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BMT: Segment 17c-17d (Whigg Meadow to Beech Gap)



4.6 mile 7.4 kilometer point to point
86% Runnable


Ascent: 605' 184 m
Descent: -1,079' -329 m
High: 5,030' 1,533 m
Low: 4,314' 1,315 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)


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Trail shared by Richard Harris

The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Whigg Meadow to Beech Gap.

Richard Harris

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Need to Know

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


Points of Interest along this section: Whigg Meadow is a high altitude bald which is truly spectacular. The trail primarily follows the high ridge separating TN and NC and crosses the Cherohala Skyway at the Unicoi Crest Overlook. The Skyway is a mountain scenic byway connecting Tellico Plains TN with Robbinsville NC. At the time of its construction, this 40+ mile long route was one of the most expensive highways ever built in the US and took over 20 years to complete. It is a stunningly beautiful mountain highway with incredible views around every bend. Many motorcycles travel this road just for the sheer joy of experiencing the curves and views.

Trail Description: Leave Whigg Meadow (mile 159.4, WP 62) off the north end of the bald, passing below the crest of Haw Knob (5470 foot elevation, highest point in the area) and descending to Mud Gap at mile 161.0 (WP 71). There is a parking lot here for 5 or 6 cars along the edge of the Skyway. Turn left behind the parking lot interpretive sign. The trail soon passes the grave of a soldier killed during the Civil War by the Kirkland Bushwackers. These “bushwackers” were a local family group who took it upon themselves to kill deserters. The trail then ascends to a man made meadow in a quarry used for construction of the Skyway at mile 161.5. After following the high ridge for about a mile, the trail descends to Stratton Gap and crosses FR 217 at mile 162.5 (WP 72). Shortly after crossing this gravel road, the trail again ascends to the ridge top, then back down to the Unicoi Crest Overlook on the Skyway at mile 163.7 (WP 70). The trail crosses the Skyway, then touches it again at Beech Gap at mile 164.0 right at the state line (WP 69).

Campsites: The best site for camping is at Whigg Meadow (WP 62), but an adequate campsite is also available at the quarry site at mile 161.5 (WP 74). Other LNT sites can also be found elsewhere along the trail.

Water Sources: Water is available at Whigg Meadow as well as at Mud Gap just over the Skyway from the parking lot (WP 73, B).

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Parking available at Unicoi Gap Overlook
Jan 7, 2019 near Robbins…, NC
A group of hikers works there way up from Mud Gap to Whigg Meadow on this kid and dog friendly trail.
Aug 5, 2019 near Robbins…, NC


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