Richland Balsam - Drive to Trailhead & Trail Guide

Drive Guide - Richland Balsam from Black Balsam

  • Duration: 20 minutes, 11.6 miles
  • Directions:
    • Head back to BRP on Black Balsam Knob Rd
    • R on BRP and go 10.8
    • R into parking lot. “Haywood Jackson Overlook. Elevation 6020”. No restroom.

Drive Guide - Richland Balsam from Atlanta

  • Duration: 165 miles, 2:55. Google Maps: https://tinyurl.com/atl-to-richland
  • Seasonal/Limited Access: Parkway closed in winter. Check the BRP Closure Map.

  • Directions:
    • I-285 to I-85. On I-85 go N 16.6
    • I-985/GA-365 and go 52.6
    • US-23N and go 76.6
    • L to Blue Ridge Pky access and go 0.5
    • L onto Blue Ridge Pky and go 12.5
      • Pass lot on RIGHT for the overlook (same side as drop-off) near milepost 431.
      • Big sign, “Richland Balsam Highest Point on Parkway”. No restroom.
    • L into parking lot. “Haywood Jackson Overlook. Elevation 6020”. No restroom.
  • Food
    • Last McDonalds: 329 Franklin Plaza, Franklin, NC (poor service)
    • Penultimate McD: Clayton, GA (busy on Saturday mornings)
    • Antepenultimate: Cornelia, on Level Grove Rd (just BEFORE Cornelia)

Drive Guide - Richland Balsam from Waterrock Knob

  • Duration: 33 minutes, 20.5 miles
  • Directions:
    • Drive the driveway toward Parkway and go 0.3
    • L onto Parkway and go 20.2
    • L into parking. “Haywood Jackson Overlook. Elevation 6020”.

Drive Guide - Richland Balsam from Barnett Knob

  • Duration: 51 minutes, 31.2 miles
  • Directions:
    • Right turn on Parkway and go 31.2
    • L into parking. “Haywood Jackson Overlook. Elevation 6020”

Drive Guide - Richland Balsam from Steestachee Bald

  • Duration: 0:10, 5.7 miles
  • SW on Parkway (right turn, out of parking) and go 5.7 miles
    • Pass lot on RIGHT for the overlook (same side as drop-off) near milepost 431.
    • Big sign, “Richland Balsam Highest Point on Parkway”. No restroom.
    • L into parking. Sign: Haywood Jackson Overlook. Elevation 6020”. No restroom.

Drive Guide - Richland Balsam TO Atlanta

  • Duration: 2:55, 165 miles
  • Directions:
    • R out of parking onto BRP and go 12.2
    • R on Parkway exit
    • R on US-23 South and go 13
    • Exit R to US-441 S and go 20
    • Exit R to US-441 S (again) and go 73
    • Follow I-985 to I-85 to I-285

Trail Guide

  • Duration: 0.6 miles. 0:25 up, 0:20 down (Not hurrying. I can make it down in 0:15 if running.)
  • Navigation
    • Trail begins as paved path on the near end (back toward the overlook) of parking.
    • At 0.2, stay right for shortest path to summit. Summit is past nature post #13. Big sign at summit.
  • Trailhead altitude: 6025
  • Summit altitude: 6410
  • GPS tracks/waypoints:
    • Grid Square: EM85mi
    • Trailhead: 35.36005, -82.98707
    • Summit: 35.36750, -82.99030

Summit Guide

  • Hang antenna from tree: Yes.
  • Space to guy mast: Yes. I bungeed my mast to the you-are-at-summit sign.
  • Cell coverage: 2018: APRS OK; no AT&T cell. 2016: AT&T intermittent; Verizon OK; APRS OK.