AAA Editor Notes
Richland Balsam, near Milepost 431, 12 mi. n.e. of Balsam, N.C., is the highest point on the parkway, with a peak of 6,410 feet. A 1.5-mile walking trail winds to the summit of Richland Balsam Mountain, passing through a spruce and fir woodland that is native to climates usually found 1,000 miles north. Trail pamphlets describe this plant community, which is a living relic of the last ice age.