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Appalachian Trail In NC
Wayah Gap to
Wayah Bald, Copper Ridge Bald
AT Hiking Guide - North Carolina
Bly Gap to Fontana Dam
Hiking guide with descriptions and maps for the Appalachian Trail as it travels in NC from Bly Gap to Fontana Dam. The guide is broken down by 6 sections of the AT. The book comes to you delivered as a pdf file via email. Use the buy now button and we will send you the file via email usually within 24 hours of receiving payment. Happy Hiking!
The main feature of this 13.4 mile section of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina is the spectacular views from the observation tower on 5342 foot Wayah Bald. Because Wayah Bald is easily accessible via a short walk from a parking area, it is a very popular destination.
This section begins at 4126 foot Wayah Gap and the trail climbs quickly. There is parking available at Wayah Crest for about ten cars. Wayah Crest was a former campground that is now a picnic area and trailhead for Siler Bald. The GPS coordinates are N35 09.186 W83 34.858 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
Wilson Lick Ranger Station
At 1.3 miles there is a side trail that leads to USFS Road 69 and the former Wilson Lick Ranger Station. Built in 1913, this old ranger station is from a bygone era of forestry. This was the first ranger station built in the Nantahala National Forest. There is a small parking area off USFS Road 69 near the ranger station. The GPS coordinates are N35 09.789 W83 35.097 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
At 1.8 miles the trail crosses USFS Road 69. The trail is now at an elevation of 4970 feet and there is more climbing to do. At 2.5 miles the trail reaches 5332 feet as it travels along the slope of Wine Spring Bald. There is a campsite nearby. The trail comes close to an access road and descends briefly.
View from Wayah Bald Observation Tower
At 3.4 miles the trail begins its push to Wayah Bald. The elevation here is 5012 feet. At 4.0 miles the trail becomes a paved, accessible path as you make your final push toward the tower. A parking area is located nearby. At 4.2 miles the trail reaches the 5342 foot Wayah Bald. Wayah is Cherokee for 'wolf'. The Bartram Trail crosses the AT here.
The Bartram Trail is a 115 mile National Recreation Trail that stretches from northern Georgia to Cheoah Bald in North Carolina, named for William Bartram, a major American naturalist. The trail follows the approximate route of his southern explorations from 1773 to 1777.
Wayah Bald Observation Tower
The beautiful stone observation tower was built by the Conservation Civilian Corps in 1937. The fifty three foot, three story stone fire lookout on Wayah Bald was decommissioned in the 1940s. Since there were other nearby lookouts, the fire detection service at Wayah Bald was stopped in 1945. Two years later, the forest service removed the upper levels of the tower for safety reasons. Today, the tower is open except in winter when snow closes the road to the top.
Wayah Bald Observation Tower
The trail leaves Wayah Bald and descends quickly. At 4.6 miles the AT travels by a campsite. At 5.1 miles the trail reaches the Wayah Shelter. The shelter was built in 2007 and sleeps eight with a privy nearby. The shelter has an overhang for cooking shelves and seating. There is a fire ring as well as five tent sites located near the shelter.
At 6.4 miles reach 4372 foot Licklog Gap. At 8.5 miles the trail reaches 4205 foot Burningtown Gap. The trail travels through a small parking area for about six cars located at the end of Ben Creek Road. The GPS coordinates are N35 13.341 W83 33.735 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
Small parking area at Burningtown Gap
The trail ascends out of Burningtown Gap and reaches Cold Spring Shelter at 9.8 miles. This shelter was built by the CCC in 1933 and sleeps six with a privy nearby. Tent sites are located via a side trail located close by.
Cold Spring Shelter
View from near the Cold Spring Shelter
The trail reaches the 5166 foot Copper Ridge Bald Lookout at 10.4 miles. At 11.8 miles the trail reaches a side trail leads a short distance to a lookout on 5030 foot Rocky Bald. The trail now descends fast to 3864 foot Tellico Gap at 13.4 miles. The trail crosses NC 1365 at the gap, which marks the end of this section of the AT.
Parking for about ten cars is located at the gap and the GPS coordinates are N35 16.085 W83 34.339 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
We offer the full GPS tracks of this section as well as 88 miles of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina from Bly Gap to Fontana Dam for only $1.97 via a .gpx file. This file also includes waypoints for the shelters located along the trail as well as parking areas. Use the BUY NOW button above to purchase this and we'll send the file via e-mail ASAP! A great tool to keep you on the trail!
We recommend purchasing any of the following books for those looking for more information on hiking the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina:
Appalachian Trail Guide to Tennessee-North Carolina: 13th Edition
Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Georgia North Carolina Tennessee
Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Best Easy Day Hikes Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking Trails of the Smokies
Trails Illustrated Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Trails Illustrated Great Smoky Mountains National Park Explorer
Hiking HOME PAGE
Mountains National Park
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