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

Wesser Bald

Wesser Bald

Approximate size: 6,655 acres

Roadless acreage: 4,094 acres

Old growth acreage: 1,339 acres

Location: Swain and Macon Counties, NC; 10 miles northeast of Beechertown; Wayah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest

USGS Topographic Maps: Wesser

This Mountain Treasure extends northward from Tellico Gap in the general direction of Wesser, on the Nantahala River. South of Tellico Gap is the Tellico Bald area. The two areas are separated only by an electric power line and a onelane gravel road that has multiple tight switchbacks on both sides of the gap.

The Appalachian Trail runs north to south through this area along the main ridge, with an AT shelter in the center. North of the shelter the Trail descends quickly to a bridge over the Nantahala River at Wesser. This is the location of the Nantahala Outdoor Center and a place for AT through hikers to get mail, showers and supplies. The area is relatively undisturbed by recent timber activity.

Nantahala Mountains - beloved home of the Cherokees

The Wesser Creek Trail (the old AT) splits from the AT just north of Wesser Bald and drops very steeply via switchbacks into a deep cove with cliff headwalls. This area is good for spring wildflowers and big trees. There is a closed road north from Tellico Gap and its new parking area to Wesser Bald. The AT takes a much longer route from Tellico Gap to the top to achieve gentler grades.

Advocacy by the Nantahala Hiking Club has resulted in the U.S. Forest Service installation of a viewing platform on the old Wesser Bald fire tower which provides outstanding 360-degree views. There is another outstanding view toward Cheoah Bald and the Nantahala Gorge from the “Jump Up” where the AT makes its first real plunge downward into the Gorge over a rocky spine several miles north of Wesser Bald.

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