Trail Run Project Logo

BMT: Segment 20 (Fontana Dam to Camp 90)



6.8 mile 10.9 kilometer point to point
93% Runnable


Ascent: 866' 264 m
Descent: -859' -262 m
High: 2,204' 672 m
Low: 1,704' 519 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 24% (13°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Richard Harris

The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Twentymile Ranger Station to the AT.

Richard Harris

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife

Section Of

Need to Know

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

Boat Access to the Lakeshore Trail is provided by the Fontana Village Resort Marina (18a) to several sites along the Lakeshore Trail. Make arrangements by contacting the marina at 828-498-2211 ext. 277. Common drop off sites are Eagle Creek, Hazel Creek, Pilkey, Chambers, and Forney Creeks.


Points of Interest: This section of the trail includes the scenic hike over the top of TVA's Fontana Dam, the highest dam east of the Mississippi River. Power from Fontana Dam was utilized by Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project as well as Alcoa which produced aluminum for WWII aircraft.

Trail Description: From the south side of Fontana Dam at the visitor center (which has water and showers), cross Fontana Dam. Both the BMT and the AT follow Park Road for about one mile to the Shuckstack/Lakeshore TH (mile 194.5). The BMT then diverges from the AT and follows the Lakeshore Trail, intersecting the Lost Cove Trail at mile 199.8.

Campsites: In the GSMNP, along this section the only campsite is CS 90 (Lost Cove) along the Lakeshore Trail (mile 200.1). BMT hikers, in general, should avoid the "Fontana Hilton" shelter near Fontana Dam, especially during times of heavy usage by AT thru-hikers.  Showers are available near the shelter and at the dam, but water may be turned off during winter months to prevent freeze damage. The dam has a seasonal store and visitor center available. If you intend to camp inside the GSMNP at a campsite or shelter, you must make reservations in advance or by using the public computer terminal in Fontana Lodge. The Front Desk folks can assist with this.

Water Sources: Potable water is available at the AT shelter, and the Visitor Center at Fontana Dam. Water which requires treatment can be obtained at Birchfield Branch (mile 197.7) and at Lost Cove CS 90. Seasonally, water may be available from other small branches along this section of the Lakeshore Trail.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In



Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote


in Fontana Lake


  3.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Fontana Lake


in North Carolina


34 Views Last Month
139 Since Mar 8, 2019



Shuckstack Fire Tower from the top of Fontana Dam (a little bit closer...)
May 12, 2019 near Robbins…, NC
Fontana Dam from the overlook
May 12, 2019 near Robbins…, NC
Fontana Dam looking downriver and standing on the AT.
May 12, 2019 near Robbins…, NC
A tree growing out of a long abandoned car.
Aug 22, 2017 near Robbins…, NC


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running