May 25-26, 2019
I could have easily driven to Tellico Gap and hiked 1.5 miles up to Wesser Bald. In lieu of the easy route and in search of a weekend adventure, I decided to hike to Wesser from the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) and camp at Cold Springs Gap and hike back the next day.
I got to NOC quite early on a Saturday morning and it was already bustling. NOC has a nice deal; they give you a parking pass for free and allow you to park in one of their lots. By 9:30 am, I was on the trail and hiking upwards. Literally, that was all I did all day. Over the 11.46 mile hike to Cold Spring; I gained 4,521 ft. in elevation. It was a hot Memorial Day weekend, so I stopped at nearly every vista or pretty flower to catch my breath.
Wesser Bald has tremendous views: Cheoah, the Smoky’s, Unicoi, Balsam and Cowee mountain ranges just to name a few. The original “cab” tower has been replaced with an observation platform with a 360 degree panorama.
The toughest hike fo the day was the ascent out of Tellico Gap up to Rocky Bald. I was getting tired and made Cold Spring Shelter around 3:30 pm. Up above the shelter is one of my favorite camping spots in the world. There is a nice hidden grassy spot just above a rock outcropping with outstanding views of Franklin, NC.
Total mileage is 23.63 miles.