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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

Location Near Elk Park North Carolina

The Map Room | Yellow Mountain Photos | Andrews Bald

Roan Highlands | Stratton Bald | Max Patch

Yellow Mountain

rthur 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.



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