The Bartram Trail (110 miles approx.) is designated as a National Recreation Trail by the National Trails System Act of 1968. The trail is blazed in a yellow, vertically oriented rectangle in North Carolina and a yellow diamond in Georgia. It crosses over some of the most scenic mountains of North Carolina and Georgia, with many side trails, blazed in a blue vertically oriented rectangle, leading to views of the Blue Ridge and the Smokies.
The Bartram Trail is constructed for foot traffic only. Use of off-road vehicles, ATVs, bicycles, horses, pack animals, etc., is prohibited on the trail. The pathway, water/erosion control systems, steps and cleared area to each side of the pathway are not appropriate for anything but foot traffic. Use of wheeled vehicles, whether human-powered or fossil-fuel powered, is particularly damaging to the pathway.
The Georgia portion of the Bartram Trail originates at Russell Bridge on Hwy 28 and travels west to Rainy Mountain, then turns north to travel through Warwoman Dell, Courthouse Gap, Wilson Gap, Rabun Bald and reaches the North Carolina border just south of Highlands.
This portion of the Bartram Trail, all 37 miles of it located in Rabun County and the Chattahoochee National Forest, is maintained by the Georgia Bartram Trail Group (GBTG). For a discussion of the trail and the hikes available on the Georgia portion of the BT, please refer to the “Bartram Trail Guide” for Georgia by Ray and Skove, which is discussed on the Maps and Guides page of this website or on the GBTG website listed above.
Additional information on the GA BT can be found on the following USFS document.
In North Carolina, the trail curves in a north-to-west direction through western North Carolina, joining the Appalachian Trail at two points and ending on Cheoah Bald. On its path from the Georgia state line to Cheoah Bald it goes to the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and crosses the Fishhawk Mountains before descending to the Little Tennessee River Valley. Here the Bartram Trail Society has designated a stretch of the Little Tennessee River to Franklin a canoe trail. Thru-hikers must follow a series of country roads through the valley into Franklin.
Near and within the city limits of Franklin, there is the Little Tennessee Greenway, a footpath that winds along the river. While not a part of the Bartram trail, it still offers a “side-path” that is a pleasant excursion.
Outside of Franklin, the Bartram Trail turns west and ascends the Nantahala Mountains to Wayah Bald, which, at 5385 feet, is the highest point on the trail. The trail joins the Appalachian Trail briefly from Wayah Bald to Winespring Bald, then descends to Nantahala Lake.
Continuing mainly on private lands from the Lake, the trail reaches Appletree Campground in the upper Nantahala Gorge, and then climbs up and over Rattlesnake Knob before reaching the “put in” on the Nantahala River. From the river, the Trail climbs to the summit of Cheoah Bald, and ends there.
The approximately 62 miles of the Bartram Trail in North Carolina are maintained by the NC Bartram Trail Society.
Had a blast running just the GA route from South to North. I know this can be done much faster and wanted to post so others could share their FKT's! Cheers! - Matt Nielson