BMT: Segment 20 (Fontana Dam to Camp 90)
ElevationAscent: 866' 264 m
Descent: -859' -262 m
High: 2,204' 672 m
Low: 1,704' 519 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 24% (13°)
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“The Benton MacKaye Trail section from Twentymile Ranger Station to the AT.”— Richard Harris
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.
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.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park