Balsam Mountain Campground Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"The rare spruce-fir forests that cloak the highest elevations of the Smokies were among the primary reasons the Smoky Mountains were designated a national park. Covering only 13,000 of the park’s 500,000 acres, this is the southern limit of this relic of the Ice Age.
More than 10,000 years ago, when glaciers covered much of the United States, a forest much more reminiscent of those in Canada today migrated south. When the glaciers retreated, this forest survived on the highest points of the Smokies, creating an “island” forest that has many ecologically important components besides red spruce and Fraser fir trees."