North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures
Help Protect the Vulnerable Wildlands of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests

Bald Mountains

Bald Mountains

Approximate Size: 11,599 acres

Roadless Acreage: 10,971 acres on the Pisgah National Forest (adjoining 12,017 acres on the Cherokee National Forest)

Old Growth Acreage: 1,323 acres

Location: Madison County, North Carolina, 12 miles northeast of Hot Springs; Pisgah National Forest, French Broad Ranger Station

USGS Topographic Maps: Greystone, Flag Pond, White Rock, Davy Crockett Lake, Hot Springs

This area lies on both sides of the ridge that forms the North Carolina–Tennessee state line. The acreage in both states adds up to make this the largest Mountain Treasure in the two states, and the largest potential wilderness on National Forest lands between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Shenandoah National Parks.

Years ago the flat ridge crest was cleared to provide summer pasture for cattle. Settlers gave these places such colorful names as Ballground. Outlines of the pastures are still identifiable in some places.

Eastern Bison once lived throughout the Appalachians. They were prized by the Cherokees who used the meat, hides and hair. Like in the West, the bison were slaughtered and wasted. Photo by Lamar Marshall.

There were skirmishes here and in the adjacent valleys during the Civil War, and gravesites of those who lost their lives are still visible.

Rock outcrops give expansive views, particularly near Camp Creek Bald and at Big Butt. The hemlock boulderfield between Whiterock and Baxter Cliffs, though declining due to hemlock wooly adelgid, is one of the most spectacular in the region; peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs above.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) follows the ridge crest for over 15 miles, with three shelters along the route. Several side trails provide access to the AT from both North Carolina and Tennessee. One of the most unusual is the trail from Green Ridge Knob down Dry Creek. The eponymous Dry Creek runs underground for long distances.

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