Big Yellow Mountain
The Roan Highlands
Easy to Moderate
A few streams and some small seeps
Awe inspiring views
You must have permission
to hike this area, contact information is noted below
||Near Elk Park North Carolina
Room | Yellow Mountain
Photos | Andrews Bald
Roan Highlands | Stratton
Bald | Max Patch
Griffith met us in a church parking lot in Minneapolis, North
Carolina. A life long resident of this area, we couldn't have
had a better guide. He took us up to his house to begin our
hike up to "Big Yella" from his back yard. As we
climbed through a beautiful hardwood forest he began pointing
out and naming the wildflowers that carpeted the forest floor.
After side stepping some cattle that were laying in our path,
he took us up to the top of Big Yellow Mountain.
Big Yellow Mountain is a Southern Appalachian
high elevation grassy bald. Part of the Roan Highlands on
the Tennessee border, it is maintained by the grazing of cattle.
The most obvious advantage of that is the enormous amount
of wildflowers. Some of the high grassy balds in the Southern
Appalachians are maintained by mowing. This type of maintenance
does not allow the native grasses and wildflowers flourish
as well as they do on Yellow Mountain.
The Balds of the Southern Appalachians
The origin of the high elevation balds in the
Southern Appalachians is not known. It is possible that before
the settlers came to this area, the many bison and elk that
once roamed here grazed the balds and kept them clear. When
the settlers arrived many grazed livestock on the balds in
the warmer months. Human intervention is needed to keep them
clear today. The balds are the home to distinctive communities
of plants and animals. Due to the scenic and biological value
of these grassy balds, several organizations take great care
to keep the balds clear of unwanted growth.