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Bob Stelloh | profile | all galleries >>  plant hunting... >>  balds... >> Copper Bald... tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Copper Bald...

Ed Collins, Charlie Larus and Bob Stelloh went to Copper Bald on 7/2/02, which was several weeks past peak bloom, and returned by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Copper Bald is on the Appalachian Trail, about 4.5 miles north of Wayah Bald. While it may have been a bald once, now it's covered with big trees and lots of mature mountain laurel and Rhododendron maximum, along with the native azaleas.

To get to Wayah Bald from Franklin, go a few miles south on US 64 to a right onto Old Murphy Road, and an immediate left at Loafer's Glory store onto Wayah Road. The Wayah Bald turnoff to the right is 9.3 miles from that intersection (and 4.0 miles up to the Wayah Bald parking lot). There are nice wildflowers and R. calendulaceum on the way up, and great stands of R. arborescens at the top. From there, you could hike about 4.5 miles on the Appalachian Trail to Copper Bald, or you can drive about 20 miles to the Burningtown Gap trail head.

To drive to the Copper Bald trail head, go past the Wayah Bald exit 1.6 miles to a right onto Forest Service road 711, go 15.1 miles on FS 711 to a dead-end at Cold Creek Road, go right on Cold Creek Road 0.5 miles to a right onto Bens Creek Road, go 2.2 miles to the end at the AT.

From the trail head, hike left (north) on the AT 1.5 miles (and 1000 feet up) to the azaleas. It's about an hour to an hour and a half hike. Most of the azaleas we have seen are to the right of the AT, uphill and close to the trail. If you can't see them from the trail, you can probably see where folks have gone off the trail to get to them. While there are a few isolated azaleas, they tend to be in groups. There are some groups of R. calendulaceum, others of R. cumberlandense, others of R. arborescens, and many groups of interspecific hybrids.

Here's a topo map of the area. Copper [Ridge] Bald is at the upper right, and Wayah Bald is just off the bottom.

Charlie at the trailhead, facing south toward Wayah Bald

Charlie at the trailhead, facing south toward Wayah Bald

trailhead facing north, toward Copper Bald

trailhead facing north, toward Copper Bald

on the trail

on the trail

campsite on the trail, a little more than a mile up the trail

campsite on the trail, a little more than a mile up the trail

first azalea, probably R. calendulaceum

first azalea, probably R. calendulaceum

a good sign -- almost there

a good sign -- almost there

Ed Collins, Charlie Larus at the Mossy Log Cafe -- most of the azaleas are just past it

Ed Collins, Charlie Larus at the Mossy Log Cafe -- most of the azaleas are just past it

07020011s.jpg
07020012s.jpg 07020013s.jpg R. maximum in bud

R. maximum in bud

R. maximum

R. maximum

07020016s.jpg 07020017s.jpg R. arborescens

R. arborescens

R. arborescens

R. arborescens

R. arborescens

R. arborescens

R. arborescens

R. arborescens

Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus) beside the trail

Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus) beside the trail

Galax aphylla beside the trail

Galax aphylla beside the trail

east from Copper Bald

east from Copper Bald

east from Copper Bald

east from Copper Bald

Houstonia caerulea (Bluets) in the trail

Houstonia caerulea (Bluets) in the trail

Galax aphylla

Galax aphylla

07020033s.jpg 07020034s.jpg 07020035s.jpg 07020036s.jpg
07020038s.jpg 07020039s.jpg 07020041s.jpg Tree ear

Tree ear

Laetiporus sulphureus (Chicken of the Woods, Sulphur Shelf) - with thanks to Tom Hughes for the name

Laetiporus sulphureus (Chicken of the Woods, Sulphur Shelf) - with thanks to Tom Hughes for the name

07020049s.jpg on the way back

on the way back

R. arborescens hybrid

R. arborescens hybrid

Diphylleia cymosa (Umbrella-Leaf) in a wet shady cove

Diphylleia cymosa (Umbrella-Leaf) in a wet shady cove

Sambucus pubens (Red Elderberry)
MP 437.5 S

Sambucus pubens (Red Elderberry)
MP 437.5 S

Sambucus pubens (Red Elderberry)
MP 437.5 S

Sambucus pubens (Red Elderberry)
MP 437.5 S

Lilium superbum (Turk's Cap Lily)
MP 437.5 S

Lilium superbum (Turk's Cap Lily)
MP 437.5 S

wildflower mix
MP 437.1 S

wildflower mix
MP 437.1 S

Castilleja coccinea (Indian Paint Brush), Phlox
MP 437.1 S

Castilleja coccinea (Indian Paint Brush), Phlox
MP 437.1 S

Castilleja coccinea (Indian Paint Brush)
MP 437.1 S

Castilleja coccinea (Indian Paint Brush)
MP 437.1 S

Silene virginica (Fire Pink)
MP 437.1 S

Silene virginica (Fire Pink)
MP 437.1 S

Hypericum buckleyi (St. John's Wort)
MP 424.2 N

Hypericum buckleyi (St. John's Wort)
MP 424.2 N

Hypericum buckleyi (St. John's Wort)
MP 424.2 N

Hypericum buckleyi (St. John's Wort)
MP 424.2 N

Silene virginica (Fire Pink)
MP 420 N

Silene virginica (Fire Pink)
MP 420 N

R. arborescens, R. calendulaceum
MP 413.9 N

R. arborescens, R. calendulaceum
MP 413.9 N

R. arborescens
MP 413.9 N

R. arborescens
MP 413.9 N

R. calendulaceum
MP 413.9 N

R. calendulaceum
MP 413.9 N

Castanea pumila (Chinquapin)
MP 413.5 S

Castanea pumila (Chinquapin)
MP 413.5 S

Baptisia tinctoria (Yellow Indigo)
MP 413.5 S

Baptisia tinctoria (Yellow Indigo)
MP 413.5 S

Baptisia tinctoria (Yellow Indigo)
MP 413.5 S

Baptisia tinctoria (Yellow Indigo)
MP 413.5 S