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REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.

Benton MacKaye Trail - Bushy Head Gap to Hatley Gap and back

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Cherry Log GA   Hike: Benton MacKaye Trail - Bushy Head Gap to Hatley Gap and back  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Jan 5 2014  9:30 am >> Sun, Jan 5 2014 3:30 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, Dec 23 2013 5:30 am
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Jan 4 2014 11:00 pm
Event Duration:6 hours (9 hours with drive time)
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:11 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
John Weatherman
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:16
Minimum Group Size:6
Number Registered So Far: 14 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


The Benton MacKaye Trail is a long trail that goes from Georgia to the Smokies.   This section is a remote part of the trail south of the Cohuttas.   But the trailhead is only five miles from the divided highway in Cherry Log, so it is not a tough ride to get there.

We will be hiking along a ridge that is the rim of the Tennessee Valley Divide.  To our right, water flows to the Mississippi, to our left, water flows to Mobile. 

We will be going thru hardwood forest with some pine mixed in.  We should have some decent winter views on the ridge tops.  

Our low point is at 2,090 ft where we start and our high point is 2,940 ft on one of our ridges, so we have some ups and downs on this one.

Starting at Bushy Head Gap we cross or skirt the five peaks of Bear Den Mountain and then descend into Hudson Gap.  From there we go back up the ridge and then drop to McKenny Gap.  Then we go back up again and drop to Hatley Gap, where we turn around and come back the way we came.

We are going at a moderate pace.  There are some tricky turns on this, so nobody gets too far ahead or behind.  Thus, we have to ask that fast hikers not sign up.  That said, it is a D-4, so the trip leaders reserve the right to remove people without recent D-4 experience.

Required Items to Bring:

Dress in enough layers

Poncho or other rain gear if 30% chance of rain or greater

Enough water/drink

A packed lunch with enough energy for the mileage

Shoes you know you can hike ten miles in

Cash for your driver

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

You can bring poles if you like those



How to Get There:
Event Directions:

From Park & Ride, exit and go back toward Chastain Rd, turn right onto Chastain, turn left on to I-575 North, it will eventually become 515, stay on 515. 

We will have a bathroom break at the Burger King, on the right in Ellijay. (1022 Maddox Dr, East Ellijay 30540) 

After leaving the Burger King, continue north on 515 for 10.5 miles and turn left on Lucius Rd past Cherry Log.  Go 2.8 miles and take a slight right onto Boardtown Rd.  Go 0.3 miles and take a left on Bushy Head Road, which starts paved but turns into an all weather gravel county road.  Follow this for 1.7 miles to the top of Bushy Head Gap where you will see a small post for the Benton MacKaye Trail.  Go down the hill past this for about 0.1 miles and you will find a wide part of the road where we will park, before the intersection with Cashes Valley Rd.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):138Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:00 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $55.20 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.