail section, move off the trail if you hear motorcycles coming.
No designated campsites are present along this section, though LNT primitive sites can be found, but without available water.
The only reliable water sources are a spring along TN 68 (WP 31, D), 0.2 miles south of the trail crossing, and at Unicoi Gap (WP 32, B), about 0.2 miles down the road to the right (east).
Shared By: Richard Harris