Named for William Bartram, a Philadelphian naturalist who spent time traveling throughout the southeast from 1773 to 1777, the Bartram Trail is a 100 mile trail divided into seven sections. One of our favorite hikes is section #7 which starts in the Nantahala Gorge and follows ridge lines for 6.6 miles traveling to Cheoah Bald. Though the first mile is tough, gaining 1000 feet in elevation, the views are not too be missed. It is a moderately strenuous hike to the top of Cheoah Bald which stands at 5062 feet and offers sweeping views northward of the Smokies, Stecoah Valley, and portions of Lake Fontana. To the northwest you can see the Yellow Mountains, Joyce Kilmer and Snowbird. Looking south from the bald you can see Wesser Bald, Wayah Ridge, Piercy Bald, Ash Cove, and Tusquitee. However, in the winter since the leaves are off the trees the distant vistas are visible whether you make it to the top or not. As long as you are properly prepared, hiking in the winter has many advantages. With fewer hikers hitting the trail in the off season, you can feel a solitude harder to find in the summer months. Ledbetter Creek follows most of the trail. This season the ice formations along the creek have been beautiful. Nothing beats the sound of water falling down the mountainside. . . .so peaceful no matter the time of year.