Walton Interpretive Trail

At A Glance


1.1 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 1.49
Steepness: Few Hills
Tread Condition: Some Obstacles
Lowest Elevation: 4100 ft
Highest Elevation: 4260 ft
Climb Total: 160 ft
Blaze Color: None
Trail Number: 376


The Walton Interpretive Trail is named for Walton Smith, a resident in Cowee NC who led the charge against clearcut logging thorough the Western North Carolina Alliance's Forest Management Task Force from the late 70's through the early 90's. The trail winds through a hardwood forest for a bit past some interpretive signs before entering the area of the Red Spruce bog that Alarka Laurel is famous for. This is the southernmost surviving patch of Red Spruce in the Appalachian mountains, able to remain growing here due to a unique combination of moisture, temperature, and slope found few other places at this low of an elevation. The mountain bog is another rare aspect of the valley bottom, the upload bog being one of the most threatened ecosystems in the region. After passing an observation platform overlooking some big spruces and the bog, the trail winds back toward the parking lot via an old road bed.

This trail is located in the Nantahala Ranger District area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Nantahala Ranger District trails list page.

All Photos from the Trail

Gallery Permalink


Map Information

Download GPS Data

Click on a route, trail, or point on the map and select the GPS Data tab to download its data.

Data Formats

KML (Google Earth)

KML is the main file type used by Google Earth. If you have Google Earth installed, clicking the KML link should open the trail or point directly in Google Earth for viewing. This is the native file format used by Google Earth, but many other map applications can use and understand KML as well, so if you're not sure which one to download, KML is a good bet.


The GPX format stands for GPS Exchange - a free, open, XML format for exchanging GPS and map data. GPX is compatible with Google Earth, many other mapping programs, and most GPS devices (such as Garmin). Load the file directly into your GPS to help find your way on your next trip!


GeoJSON is a newer, lightweight data exchange format which can be used to quickly share map data and may have a smaller size than KML or GPX. Many professional mapping and GIS applications support the GeoJSON format.

About the Map


Base Layers

Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.

WNCOutdoors Base Layer

The WNCOutdoors Base layer is provided by WNCOutdoors.info. It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

Trail and Marker Overlays

Trail layers and downloadable data are all original works created by WNCOutdoors with guidance from a variety of sources, including ensembles of our own GPS tracks, user contributed GPS tracks, official maps and GIS data from government agencies, and field observations. WNCOutdoors data is made freely available under the Open Database License - you are free to copy and use it for any purpose under the terms of that license (summary).


  • Hover over a trail to see it highlighted. Helps to see start and end points for an individual trail.
  • Scroll and zoom the map before printing, and that view will persist into the printed image.
  • Click a trail for more details and to download it individually.

Trail Segments

Trails are often made up of several connecting paths which may have different characteristics, allowed uses, and seasons. This trail is divided into multiple segments as follows:

Walton Interpretive Trail - Parking to Split

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.27 mi

Walton Interpretive Trail - West Side of Loop to FS 86F

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.2 mi

FS 86F - Walton Trail

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.17 mi

FS 86F - FS 86 to Walton Tr. N.

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.1 mi

Walton Interpretive Trail - East Side of Loop to FS 86F

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.36 mi

Total Calculated Length: 1.1 mi

This value is derived from our underlying map data, and it may not match officially published information.



Average Rating: 5.0 (rated 1 times)

Rate It Now:


No comments yet.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be displayed, is kept completely private, and is only used to fight comment spam.

All fields are required.