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U.S. Forest Service

Southern Region Viewing Area


American umbrellaleaf. American umbrellaleaf (Diphylleia cymosa). Photo by Gary Kauffman.

Showy orchid. Showy orchid (Galearis spectabilis). Photo by Ralph Preston.

Wasilik Poplar Trail

Forest: Nantahala National Forest

District: Wayah Ranger District

Description: This 1.4 mile, roundtrip trail leads through a high-elevation cove forest. A particularly diverse assemblage of herb species, including many spring wildflowers, is present given the higher calcium content in the soils. Common wildflowers include giant chickweed, spotted mandarin, large-flowered trillium, wake-robin, Vasey’s trillium, black cohosh, yellow cohosh, bloodroot, Appalachian joe-pye-weed, umbrella leaf, turtlehead, bee balm, ramps, wild astilbe, large-flowered bellwort, spiderwort, turk’s cap lily, Clinton’s lily, miterwort, Canadian violet, and showy orchid. Best time to enjoy: late April – mid 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, take U. S. Highway 64 west about 12 miles, turning left at the sign for the Standing Indian Campground. After 2.0 miles, turn right onto Forest Service Road 67, towards the campground. After 0.5 miles, turn left into the parking area at Rock Gap. The trail crosses the Appalachian Trail and descends 0.7 miles to the Wasilik Poplar. No facilities at the trailhead.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Nantahala National Forest, Wayah Ranger District.

Closest Town: Franklin, North Carolina.