Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Views
Need to Know
For more information, visit the Benton MacKaye Trail
Note: A nice day hike is to hike from Wilscot Gap to Shallowford Bridge, a distance of 7.1 miles, combining parts of the maps on page 26 and 28.
Campsites: Two great campsites are along this section, both with water. The first is at an unnamed gap between Tipton Mountain and Bald Top at mile 31.8 (WP 55). The second is at the Garland Gap (WP 57).
Water Sources: Water is available at GA 60 0.4 miles west down from the gap at Wilscot Gap (WP 52, D). Also water is found on the north side of Tipton Mountain at the switchback at mile 30.7 (WP 54, A), and at the gap between Tipton Mountain and Bald Top at mile 31.8 (WP 55, A), and at Garland Gap at mile 34.0 (WP 57, A). This spring is about a tenth of a mile down the right side of the gap from the camp site on a trail marked with blue blazes.
Points of Interest along this Section: The Brawley Mountain fire tower is a favorite place for a lunch stop. No longer in use, this tower is a relic of the days before aircraft were used for spotting fires. Although one cannot see the surrounding mountains in the summer due to all the foliage, it is a lovely spot in the fall and winter. Winter is also a good time to see great views of Lake Blue Ridge
Trail Description: There is a large parking area at Wilscot Gap on GA Highway 60 at mile 29.8 (WP 39, 2450’). This section starts across the road and 80 feet to the left of the forest service gate. Hikers head uphill and pass through a power line cut shortly after leaving the gap. The trail climbs steadily uphill on old logging roads on the north side of Tipton Mountain. A spring will be seen in the ravine to the right of the trail at mile 30.7 (WP 54) and there is a short path leading down to it. The trail then switchbacks to the left and continues to ascend Tipton Mountain, reaching the top at mile 31.1 (3147’) where there is a nice grassy flat campsite on the left and a spring on the right in the small gap between Tipton Mountain and Bald Top (WP 55, mile 31.8). Watch for great winter views of Lake Blue Ridge in this section. Continuing on, one reaches Ledford Gap at mile 32.1 between Bald Top and Brawley Mountain. The Trail intersects FS 45 at the gap. Turn right on the road and walk for about 100 feet before exiting it again to the right. The trail then ascends the north slope of Brawley Mountain reaching the old fire tower at mile 33.0. This is a great rest stop (WP 56, 3027’). For a short distance the trail follows the FS road from the fire tower downhill, then exits off the right side of the road and travels through an area of old growth forest, with especially large tulip poplars. The trail finally reaches a good campsite and spring at Garland Gap (WP 57, mile 34.0). The trail then ascends the north slope of Garland Mountain, crossing the ridgeline at mile 34.5, 2140’. After cresting the ridgeline, it steadily heads downhill to Old Dial Road at mile 35.6 and the intersection with Shallowford Bridge Road (WP 53, 1774’). There is enough space for three or four vehicles at this intersection.
Shared By: Richard Harris