The Benton Mackaye Trail runs 300 miles from Springer Mountain to Davenport Gap. This is a wonderful long-distance trail that goes through some pretty remote areas, and is a good alternative to the more popular Appalachian Trail.
The Benton Mackaye Trail Association's website has detailed trail descriptions and directions.
I also highly recommend checking out Tim Homan's Hiking the Benton Mackaye Trail. It includes elevation
profiles, annotated topo maps, nature notes, and mileage/ elevation
notes. It also has as a fascinating short biography of Benton
Mackaye, the forward-thinking progressive and conservationist whose vision inspired the Appalachian Trail. Homan is an excellent writer whose descriptions paint clear pictures of
this fabulous trail.
To section hike this trail, the Trails Illustrated Map #777 has been essential for showing the FS roads to get to all the trailheads. This map not only shows the BMT, but also the other trails in the area.
1. BMT Sections 1 and 2 (overnight)
Parking: GA 60 (Little Skeenah Creek)
Hiked: South from GA 60 to Springer. Did this out and back, solo.
Highlights: Long Creek Falls, not dying of hypothermia.
Also: My first overnight backpacking trip in Georgia was an out and back from GA 60 to the Toccoa River suspension bridge where we camped, with the Sierra Club.
2. BMT Sections 3, 4, & 5 (overnight)
Parking: GA 60 (Wilscot Gap)
Hiked: From GA 60, went north to Shallowford Bridge. Then got shuttled to Little Skeenah Creek and hiked north to Wilscot Gap.
Highlights: Toccoa River, winter views and sunset near Licklog Mountain.
3. BMT Part of Section 6 (dayhike)
Parking: Stanley Creek Road
Hiked: Out and back from Stanley Creek Road up past the intersection of the Stanley Gap Trail.
Highlights: Falls Branch Falls
4. BMT Part of Section 8 (Feb. 2013)
Parking: Bushy Head Gap
Hiked: Out and back from Bushy Head Gap a few miles before bailing due to snow.
Highlights: Random strangers helping us get the car out of the road, dinner at Waffle King.
5. BMT Sections 9 &10 (overnight)
Parking: Dyer Gap and Watson Gap with shuttle
Hiked: From Dyer Gap to Watson Gap, then continued on to Double Springs Gap, where we turned around and hiked back to Watson Gap.
Highlights: Hanging with my friend, Salt.
6. BMT Part of Section 13 (Sept. 2013)
Parking: Childers Creek
Hiked: From Childers Creek to Wildcat Creek and back.
Highlights: Hiawassee River, pawpaw, not getting bitten by a copperhead.