Bartram Trail Winding Stairs to Cheoah Bald

Andrews, North Carolina

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This section is the grand finale of the Bartram Trail, and it lives up to expectations of what a long-trail grand finale should be. The BT climbs out of the Nantahala Gorge into the steep and narrow Ledbetter Creek valley. The valley is cloaked in a northern hardwood forest, shading waterfall after waterfall. Ledbetter Creek eventually runs out of water as the Bartram Trail reaches the high country to meet the Appalachian Trail for a final short section to reach Cheoah Bald. The vistas here are fantastic. From a mountain meadow, you can look to the east and south, to the mountains over which the Bartram Trail passed. And from a rugged rock outcrop, you can look to the rampart of the Great Smoky Mountains, looming in the west. Both sunrise and sunset here can be memorable, but this beauty comes with a price. This is easily the steepest section of the BT, and the climb is nearly continuous from the bottom of the Nantahala Gorge to the top of the bald.
Long Trails of the Southeast

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Long Trails of the Southeast

by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)

This section is the grand finale of the Bartram Trail, and it lives up to expectations of what a long-trail grand finale should be. The BT climbs out of the Nantahala Gorge into the steep and narrow Ledbetter Creek valley. The valley is cloaked in a northern hardwood forest, shading waterfall after waterfall. Ledbetter Creek eventually runs out of water as the Bartram Trail reaches the high country to meet the Appalachian Trail for a final short section to reach Cheoah Bald. The vistas here are fantastic.

From a mountain meadow, you can look to the east and south, to the mountains over which the Bartram Trail passed. And from a rugged rock outcrop, you can look to the rampart of the Great Smoky Mountains, looming in the west. Both sunrise and sunset here can be memorable, but this beauty comes with a price. This is easily the steepest section of the BT, and the climb is nearly continuous from the bottom of the Nantahala Gorge to the top of the bald.

©  Johnny Molloy/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Andrews
Distance: 5.1
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Difficult
Season: Year-round, but can be very cold in winter
Trailhead Elevation: 1,900 feet
Top Elevation: 5,100 feet
Driving Directions: Directions to Bartram Trail: Winding Stairs to Cheoah Bald

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May 2018