Official Website of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society

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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NCBTS helps Mountains To Sea Trail explore options

December 9th, 2012 by NC BTS

(Source: The Franklin Press)

North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail may lead travelers through Macon County.

Conservation and trail group representatives and citizens met Monday to investigate a possible alternate route of the State’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail that would pass through the Needmore Game Lands bordering Macon and Swain counties.

[…]Representatives from The Wilderness Society, the NC Bartram Trail Society and FMST joined the Monday hike that traversed a five-mile stretch of the proposed route through Needmore from Sawmill Creek to Brush Creek in Swain County.

[…]The proposed route through Macon County could continue along existing trails and old roadbeds through the 4,500-acre Needmore Tract which winds along the Little Tennessee River (North Carolina purchased Needmore in 2004 to protect it as state game lands).

Read the full article at The Franklin Press website.

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Celebrating Thirty-five Years of the Bartram Trail at the Macon County Library & Cowee Mound

August 18th, 2012 by NC BTS

Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor Emeritus, Western Carolina University

Dr. Dan Pittillo, Professor Emeritus in botany at Western Carolina University, will help the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society celebrate its 35th anniversary with an illustrated presentation on “The Natural History of the Southern Appalachians” on September 29 at the Macon County Library. Members of the society invite all interested persons to join them in this community celebration.

Dan has been involved in the planning, building, and maintenance of the trail since its beginning in 1977; he is the only remaining member of the original Board and the only one surviving who participated in the creation of the Trail.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. After Dr. Pittillo’s presentation and lunch, participants will travel across the Little Tennessee River to visit the Cowee Mound, site of the Cherokee town that William Bartram visited for several days in 1775.

Attendees may bring their own lunches or may reserve a box lunch for $6.00 by using the reservation form below or by calling Meg Petty at 828-371-0633.

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2011 Bartram Annual Meeting – Walking Forward, Looking Backward – September 28, 2011

September 14th, 2011 by NC BTS

The NC Bartram Trail Society will host its 34th annual meeting on Wednesday, September 28 at the Cashiers Community Library at 6 pm.

We hope you can make plans to attend.

The evening’s lecture will be preceded by a brief business meeting for Board elections, light refreshments and an opportunity to share updates of the year’s events on the NC BT.

At 7 pm, noted author Janisse Ray will present the annual lecture entitled “Walking Forward, Looking Backward.”

Click here to download the full announcement!

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New BT Bandanas!

April 17th, 2011 by NC BTS

At the top of every hiker and backpacker’s packing list are bandanas: Lightweight, multipurpose, indispensable. Now hikers can proudly support the efforts of the NC Bartram Trail Society by helping promote the trail with this new NCBT bandana design. It’s not likely to be featured on the runways of NY or Paris spring fashion shows – which is all the more reason to buy it here. Consider ordering some for hiking friends. Wouldn’t you LOVE to open an envelope in your mailbox and find a bandana gift from a dear friend? Add them to your spring Easter outfit for the woods! Then post a photo to our NCBT Facebook page of your most creative use of a bandana. Wearing/using the BT bandana is almost guaranteed to win friends and influence people!

Click here to purchase from our online store!

More photos (click to enlarge):

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NC Bartram Trail Featured on WBIR TV’s Heartland Series

March 1st, 2011 by NC BTS

Bill LandrySince 1984, Bill Landry, writer and producer of the Heartland Series has filmed stories of natural and cultural significance. The series began with the 50th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Video segments are aired nightly on WBIR-TV’s NBC affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are also made available for sale to the public in DVD format. The very first Heartland Series segment was called “An Unlikely Explorer” and was about the travels of William Bartram. To celebrate the Park’s 75th anniversary, Landry and his film crew returned to the Nantahala National Forest in December 07 and July 08 and filmed another segment on the NCBT. The new segment aired in July.

Please click below to view two video segments from the Heartland Series: The Flower HunterBartram’s Journey.

The NCBTS would like to thank Bill Landry, the Heartland Series and Knoxville TV station WBIR for providing us with this video and allowing us to share it with you.

Thank you so much!

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Announcing the 2010 Annual Report and Newsletter

January 5th, 2011 by NC BTS

We are pleased to present the 2010 annual report covering the activities of our volunteers during the past year. While you are reading the pages, we think you will be simply amazed at what a small group of determined people can accomplish when they are inspired. The 2009-10 winter storms more than doubled the amount of trail clearing needed to get the trail back up to previous year’s condition. We hope you’ll be inspired to do one or two things: one – join us in membership (either annually or as a life member; see online store link to the left). The reasons for membership are many but most helpful are the trail maintenance tools we can purchase for our volunteers to use on the trail is the most dramatic. Secondly, if you have an interest in either light or heavy trail work, consider volunteering for a second Saturday work hike. There’s usually something to do for all skill levels.

Lately, several folks have suggested a outdoors quote from the late Edward Abbey, so I’ll share it with you:
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…. a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.
Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.
While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much;
I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.
I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”
~ Edward Abbey

We hope 2011 provides multiple opportunities to hike and/or camp on the Bartram Trail and that your year is filled with good health, good times and peace.
– Ina Warren, BTS Newsletter Editor

Please click here to download our 2010 Annual Report and Newsletter

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Jim Kautz presents “What I Learned Following William Bartram Across the South” October 14th

October 4th, 2010 by NC BTS

Thursday, 14 October 2010 at 7 p.m. at the Macon County Library in Franklin, NC

Illustrated presentation: “What I Learned Following William Bartram Across the South ” by Jim Kautz sponsored by the NC Bartram Trail Society.

Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited

A walk, drive, or canoe trip along the routes taken by William Bartram, America’s first native-born naturalist, provides a unique view of what has happened in the southland since the nation was founded. Jim Kautz took such a journey.

Bartram explored little-known areas from North Carolina to Florida and from Georgia to Louisiana just prior to the American Revolution. His eloquent descriptions, particularly his book Travels, described the frontier of the American southland at the moment of the nation’s birth. He wrote in such detail that we may compare our world with the landscape of the infant nation.

Jim Kautz sought out historical, environmental, and cultural occurrences along Bartram’s pathway. In the course of five years, he traveled 15,000 miles across seven states. He tramped trails, paddled and motored rivers and streams, and interviewed dozens of residents, scientists, and community leaders in revisiting Bartram’s trail.

In Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited, Kautz shares the results of his quest. “Bartram’s writings give us a benchmark,” he says. “I found a few spots that have changed little in 230 years. A modern traveler can easily imagine the Cherokee town of Cowee in quiet pastureland and rows of corn beside the Little Tennessee River. Cypress swamps are returning to their former grandeur in Florida and Alabama; Bartram’s word picture of Georgia’s Falling Creek Falls could describe the scene today.”

“On the other hand, plantations of slash pines have replaced forests of oaks and flotillas of invasive water hyacinths choke waters he sailed. Environmentalists struggle to restore the health of lands and streams that Bartram found lush and thriving.”

Reviewers of the book have said:

“. . . delightful tour of the South, connecting the past and the present . . .”

. . . a fascinating book that puts a historical character in context for the modern reader.”

“ . . . this book takes a new approach, looking at the changes that have occurred in the places familiar to (William Bartram).”

“ . . . more than a travelogue, more than a biography, more than a history. It puts the past alongside the present, showing how America has changed since Bartram’s travels and how so many of us have lost touch with the history of the land and the people who once lived there.”

Born in Washington, D.C., Jim Kautz has lived in the south for more than forty years while teaching at three colleges and working in five states. He had conducted archaeological explorations in the Middle East and America when William Bartram’s Travels caught his attention. He is past editor of The Traveller, the newsletter of the Bartram Trail Conference and a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society.

Footprints Across the South: Bartram’s Trail Revisited is published by the Kennesaw State University Press.

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NCBTS Map in the Asheville Citizen-Times

June 25th, 2010 by NC BTS

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times

When Tim Warren hikes the 80-mile-long Bartram Trail, hidden in Nantahala National Forest of Macon and Swain counties, he sees a sweeping resource, rich in history, biological diversity and scenic splendor. He sees a mighty trail, worthy of seven maps. But who wants to carry seven hiking maps?

For the past two decades, though, anyone hiking the entire trail had to have one map for each of the seven sections of the trail that starts on the North Carolina-Georgia border south of Highlands, snaking through woods, over peaks and across streams, ending at Cheoah Bald.

But now, the N.C. Bartram Trail Society has created one giant map. The Interpretive Hiking Map of North Carolina’s Bartram Trail is a full-color, 28-by-36-inch, two-sided map available for sale after July 1.


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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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