Great Balsam Mountains

Great Balsam Mountains

Geobox | Range
name=Great Balsam Mountains

image_caption=Shining Rock and Cold Mountain as seen from Black Balsam Knob
country=United States
state=North Carolina
parent=Appalachian Mountains
geology=gneiss | geology1=| geology2=
period= | orogeny=
area_imperial= | length_imperial=21 | width_imperial=18
length_orientation= | width_orientation=
highest=Richland Balsam

The Great Balsam Mountains, or Balsam Mountains, are in the mountain region of western North Carolina, United States. [gnis|1004657|Great Balsam Mountains] [cite web |url= |title=Great Balsam Mountains |accessdate=2007-07-17 |format= |work=] The Great Balsams are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which in turn are a part of the Appalachian Mountains. The most famous peak in the Great Balsam range is Cold Mountain, which is the centerpiece of author Charles Frazier's bestselling novel "Cold Mountain".

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along its length and at Richland Balsam (milepost 431), the Parkway is at its highest point (6053 feet).


* Richland Balsam - 6410 feet
* Black Balsam Knob - 6214 feet
* Mount Hardy - 6120 feet
* Reinhart Knob - 6080 feet
* Grassy Cove Top - 6040 feet
* Tennent Mountain - 6040 feet
* Sam Knob - 6040 feet
* Cold Mountain - 6030 feet
* Shining Rock - 6040 feet
* Chestnut Bald( [ Mountain heights] )

Other Landmarks

* Balsam Gap
* Devil's Courthouse
* Judaculla Rock (see Tsul 'Kalu; photos [cite web |url= |title=Judaculla |accessdate=2007-07-19 |format= |work=] )
* Tanasee Bald (see Tsul 'Kalu)


The area consists of a transition forest between the coniferous boreal forests of northern climates and the mixed deciduous forests of temperate America.cite book |author=Sutton, Myron; Sutton, Ann |title=Eastern forests (Audubon Society Nature Guides)|publisher=Knopf |location=New York |year=1985 |pages= |isbn=0-394-73126-3 |oclc= |doi= p43]


The following trees are at higher elevations:
* Fraser Fir [cite web |url= |title=PLANTS Profile for Abies fraseri (Fraser fir) | USDA PLANTS |accessdate=2007-07-17 |format= |work=] ("Balsams" or "She balsams"). Forests of these trees appear black from a distance; however, these trees are declining due to the Balsam woolly adelgid.cite book |author=Frankenberg, Dirk |title=Exploring North Carolina's Natural Areas: Parks, Nature Preserves, and Hiking Trails |publisher=University of North Carolina Press |location=Chapel Hill |year=2000 |pages= |isbn=0-8078-4851-4 |oclc= |doi= p343]
* Red spruce [cite web |url= |title=PLANTS Profile for Picea rubens (red spruce) | USDA PLANTS |accessdate=2007-07-17 |format= |work=] ("He balsams"). The red spruce is distinguished from the Fraser Fir by having bark whose rosin cannot be milked (hence, "He balsams") and by having upright cones.


* Cartawba Rhododendron
* Flame azalea [cite web |url= |title=PLANTS Profile for Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea) | USDA PLANTS |accessdate=2007-07-18 |format= |work=]
* Mountain laurel


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