On the trail
Bartram Trail Conservancy to celebrate Franklin reroute
The 110-mile Bartram National Recreation Trail has been successfully rerouted to pass through downtown Franklin, and the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy will celebrate Wednesday, June 7.
The day will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon for a new trail kiosk at the Macon County Fairgrounds, followed by a hike from the kiosk to Lazy Hiker Brewing starting at 1 p.m. A “Brewing with Bartram” celebration will commence 4-7 p.m. at the brewery.
The trail now uses the Little Tennessee River Greenway to pass through Franklin before returning to a road walk enroute to the Wallace Branch Trailhead. The Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy, which maintains the trail through Rabun and Macon counties, has worked for the last two years with the Town of Franklin, Mainspring Conservation Trust, Friends of the Greenway and the Macon County Recreation Park to eliminate over 5 miles of a 12-mile road walk that required hikers to cross U.S. 441 and U.S. 64.
Acquiring the 13.9-mile Dills Tract was essential to the project’s success. Work from Mainspring and the N.C. Land and Water Fund allowed the acquisition to happen, connecting the greenway to the Macon County Recreation Park and Macon County Fairgrounds. A grant from the Macon County Community Foundation made a new trail kiosk at the fairgrounds possible.
Hike Siler Bald
Take a hike to Siler Bald in Macon County with Jackson County Parks and Recreation, leaving at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8, from the Cullowhee Recreation Center.
The 3.6-mile hike is beginner-friendly. It has an elevation gain of about 990 feet and should take about three hours to complete.
Settle into spring in Franklin
Find a sense of place during a casual 1-mile stroll at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, behind the Macon County Public Library in Franklin.
Led by Mainspring Conservation Trust on the first Thursday of each month through August, these walks show how the forest, meadow and river along the trail changes with the season. Each month focuses on a particular aspect of nature, starting with a brief moment to learn about the evening’s theme before heading out on the trails.
Celebrate National Trails Day
Every year on the first Saturday in June, tens of thousands of hikers, bikers, paddlers, horseback riders, trail clubs, government agencies, land trusts and businesses come together for National Trails Day, a day of public events aimed at advocacy and trail service. This year, there are multiple opportunities to celebrate locally on June 3.
• Join the Partners of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness for a National Trails Day Celebration, starting 10 a.m. at the Memorial Loop near Robbinsville. Several hikes will be offered as well as special activities and maybe some giveaways too. Learn more at joycekilmerslickrock.org.
• Take a 5.5-mile hike climbing 1,700 feet to the iconic Looking Glass Rock in the Pisgah National Forest during a hike departing from the Hart Theatre in Waynesville at 9 a.m. Organized by Haywood County Recreation and Parks and led by guides Lisa and Vickey, the hike costs $10 with registration at haywoodcountync.gov/recreation.
National Trails Day events are planned nationwide. To find others, visit americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/find-an-event.
Hike through June
Take your pick of hikes with an array of adventures through Haywood County Recreation and Parks this June.
• Saturday, June 3, a 5.5-mile hike will climb 1,700 feet to Looking Glass Rock and back, with guides Lisa and Vickey. The group will meet at HART Theatre in Waynesville at 9 a.m.
• On Sunday, June 4, a 5.2-mile roundtrip with only 687 feet in elevation gain will explore Flat Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with guides Kathy and Steve. The group will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the Haywood County Visitors Center in Maggie Valley. Parking tag required.
• On Saturday, June 10, a 7.4-mile roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1,040 feet will explore Boogerman Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with guides Phyllis and Vickey. The route contains multiple water crossings. The group will meet at 9 a.m. at Jonathan Valley Elementary School. Parking tag required.
• On Tuesday, June 13, an easy 3.8-mile hike with an elevation gain of 577 feet will take the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Doubletop Mountain with guides Tara and Steve. The group will meet at 9 a.m. at Best Buy in Waynesville.
• On Saturday, June 17, a 6.3-mile point-to-point hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will include a stop for yoga. The group will meet guides Tara and Steve at 9 a.m. at Jukebox Junction in Bethel.
• On Wednesday, June 21, a hike on the 4-mile Black Balsam and Tennet Mountain loop will celebrate the N.C. Year of the Trail. The trail has an elevation gain of 727 feet. The group will meet guides Phyllis and Jamie at 9 a.m. at the Hart Theatre in Waynesville.
• On Wednesday, June 28, a 4.4-mile point-to-point hike will take the MST from Rough Butt Overlook, traversing forests of oak, birch, spruce and fir; a babbling brook; waterfalls; and an expansive summit meadow. The group will meet guides Kathy and Vickey at 9 a.m. at the HART Theatre in Waynesville.
Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park require purchase of a parking pass. Hike registration is $10. Sign up at haywoodcountync.gov/recreation.
Ramsey Cascades Trail now open on weekends
Ramsey Cascades Trail and Ramsey Prong Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are now open on weekends following a full closure for trail work. The trails will be open Friday through Sunday each week, and on federal holidays, but closed Monday through Thursday to allow trail crews to finish ongoing trail rehabilitation.
Newly constructed stairs lead to Ramsey Cascades. NPS photo
Located in the Greenbrier area, the 4-mile Ramsey Cascades Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park and is the only way to access 100-foot Ramsey Cascades, the park’s tallest waterfall.
Ramsey Cascades Trail has been closed since part of the trail was washed out during a flood event last summer. Trail crews rerouted 200 feet of trail, built and installed a new footlog bridge and built four new trail structures damaged by the flood. The remaining trail work is part of ongoing Trails Forever reconstruction efforts. Trail crews will finish repairs to the tread surface, drainage improvements, construction of trail structures and removal of tri pping hazards such as roots and rocks.
The Trails Forever program is a partnership between Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fund a permanent, highly skilled trail crew that rehabilitates high-use trails. Abrams Falls, Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops and Forney Ridge trails have all been rehabilitated through the program.
License plate sales support Nantahala Hiking Club
The Nantahala Hiking Club will receive a $5,000 grant from funds raised via sales of the North Carolina Appalachian Trail license plate. The funding will help support NHC community and hiker outreach efforts such as the Trail Ambassador Program, the Thru-Hiker Chow Down, activities with local schools and participation in festivals. Additionally, some funds will go toward trail maintenance equipment and supplies.