Southern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Largeflower Bellwort (Uvalaria grandiflora). Photo by Gary Kauffman.
Forest: Nantahala National Forest
District: Wayah Ranger District
Description: This 2.2-mile trail extends into the backcountry, where it connects with several other trails. The lower 0.5 mile, however, climbs gently through a narrow cove forest filled with spring wildflowers. Common flowers include Vasey’s trillium, Catesby's trillium, wake-robin, wild geranium, mountain lettuce and hepatica. The best time to enjoy the area is from mid-April to early-May.
Safety First: The Nantahala National Forest receives high recreational use throughout the summer, and traffic along the forest roads can be heavy, especially near developed facilities. Weather in the southern Appalachians is generally mild but wet, with abundant rainfall throughout the year. Higher elevations, however, can experience cold, wet weather at any time during the year. As a result, adequate rain gear and warm clothes are recommended, even during the summer. In addition, trails in the region are often rocky, and require supportive shoes and sure footing.
Although the area contains abundant streams, all surface water should be treated before drinking or cooking. Carry and drink plenty of fluids, and use sunscreen on exposed skin, especially at higher elevations. Biting insects are generally not a problem. Mosquitoes and ticks are present, but usually not a nuisance. Both mosquito and tick bites can transmit diseases, however, and appropriate measures, such as long clothing and repellants, should be used. Gnats are ubiquitous during the growing season, and often become a nuisance, due to both their numbers as well as their persistence. Wildlife encounters with large animals such as black bears and wild boar are unusual but potentially very dangerous. Please take necessary precautions while hiking outdoors.
Directions: From Franklin, North Carolina, take U. S. Highway 64 west about 3 miles. Turn right at the signs for the LBJ Job Center/Wayah Bald areas, then left onto Wayah Road (State Route 1310). After passing Nantahala Lake, turn left onto Junaluska Road (State Route 1401). Drive 2.5 miles and turn right into the Appletree Group Campground. The trailhead is on the left, nestled against the banks of a small creek. Facilities are not available at the trailhead. Follow the blue blazes paralleling the creek.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Nantahala National Forest, Wayah Ranger District.
Closest Town: Franklin, North Carolina.
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