Bartram Trail Approach

Page Type
North Carolina, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day

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Created On: Dec 26, 2007
Last Edited On: Dec 26, 2007

Bartram Trail Approach to Cheoah Bald

Another less often used to the two Appalachian Trail approaches to Cheoah Bald is the Bartram Trail. The Bartram provides a 5 mile one way, 3000 foot vertical approach to the summit.

Getting There

The trailhead is a small paved parking lot in the Nantahala Gorge about 1.5 miles west of the Nantahala River put-in at the intersection of US 19 and Wayah Rd. The parking lot is on the north side of the road.

Route Description

This route follows the Bartram Trail (blazed yellow) for a majority of the hike only joining up with the AT (white blazes) for the last 0.2 miles. The trail leaves the parking lot immediately crossing a set of railroad tracks. There are a number of impromptu camp sites in this area. From there a steep climbs leads you out of Natahala Gorge and drops you into the drainage for Ledbetter Creek. The Bartram Trail proceeds to follow Ledbetter Creek climbing at a moderate grade, mostly following the creek. This section can get pretty wet, especially in spring or after heavy rain.

After about 4 miles, the trail intersects and follows an old FS road and quickly rejoins another trail leading up to the main Cheoah ridge. With about a quarter mile to go the Bartram Trail intersects with the AT for the final approach to Cheoah.

You can either return via the same route, or with the help of a shuttle, descend to Stecoah Gap or the NOC via the AT.

This route is well-maintained, but seldom used. Wear orange during bear season in Oct-Dec as the area around Cheoah is quite popular with bear hunters.

Essential Gear

External Links

Detailed maps can be ordered from the NC Bartram Trail Society: