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July 25, 2014
Wayah Bald Lookout Tower
Jan 16, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 351 351 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wayah Bald Lookout Tower
Wayah Bald Lookout Tower
slideshow
Level of difficulty: Easy

Driving distance/direction from downtown Highlands, NC: Follow Hwy. 64 west through Franklin, NC, and turn right at the Wayah Bald direction sign. Take the first left onto Wayah Road (State Road 1310). Stay on State Road 1310 past FS 388, up winding road to top of the hill (Wayah Gap). Turn right on the gravel road (FS 69) to Wayah Bald. Drive about 4.5 miles to a parking area near end of the road just around a 180-degree turn.

Hiking distance: 0.6 miles round trip

Description: This national historic landmark provides panoramic views of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, Tennessee and both North and South Carolina. Mountains visible from the tower include the Smoky Mountains to the north, the Balsams and the Cowees to the east and the Tusquittee and Slickrock ranges to the west. A short paved trail provides easy access to the tower. The stone observation tower stands at an elevation of 5,385 feet. It was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps for fire detection. During early summer, look for blooming rhododendron and azaleas.

Footnote: For those wanting a longer hike, the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail cross Wayah Bald at the tower.

Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes. www.HighlandHiker.com
Bartram Trail from Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain
Jan 16, 2012 | 7807 views | 0 0 comments | 351 351 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartram Trail from Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain
Bartram Trail from Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain
slideshow
Driving distance/direction from downtown Highlands, NC: Follow Hwy. 64 west 4.6 miles. Watch for the Cliffside Lake entrance on the right. Just past Cliffside Lake, turn left on Turtle Pond Road. Follow Turtle Pond Road for 1.1 miles to Dendy Orchard Road. Turn right on Dendy Orchard Road and follow it for 1.4 miles. This will become a steep dirt road. At the top of the hill, turn left onto Jones Gap Road. A Bartram Trail sign indicates this road. Follow it 2 miles to a parking area at the top of the gap.

Hiking distance: 4.6 miles round trip

Description:  The Bartram Trail is a 115-mile trail that extends from North Georgia into North Carolina and is named for 18th century botanist William Bartram. The 2.3-mile stretch between Jones Gap and Whiterock Mountain is a perfect section for day-use hiking. At Jones Gap, elevation 4,360 feet, the Bartram Trail passes through a field and circles the right side of Jones Knob to descend to Whiterock Gap. Follow the yellow blazes. At 0.7 miles past the gap, a spur trail to the left goes to Whiterock Mountain. Take this trail and continue past the top of the mountain to the rock face on the far side, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains. A side trail to Jones Knob is also accessible early in the hike at the far end of the field. An additional 0.6 miles up and back on the blue-blazed trail, the Jones Knob trail climbs approximately 300 feet in slightly less than 0.5 miles.

Hike descriptions adapted from the Highland Hiker’s Guide to Day Hikes.
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