Bartram Trail | GA & NC | USA, 2011

Distance:  116 miles (187 km)

Start:  Russell Bridge, GA

Finish:  Cheoah Bald, NC

Avg. Time: 7 or 8 days

Maps/Info: 

  • The trail is named after William Bartram, 18th century botanist, writer and all-around outdoorsy type.
  • The BT is a trail in two parts, or should I say states. The Georgia sections covers 38 miles and the North Carolina section 78 miles. Both states have their own websites, guidebooks and maps. As of 2014, there doesn’t appear to be one map which covers the entire Bartram Trail. Strange.
  • The path is very well marked from start to finish. I used the detailed hiking notes and sketch maps contained in Johnny Molloy’s, Long Trails of the Southeast.

Highlights:

  • The Georgia section of the Bartram Trail  is distinguished by wonderful engraved stone markers (see photo above). Something a bit different. Indeed, the Roman font almost gives the trail an historical type feel………….maybe I should have been decked out in sandals, armour, a tunic and perhaps even a red plume perched on top of my hiking hat?!

  • Sunrise from Wayah Bald – stunning spot with a 360° panorama.

Lowlights:

  • The only thing that comes to mind is the 14 mile road walk into and out of Franklin, NC. Needed to break out the hiking pole on a couple of occasions to engage in some serious Errol Flynn action (i.e. Flynn was a Hollywood actor back in the 1930’s and 40’s that specialized in swashbuckling roles), in order to keep a couple of the more aggressive local canines at bay.


Notes & Musings
:

  • The Bartram Trail was voted by Backpacker Magazine readers to be the No.1 trail in the United States for solitude. During my 116 miles on the BT I didn’t encounter a single other hiker. However, it left me pondering……….if it was voted No.1……..but hardly anyone ever does it………..then who votes for it?

  • Scenic, but not jaw-droppingly so, the Bartram Trail remains relatively unknown in the US long distance hiking community. Indeed, this element of solitude combined with the subtle beauty of the southern Appalachians, combine to make it an attractive option for those seeking to escape the crowds.

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