Philadelphia-born naturalist William Bartram was among the most well-known of the early naturalists, botanists and explorers of his day.
Philadelphia-born naturalist William Bartram was among the most well-known of the early naturalists, botanists and explorers of his day. He traveled throughout the southeast from 1773 to 1777 and wrote exact, vivid descriptions of the plants and animals he saw and the Native Americans he encountered. In 1791, he published these writings under the title Bartram’s Travels, which has been published continuously and remains in print today in a number of world languages.
In 1977, The North Carolina Bartram Trail Society was organized to establish and maintain the North Carolina section of the memorial trail that honors Bartram and his work. The 80+ miles of the Bartram Trail in North Carolina follows the original route as closely as possible on public lands. It takes up where the Georgia trail leaves off, near Rabun Bald just south of Highlands, winds north–west, and ends at Cheoah Bald. The North Carolina Bartram Trail Society has blazed, built, and maintained the Trail, much of which lies within the Nantahala National Forest.
The Bartram Trail 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 Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.