County North Carolina
to Cheoah Bald
on the Appalachian Trail
Directions: The Stecoah Gap to
Cheoah Bald trail is a section of the Appalachian Trail. It
is located at the junction of Stecoah Gap and Highway 143
East. From Robbinsville, travel 7½ miles east on State
Highway 143 until you reach the top of Stecoah Gap. There is
a small parking area with a picnic table overlooking Stecoah
Valley. Park here and follow the Appalachian Trail signs on
the same side of the road as the parking area. The AT
immediately ascend log steps out of the parking area.
||Stecoah Gap to Cheoah Bald
- Trailhead: The trailhead is located
immediately adjacent to the parking area. It is
marked by signs and a set of log steps that
ascend out of the parking area.
- Distance: The trail to Cheoah Bald and
back is a round trip of approximately 12½ miles.
- Difficulty: This trail is rated as
strenuous. There are several steep to very steep
ascents along the way.
- Use Guide: The AT to Cheoah Bald is
recommended to experienced hikers who are in good
condition. It is also recommended as an overnight
camping hike in a wilderness area.
- Description: The Stecoah Gap stands at
about 3200 feet and Cheoah Bald is recorded at
5062 feet. You will begin an immediate 1 mile 600
foot elevation ascent. Once on the principal
ridge line you will be walking gentle up and down
grades between hill tops. There are several land
marks on your route. The first is Simp Gap which
stands at about 3500 feet. The second is Locust
Cove Gap at about 3650 feet. A third reference is
a natural tunnel formed by rhododendron. The
trees are on the reverse sloop and grow out at up
to 30 degree angles to compete for sunlight. They
have formed a natural canopy that sun light can
hardly penetrate. The trail is narrow here, but
it is a cool resting place on a warm summers day.
From here on the remainder of the trail is
generally uphill and becomes steeper towards the
end of your hike. As you reach the top of Cheoah
Bald you will come upon a large open grassy
meadow with a spectacular panoramic view to the
south and into the Nantahala Gorge.
- Approximately 1000 feet before reaching the
Cheoah Bald meadow area you will cross a junction
for a new section of the Bartram Trail. This
trail leads down into the Nantahala Gorge to a
small park area where there is raft, canoe, and
kayak access to the Nantahala River.
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These pages are from the people of Graham County, North Carolina.
For additional information on Graham County Adventures
the Travel and Tourism Authority
go to the Visitors Information Center
of the Travel and Tourism Authority Webpage
call 1-800-470-3790 or 828-479-3790 Fax 1-828-479-4733
This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina