What's in a Name?
Yellow Face supposedly gets its name from the yellowish hue of the exposed rocks near the summit.
Yellow Face is situated in the Plott Balsams of Western North Carolina. According to Ron Tagliapietra, the name refers to the “yellow-green hue of the exposed rock” near the summit (Southern Sixers, 93). The unofficial trail to the summit is relatively good, though extremely strenuous. Portions of the trail were a bit overgrown with wild blackberry thickets when we climbed the mountain in May. The trail to the summit could be extremely treacherous in wet conditions. Although there are nice views in certain sections on the way to the summit, the summit itself offers no views. The summit is a heath bald comprised primarily of blackberry thickets. Despite the lack of views from the top, this mountain has character. The hike to the top runs through a pristine balsam forest that is littered with indigenous wildflowers in late May & early June. Tread lightly this is a pristine area that is rarely touched by humans. Unspoiled wilderness areas such as this are steadily dwindling on the east coast.
From Waynesville, N.C. go about 8 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). Go toward the Smoky Mountains. Just after mile marker 451, look for exit to a giant tourist parking area near Waterrock Knob. Park here. There is a tourist kiosk that sells park trinkets/souvenirs.
From the parking area walk back down to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cross the BRP & look for the faint trail into the balsam forest to the right. After about 18 meters you will come to a nondescript box. Follow the trail past the box to the ridge that leads to the summit.
There are no permits, use fees, or summit fees, nor are there required parking passes.
The Blue Ridge Parkway closes in the winter due to snowy and icy conditions.
LEAVE NO TRACE!
When To Climb
Between October and the last weekend in May are ideal times to attempt this mountain. Summer can be painfully hot & humid.