Benton MacKaye Trail: Bushy Head Gap to Watson Gap

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Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Benton MacKaye Trail: Bushy Head Gap to Watson Gap is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cherry Log, Georgia that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,184 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

The current response to the COVID-19 emergency has closed several trails and recreation sites in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. Please see website for up to date info: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/conf/recreation

Overall I really liked this hike. Initially I was unsure if it would be a strenuous enough workout and exciting enough, but it was. I parked on the side of a dirt road. I didn’t have service after parking so I spent a good amount of time looking for the trail. I found a long steep dirt road so I walked up it. Eventually after maybe 15min hike up, I saw the white diamond blaze on trees. The trail itself was a fun hike with moderate steepness. It didn’t have great views of the surrounding mountain ranges but you could still see out through some of the forests at points.

hiking
1 month ago

Great moderate trail with kids (age 8 and 11) and a leashed dog. We completed about half the trail and headed back because of a storm moving into the area. Trail head is inconspicuous but if you are driving north on Bushy Head Rd and reach Cashes Valley Rd, just turn around and it is 0.1 miles on the right (park on forest service road). Pretty trail, well marked, we were met by a sweet resident dog (when we called the owner he said just to tell the dog to go home...and he did). It is a nice, less traveled path in North Georgia.

Nice trail mostly uphill on the way in and downhill on the way out. Pleasant not technical but moderately difficult on way in.

hiking
2 months ago

great section, I pushed 11 miles form bushy head gap for a 22 mile day. a local gave me the advice to park on the forest service road just down from the trail as if you park other areas you risk being towed and he's never seen anyone towed from the forest service road on a weekend.

We really enjoyed this trail. Lovely dogs joined us . Very pretty and well maintained. A little hard to find.

Carry a large stick as there are 2 black dogs that are not friendly. Tried to bite our leashed dog!

The trail in the Fall is beautiful and a good short hike. It is difficult to find the trail head, but as someone mentioned, the trail head is just past the mailboxes that are at Cub Trail Dr. Look up and watch for the white diamond trail markers; this route starts at road and goes up a very narrow path.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice hike. We were joined by a few of the local canines who served as guides.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail with lots of shade and really interesting trees! We hiked about a mile in with a 7 and 4 year old and they did great. The trailhead is not exactly right on the All Trails map. It’s actually on the other side of Cub Trail road (if heading north, it will be on your left just past Cub Trail road). The sign is small and brown and blends in with the trees (we drove past it twice and wandered onto private property before the very nice homeowners pointed us in the right direction). The trail sign is right above the row of mailboxes at Cub Trail road. The entrance is a narrow uphill path right next to the row of mailboxes. You can barely see the white diamond on a tree, marking the entrance from the road, but it’s there. There’s no parking, so we parked a bit farther down at a pull over spot on the gravel road and left the car with no issues. Very quiet trail and very pretty!

hiking
Thu Mar 21 2019

Trail head not clearly marked and no place to safely park vehicle.

hiking
Mon Nov 19 2018

As others mentioned, the trail head is not clearly marked. Follow the directions and you will see a marker on the right side of the road however the trail starts on the left side and is not marked. It’s a narrow trail that goes up the mountain. We parked the car a little ways up the road on a road to the left. We parked it in a way that allowed others to drive through if they wished. We then walked up the road to the trail. We completed a 6.5 miles because we did not turn back after we reached the end. We continued until the trail forked per the map which led us to a road that happened to be the same one we parked on. We hiked back down 2.5 miles to the car. This hike is not for a new hiker or for kids even if only doing the 4 mile hike. It’s quite steep in some areas, slippery leaves. We took the dogs but kept them on a tight leash on the narrow path up in the beginning. It took us 3 hours 43 min to complete the 6.5 mile.

hiking
Sat Apr 15 2017

The trailhead is not marked very well. We walked up the road but realized we we're not on the trail. I think the trail starts on the main road but I'm still not sure.

hiking
Sun Jan 15 2017

Pretty easy, well demarcated trail. A bit slippery with all of the leaves.

hiking
Mon Feb 27 2012

You need a 4 wheel drive car to even get to the trailhead. And it appears the trail is on private property... ??

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

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