Bartram Trail (McDonald Ridge to Wayah Bald)

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: McDonald Ridge
Trip Ends: Wayah Bald
Total Distance: 2.2 miles
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Appalachian, Bartram
Trail Traffic: Moderate to Heavy
Trip Type: Day or Overnight Hike
More Information:

Nantahala National Forest
Wayah Ranger District
Franklin, NC 28734


The Nantahala National Forest is the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina and is the the second wettest region in the country – after the Pacific Northwest. The word “Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun.” In some spots, the sun only reaches the floors of the deep gorges in the middle of the day. The National Forest has 531,270 acres with elevation ranging from 5,800 feet at Lone Bald in Jackson County to 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along the Hiwassee River.

This section of the Bartram Trail runs from McDonald Ridge to Wayah Bald heading northbound toward Nantahala Lake and shares all but 0.5 miles of the route with the Appalachain Trail. On the hike you will pass the Wine Spring Bald spring and campsite located at 5400 feet. This is the highest point on the entire Bartram Trail and there are a few campsites in this area for overnight camping. The section ends at Wayah Bald which has a firetower with excellent views. Wayah Bald has a parking area and is accessible via USFS 69 from Wayah Gap. The road is closed during the winter months.

GPS Coordinates:

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