07 June 2015

Jenny Bennett, avid off-trail hiker, reported missing by brother after apparent hike over a week ago

Freelance editor and avid off-trail hiker Jenny Bennett of Sylva, NC, who writes the hiking blog Endless Streams and Forests, is missing following what relatives believe was a hike last weekend. According to a post on the Facebook group Hike the Smokies by her friend Eleanor Hail of Knoxville, Bennett has not been seen or heard from since going on the hike and no one knows what hike she took, so her whereabouts are unknown.

Jenny Bennett (Photo provided by
Joe Guenther on Hike the Smokies)
According to the post, Bennett was supposed to meet someone at her home last Monday but never showed up. Hail said authorities had been notified. Hail noted that Bennett had mentioned she would be off the internet for a while, although she posted in her blog on May 27 about being in the Balsam Mountain area hiking. She has also mentioned that she will be moving to Vermont soon.

Her hiking friends have mentioned that she is an avid off-trail hiker. Mike Maples, an avid hiker and GoSmokies blogger, wrote, "One thing for sure, she isn't lost. She is the author of "Murder at the Jump-Off." Been hiking these mountains doing the toughest of hikes. Up the Bunion, up the Jump Off, up some of the most remote sections of the Park. Hope to hear something soon."

Bennett's brother Peter Bennett of Bozeman, Montana posted the following on GoSmokies.com:
Jenny Bennett
|Photo provided
by Joe Guenther on
Hike the Smokies)

Jenny Bennett of Sylva NC is missing. Jenny is an avid off trail hiker in the Smoky Mountains. She probably went on a hike on Saturday May 30 or Sunday May 31. She was supposed to be met at her house on Monday June 1 and was not there. She has not been seen since. Because she is an off trail hiker, it is quite possible that she was somewhere in the Smokies and had an accident. If you know Jenny and have an idea where she might have gone or if you happen to see her car ( a red Subaru I think ) please contact the Jackson County NC Sheriff as soon as possible.

I am her brother Peter Bennett and I live in Bozeman Montana.

In her most recent blog post, Bennett wrote of some physical problems and depression. "In the past couple of weeks, as I have been preparing for my move to Northern Vermont, I have been fixated on getting in one last expedition—despite the bum knee, despite the fact that I’ve allowed myself to get somewhat out of shape. I hope this doesn’t sound too personal: I absolutely believe it is the right thing to do to move to New England, mainly because I can be of assistance to my sister. At the same time, I have struggled with my loss of the Smokies. I have been dealing with depression, and have not kept up my regular exercise routine as well as I could," Bennett wrote.

Jenny Bennett (Photo by Dave Landreth)

Her hiking friends are spreading the word far and wide in hopes of getting some word on their friend and have expressed their concern that she could be injured on or off a Smokies trail.

Photo of Jenny Bennett from her blog.

The car she would have been driving, according to friends, was a red Subaru Impreza four-door like this, although some have identified her car as a Toyota Echo.

Calls to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Jackson County NC Sheriff's Department have yielded no new information as to Bennett's whereabouts or any information about her status as a missing person. If you have any information about Jenny Bennett, you may call the Jackson County NC Sheriff's Department at 828-586-8901.


  1. I hope she's okay. I assume if she was thought to be in the Balsam Mountain area that all of the parking areas in that part of the Park have been scoured for her car. Since she's an avid bushwhacker, any and all possible trail heads should be checked for her car. Even trailhead for the more obscure manways and abandoned trails. And keep in mind that she may have opted to hike somewhere other than within the Park boundaries.

  2. Prayers for her and her family.

  3. Our local news station in Knoxville is reporting they may have found her body. :'(