NCBartramTrail.org

Official Website of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society

Section 4

11.5 miles – Wallace Branch to Wayah Bald

Overview
Having followed country roads across the Little Tennessee River valley, the North Carolina Bartram Trail leaves this rural setting and in 11.5 strenuous miles climbs Trimont Ridge up the eastern flank of the Nantahala Mountains to Wayah Bald, which at 5342’ is one of the highest points on the Bartram Trail. The elevation change going from Wallace Branch Trailhead (2240’) to Wayah Bald is around 3100’, but the hiker actually climbs more than 5000’between these two points because Trimont Ridge is a series of steep knobs, and the trail follows the ridgeline up and over most of them. This makes Section 4 the longest, most strenuous section of the Bartram Trail. However, the Trimont Ridge section is well worth the effort to hike. This section was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1985 and leads to numerous vistas of the Nantahalas. Many of the unnamed gaps that the trail drops into are lush, secluded, and beautiful. Going from east to west, Section 4 is divided into two almost equal parts, each with road-accessible trailheads: Wallace Branch to Harrison Gap (5.5 miles); and Harrison Gap to Wayah Bald (6 miles). Either half provides a pleasant day’s hike.

Wallace Branch to William’s Pulpit and return
NCBT Map Section: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Approximate Time: 3 hours ~ Round Trip Mileage: 4 miles
Features: Views at William’s Pulpit;
great spring and summer wildflowers

Harrison Gap to William’s Pulpit and return
NCBT Map Section: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Approximate Time: 5 hours ~ Round Trip Mileage: 8 miles
Features: Vistas on both sides of trail in late fall through early spring

Directions to Trailhead

Wallace Branch Trailhead:

From the US441/US64 junction south of Franklin, drive west on US64 for 1.0 miles and turn right onto Sloan Rd. (SR1153). In 0.2 miles you will pass the Nantahala Ranger Station on the right and in 0.1 miles, come to an intersection. Cross this intersection to Pressley Rd. (SR1315) and go 1.7 miles to the end and a parking area for the Wallace Branch Trailhead. Parking capacity: around 6 vehicles.

Wayah Bald Trailhead:

From Franklin: From the US441/US64 junction south of Franklin, drive west on US64 for 3.5 miles to Old Murphy Rd. (SR1442), on the right, and a sign to Wayah Bald. Turn right on Old Murphy Rd. and drive 0.2 miles to Wayah Rd. (SR1310), on the left. There is a service station at this intersection. Follow Wayah Rd. 9.0 miles (passing the LBJ Job Corps Center on the way) up to Wayah Gap and the graveled Wayah Bald Rd. (FR69), which is on the right. Take Wayah Bald Rd. and drive 4.5 miles to the top of the mountain.