This 19.6 mile trail allows hikers to spend multiple days exploring high elevation forests full of rare plants and animals. You will be walking in the footsteps of a notorious Native American warrior — Chief Bob Benge — who raided European settlements in southwest Virginia in the late 1700’s, killing forty to fifty settlers who had encroached on Native American lands.
Chickamauga War Chief Bob Benge, was a half-breed son of a Scottish born trader who lived among the Cherokee. He was much larger than the average native, was a speedy runner and considered “untrackable”. His brilliant red hair caused him to stand out among his brethren. Benge the greatest warrior of Cherokee War Chief Draggin Canoe, and in April of 1794, set out on his final raid to wage war against white settlers. Benge’s war party kidnapped several women and children, making his escape through what is now the Jefferson National Forest.
Family members, noticing smoke from the burning buildings left from the raid, assembled a posse to track the infamous Chief. After 3 days on the run, Chief Benge was eventually killed in an ambush set up by Virginia militia and his scalp sent to the governor as proof of his demise. Upon his death and the earlier killing of the tribe’s chief, the raids stopped. The trail ends under the rock outcropping where the notorious Chickamauga Chief was killed.