Richland Balsam Nature Trail is a hiking trail in Haywood County and Jackson County, North Carolina. It is within Blue Ridge Parkway. It is 1.2 miles long and begins at 6,018 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 922 feet. The Haywood Jackson Overlook viewpoint is near the trailhead. Richland Balsam (elevation 6,401 feet) and the Richland Bald Overlook - Highest Point on the Parkway viewpoint can be seen along the trail.
Richland Balsam Nature Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"The Richland Balsam Nature Loop Trail is relatively short, but combined with the Waterrock Knob Trail, another short but steep hike 20 miles farther south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the two trails make a complete day of hiking and sightseeing. Starting at an already lofty elevation of 6020 feet, Richland Balsam is a great warm-weather hike since it tends to be cool even in summer, making it suitable for large or long-haired dogs. It is just about 0.5 mile north of the Richland Balsam Overlook, which is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6047 feet elevation."
--Karen Chavez, Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books).
"Numbered posts keyed to an interpretive brochure describe the changing composition of a lofty spruce/fir forest at more than 6,000 feet—the highest elevation reached by a Parkway
--Randy Johnson, Best Easy Day Hikes: Blue Ridge Parkway (Falcon Guides).
"Numbered posts keyed to an interpretive brochure describe the changing composition of a lofty spruce-fir forest at 6,410 feet—the highest elevation reached by a Parkway trail. Here’s an oddity—a kind of rough, rooty trail a lot like the backcountry tracks that wind everywhere in western North Carolina’s national forests. The Richland Balsam Trail is the perfect counterpoint to the Parkway’s generally groomed paths. It’s also the Parkway’s best path to experience the aromatic lushness of the dripping, cloud-dampened spruce-fir forest."
--Randy Johnson, Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway (Falcon Guides).
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