Bartram Trail

The Bartram Trail (BT) runs for 116 miles between Russel Bridge, GA and Cheoah Bald, NC. It is named after William Bartram, 18th century botanist, writer and all-around outdoorsy type. Scenic, but not jaw-droppingly so, it 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. I hiked the BT as part of the Southeastern Serpentine Trail (a combo of the Foothills, Bartram, Smokies and Benton Mackaye Trails) in November of 2011.

The Georgia section of the BT (around 38 miles) is distinguished by a series of large engraved stone markers. When it comes to trail signs, these may very well rate as my all time favourites. Indeed, the Roman-looking font and weathered appearance of the wayposts give the section an historical feel………….I almost felt like I should have been decked out in sandals, armour and a tunic and headed off with the legions to Germania

On an equally random note, the Bartram Trail was voted by Backpacker Magazine readers to be the No.1 Long Distance Trail in the United States for solitude (December, 2000). After not encountering a single other hiker during my time on the trail I can definitely see why. However, I just have one question – if hardly anyone ever walks the trail, how can it be voted No.1 in anything?


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