Hike in to the bald to have a picnic on a nice summer's day or stay for the night at the summit. It makes for an awesome backcountry campsite. At an elevation of 5,216, the weather should be nice and cool no matter the time of year. The bald creates a field-like atmosphere, almost like "The Sound of Music" setting...Haha sounds kind of "corny" but you'll see! While at the "Bald", look to the North on a clear day to see the lookout tower at Wayah Bald and the Radio/TV towers of Wine Spring Bald. Look to the West to see a small portion of Nantahala Lake. Looking South you can see Standing Indian Mtn., Albert Mountain & Fire Tower and on into Georgia. And looking East see into the Franklin area valley. We recommend this longer route to the more experienced hikers due to this segment's length. Parking is located on the opposite side of US Hwy-64 from the trailhead.
From intersection of U.S. Hwy-64 W and U.S. Hwy-23/441 North in Franklin take Hwy-64 W towards Murphy, NC for 10.2 miles to Winding Stair Gap (Noticeable Rock Walls on both sides of hwy). Parking area will be on the left side of the road going West, just past the rock walls of the gap. You'll have to walk back across the road from where you park and access/pick-up the "AT" (there is a noticeable sign). Look for the "WHITE BLAZE" on the trees to know that you are on the "AT". This hike is moderate and is 8.4 miles roundtrip.