BMT: Section 24b (Hughes Ridge Trail to Round Bottom Trailhead)
ElevationAscent: 1,315' 401 m
Descent: -3,021' -921 m
High: 4,917' 1,499 m
Low: 3,117' 950 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
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“The section of the Benton MacKaye Trail from Hughes Ridge Trail to Round Bottom Trailhead.”— Richard Harris
Trail Description: This section covers from the Chasteen Creek/Hughes Ridge Trail intersection to the parking areas at Round Bottom on Straight Fork Road. From this intersection at mile 261.1, continue down the Hughes Ridge Trail to its junction with the Enloe Creek Trail at mile 261.5. Go right heading down Enloe Creek Trail, first through a saddle which may be overgrown with underbrush, then down the west side of Enloe Ridge through a series of switchbacks until you reach the headwaters of Enloe Creek. Cross Enloe Creek on a footbridge (washed out in 2011) at mile 263.0 and come to Enloe Creek Campsite #47 at mile 264.1. Adjacent to the campsite is a large steel bridge over Raven Fork, a very sizable stream, which is a great place to swim or fish. After crossing this stream on the bridge, the trail heads steeply uphill onto the slopes of Hyatt Ridge, reaching the junction with the Hyatt Ridge Trail at the top of the ridge at mile 265.1. Turn left at this intersection and continue to climb up the ridgeline of Hyatt Ridge, skirting the top of Hyatt Bald which peaks out at 5153'. You'll have passed though some virgin forest to reach this point. Hyatt Bald is no longer bald but now supports its own collection of large open trees. Just a short ways past the "bald" you'll reach the intersection with the Beech Gap Trail at mile 266.8. The 0.9 mile side trail to the McGee Spring Campsite #44 is to the left at the junction. Turn right and head steeply down this trail to Straight Fork. On the way down the mountainside, cross a stream at mile 268.3 as well as several other seeps during wet weather. At the bottom of the trail at Round Bottom, where the trail meets Straight Fork Road at mile 269.8, there is a trailhead parking lot for the south section of the Beech Gap Trail. From here you'll turn left and follow the road a short distance to the smaller trailhead parking lot for the north section of the Beech Gap Trail, crossing a steel bridge over Straight Fork.
Campsites: The Enloe Creek Campsite #47 (reservations required) at mile 264.1 is small and often muddy with a waterfall closeby which may make sleeping difficult. The creek and rocks in the area as well as the steel bridge across Raven Fork just downstream from the campsite are fun for climbing on and swimming around and sitting upon for an evening sunset. The McGee Spring Campsite #44 is near Hyatt Bald. Also, at Straight Fork Road, the Round Bottom Horse Camp is to the right a short distance.
Water Sources: Water is available at the campsites and at several creek crossings and seeps along the slopes of Hyatt Ridge and Enloe Ridge. All water should be treated.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park