Andrews Bald Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 806' 246 m
Descent: -807' -246 m
High: 6,276' 1,913 m
Low: 5,722' 1,744 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
Current trail conditions
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“A popular hike to a Smokies bald with great views and wildflowers in June or July.”— David Hitchcock
Family Friendly Even though there are some steep sections of this trail, it's only 1.8 miles out to the bald. It offers great views of the surrounding mountains and should be easy enough for the kids to enjoy.
As you follow the Forney Ridge Trail, at .1 mile, the trail takes a sharp left while the Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail continues straight to the Appalachian Trail. You'll descend through a red spruce and Fraser fir forest, although most of the firs are dead due to the infestation of the balsam wooly adelgid insect. You'll notice these dead trees throughout the Clingmans Dome area. The rocky and root strewn trail continues to descend until it levels out along the ridge. Throughout this section of the trail, various wildflowers bloom in the spring and then later in the summer and raspberries and blackberries ripen.
At 1.1 miles, the Forney Creek Trail breaks off to the right as it makes its way to the Lakeshore Trail. Our trail, Forney Ridge Trail, continues straight at the junction. The trail can be very muddy and eroded in places, so the Friends of the Smokies have put in log trails in sections to help combat this problem. Utilize these elevated logs to help keep your feet dry and preserve the trail. After a level stretch, the trail climbs steeply back into a forest of spruce trees. Once the trail levels out, it drops down toward Andrews Bald where views of the Smokies open up before you.
You have reached the destination of the hike. Andrews Bald provides great views of the surrounding mountains. The large, open, grassy meadow is a great place to sit and enjoy lunch or a snack before you continue hiking. Flame azaleas and Catawba rhododendrons bloom in late June, putting on a spectacular show of color for wildflower enthusiasts. Once you've enjoyed the views and a snack, return to your car via the trail that you traveled.
Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park