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National Trails Day Celebration: June 1

January 14th, 2013 by NC BTS

Wayah Bald Tower

Hike with members of both the Bartram Trail Society and the Nantahala Hiking Club to celebrate National Trails Day.

The BTS is partnering with the Nantahala Hiking Club to sponsor a hike on National Trails Day, June 1, 2013.

We will meet at Wayah Bald at 10:00 a.m. and hike to Wine Spring Bald for lunch. The route is about two miles long and descends less than a thousand feet before climbing a thousand feet to Wine Spring Bald. Those who want a longer hike may proceed another two miles (downhill) to Sawmill Gap.

This event is the first organized collaboration between the two clubs in recent years. The Nantahala Hiking Club maintains the Appalachian Trail in southwestern North Carolina and conducts numerous hikes each year. The trail from Wayah Bald to Wine Springs Bald is part of the only route shared by both the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail.

Wayah Bald two of three prominent peaks in the Nantahala that scholars think may be the place that William Bartram described asthe most elevated peak; from whence I beheld with rapture and astonishment, a sublimely awful scene of power and magnificence, a world of mountains piled upon mountains.” The third candidate for Bartram’s “most elevated peak” is Burningtown Bald.

The American Hiking Society has sponsored National Trails Day on the first Saturday in June each year since 1993. For more information, see

Directions:  From Franklin NC
From intersection of U.S. Hwy-64 W and U.S. Hwy-23/441 North in Franklin take Hwy-64 W towards Murphy, NC for 3.8 miles to “Old Murphy Rd.(SR 1448) on your right (see Wayah Bald Sign).
After you take the exit, continue down the hill for just under 0.2 miles to Wayah Road (SR 1310) on your left (“Loafers Glory” gas station will be at the intersection of Old Murphy Rd. and Wayah Rd, so you’ll know where to turn).
Continue on Wayah Rd. for 9.1 miles where you’ll find yourself at FR (Forest Road) #69 on the right, at Wayah Gap. Take this gravel road for another 4.4 miles to the Wayah Bald Area and Lookout Tower..

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New NC Bartram Trail map published

June 18th, 2010 by NC BTS

NC Bartram Trail Society President Tim Warren of Brevard announces that after a three year effort, a new Bartram Trail map has been created, published and is now available!

The new “Interpretive Hiking Map of the NC Bartram Trail” is a full-color, two-sided map measuring 28 x 36. Features included on the map are: an overview of the 75+ miles of hiking trail and the topographic features it traverses; elevation profiles of the trail; USGS topographic contour lines at 50 foot intervals; scale: 1:35,000; GPS coordinates and driving directions to BT trailheads from area towns and EMS assistance info. The Appalachian Trail (from Wayah Bald to the Cheoah Bald area) and the Appletree area loop trails are also shown.

The map also features mile by mile readings for both north-to-south hiking and south-to-north hiking, locations of scenic vistas, waterfalls, historic markers, picnic areas and campgrounds. But the feature likely to become a favorite for natural and cultural history enthusiasts are the native flora and fauna notes from along the trail, information about William Bartram’s historic visit to the area and notes about the non-profit NC Bartram Trail Society.

National Forest recreation users in mind when creating the new map were day hikers, backpackers, exercise runners, nature photographers, wildflower enthusiasts, and area history buffs. The NCBTS hopes this attractive, colorful and informative map will excite folks enough to plan a recreation outing or hike in their national forests and gain many years of enjoyment from the map.

Primary funding for the map was through a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage  Substantial donations were received from the Highlands Biological Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Nantahala Outdoor Center, private donors and the BTS membership.

The grant was written primarily to fund the NCBTS’s desire to provide free trail maps to educational institutions and conservation groups. Over one thousand free maps have already been distributed to WNC schools, public and college libraries, summer camps, chambers of commerce, visitor centers and other groups. Maps were also distributed to nature centers, history museums and botanical societies around the state and region.

The new map is available for sale (after July 2) at area USFS Ranger Stations and area outfitters. It may also be ordered online at by using Pay Pal or mailing a check for $12 (includes postage) to:

NC Bartram Trail Society
P. O. Box 968
Highlands, NC  28741

The NC Bartram Trail is a National Recreation Trail and is for foot travel only. It is not open to horseback riding, ORVs or mountain bikes. The trail is maintained by a small group of trail volunteers who typically meet on the second Saturday of each month.

For more information about the map, the trail or the BTS, contact Ina Warren at

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Piedmont College’s Bartram Trail Experience

August 7th, 2009 by NC BTS

The NCBTS would like to thank Dr. Tim Menzel, Assistant Professor of Biology at Piedmont College, for submitting the following article about Piedmont College’s “May-mester” program on the Bartram Trail.

The Bartram Trial Experience was a “May-mester” offering from Piedmont College. Piedmont’s May-mester programs consist of two courses offered by two departments, associated with travel to some other part of the world. This year, students headed to New York City, Arizona, Japan, and, for the Bartram Trail Experience, the mountains of northern Georgia. For the Georgia trip, the resources that have typically gone towards plane tickets and hotel rooms instead purchased backpacking equipment and trail food (plus 4 nights in cabins at Vogel State Park). The two courses associated with this trip were “The Influence of William Bartram’s Travels on American Literature” and “Plant Diversity.” The goal of the “Experience” was to impact these student’s views of nature through exposure to literature, scientific study and an extended time backpacking in the mountains of northeast Georgia. William Bartram was chosen as a focus because he is a figure of both literary and scientific importance.

Jack In The Pulpit

The literature course was given by Dr. Lisa Hodgens. The students were required to read and discuss William Bartram’s Travels, as well as the works of later nature writers including Emerson, Thoreau, Dillard and others. They also kept journals of their experiences and wrote a final thesis on how their view of nature had been changed by their readings and experiences. The science course was given by myself and was meant to familiarize students with the evolution and ecology of plants and plant communities in northeast Georgia. This course was different from the standard botany class in that it was focused on the mechanisms that have sculpted, and are still sculpting, the rich patterns of plant communities across our area. The challenge for the students was to integrate, through critical and creative thinking, the two approaches to Nature.

Kristian In The Rain

Our backpacking trip began after 5 days at Vogel State Park and followed the Bartram Trail from Beegum Gap to Earl’s Ford Road (27.4 miles total). We traveled from a high elevation forest (Rabun Bald, 4696′) down to the banks of the Chattooga River (~1500′).  As we arrived at the summit of Rabun Bald on the first day, the sun was shining directly above us while storm clouds hung over the valleys in every direction. As we descended from the bald we entered those clouds and they clung close to us for the next three days, finally clearing for our last two nights on the trail. Along the way we stayed at Salt Rock Gap (3,700′), Wilson Gap (3,220′), Martin Creek Falls (~2,000′), on the east side of Raney Mountain (~2,600′) and just upstream from Dick’s Creek Falls along the Chattooga River (~1500′). At each of these locations, groups of students chose 100 square meter areas and attempted to identify all tree and shrub species within them. The purpose of these exercises was to familiarize them with the plants of the area, to teach them to use plant keys, and to collect plant diversity data which could then be used to quantitatively compare the plant communities encountered as we traveled along the trail. The students then generated index values (Jaccard’s Similarity Index) for each possible pair of locations (five locations produces 10 possible pairs) to determine which pair of sites was the most similar, which the most different, and which site had the most unique plant species assemblage. This quantitative method separates the researcher from personal impressions of plant diversity by forcing them to generate objective measures of diversity patterns. We wanted to provide a scientific experience in addition to the perspective on nature gained through literature and personal experience.


Although the lab exercises were limited to trees and shrubs, we were interested in all plants along the trail and identified as many as our schedule would permit. I was personally exposed to many plant species I had never seen because I am a newcomer to the area (I’ve recently moved here from Mississippi). Plants of special interest that we found were the Yellow lady slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum), Virginia heartleaf (Hexastylis virginica), and Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema atrorubens). These were all found between Rabun Bald and Warwoman Dell, by far the richest area for plants we encountered.The most similar plots (based on index scores) were Wilson Gap and the Chattooga River. Both of these sites were heavily disturbed by previous campers, which could explain their similarity. Salt Rock Gap and the Chattooga River location were the least similar, which could be explained by their elevation difference and the fact that Salt Rock Gap is a dry ridge and the Chattooga is riverside. Salt Rock Gap had the lowest average similarity to other locations and was therefore the most unique site surveyed. Red maple and southern red oak were found at all sites and were the most common tree/shrub species surveyed.


I’ve provided below some sample passages from our student’s papers, where they have remarked on the impact of the experience on their own views of nature. Even though these words were written for a grade, I can’t help but find them encouraging.

    “I have never been afforded the chance to become familiar with the mountains. It was a challenge, and I had to dig deep; I had to reach beyond myself; I learned that I am not who I thought I was.”

“Being in the outdoors for multiple nights was a very difficult and physically demanding experience. I would have never thought that nature could be cruel. Before Bartram, I thought that nature was nice and green and harmless.”

“Since the beginning of the trip, my view of nature has drastically changed. From now on, being outside will induce deeper thoughts and be more appreciated.”

“What I truly learned about nature from the trip is that the natural world is a delicate place with a complex balance of elements that work together to form a chaotic world.”

“I realized how much I knew of, but had never seen in the enchanted forest.”

“I learned that there is more to nature than just parking your car in a secluded hole in the woods and having a few beers with the guys. There is something about the thought of that now, that seems sacrilegious.”

“I learned to slow down and enjoy, embrace simplicity, use my time outdoors for healing, to take that much-needed time away from it all, and to look more closely.”  

Trail’s EndAbove: The group at trail’s end (Earl’s for Road) from left to right: Ryan Smith, Brian Simmons, Krista Tritt, Scott Pratt, Yve Chawla, Tim Menzel, Cindy Peterson, Bradley Green.

Special thanks to John Ray and the Bartram Trail Society for maintaining these trails and making this trip possible. This trip would also not have been possible without the efforts of Dr. Lisa Hodgens – Professor of English at Piedmont College; Cindy Peterson – Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Piedmont College who was responsible for all of the planning related our time on the trail and who led us into and out of the forest safely; and all of the administration and faculty of Piedmont College who have courageously supported this trip and other May-mester programs.Tim Menzel, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of BiologyDepartment of Natural SciencesPiedmont College

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