Andrews Bald Trail is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bryson City, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 3.5 miles Elevation Gain: 856 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

This hike covers 1.8 miles of the 5.6-mile Forney Ridge Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike is from the Clingman's Dome parking lot to Andrew's Bald, which has views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Although Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed seasonal typically from early December through late March, and whenever weather conditions require. The Forney Ridge Trailhead is at the end of the parking lot at the end of Clingman's Dome Road. The first mile or so of the trail proceeds downhill through woods. Portions of the trail here are very rocky, which can make for difficult hiking. The trail then heads uphill through woods to Andrew's Bald, which is 1.8 miles from the trailhead. Andrew's Bald is one of several "balds" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which are so named because they are mountaintops that are not covered by trees, but are instead covered by grass, rhododendron, and mountain laurel. From Andrew's bald, there are panoramic views of the southern half of the park, including Fontana Lake. Wildlife sightings, including black bears, are also possible. Hikers can return to Clingman's Dome to complete the 3.6-mile hike or continue down the Forney Ridge Trail. The Forney Ridge trail continues nearly four more miles down the ridge, however, making for a very steep return trip.

hiking
muddy
1 hour ago

We enjoyed this trail but Idk if I’d do it again but the views at the end were amazing. After ref nearly 2 mile hike out, we followed the trail to the top of the mountain and then caught the AT over to the tower, that was my favorite part. It was very muddy down on the Andrews Bald part of the trail but the forest was just gorgeous and so peaceful.

hiking
2 days ago

Fantastic hike. Very different from the other hikes we have done in GSMNP as it is rockier and through more pines. Reminded us of Colorado hikes. Started at 10am and returned to the car by noon. Probably one of our favorite short hikes we did while in GSMNP.

hiking
bugs
4 days ago

Hiked on 6/2. The trail wasn’t too crowded, though parking was very limited at the end of the Clingmans Dome road. Nice short hike with exceptional views at the end. Would absolutely do again.

hiking
6 days ago

Has become one of our absolute favorite hikes. The evergreen scent will take your breath away as will the views from the bald. Will go back time and time again.

hiking
6 days ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this trail! The view is beautiful but not unlike the one at the parking area at Clingman’s Dome. However, the forest was the most beautiful with all the mosses covering rocks and fallen trees - I called it the enchanted forest.

hiking
7 days ago

Great trail! It was moderately inclined coming back out but not to bad. The views were amazing. Perfect day trip hike!!

hiking
9 days ago

How is the parking for this trail?

hiking
13 days ago

Great view at the Bald

Get here early. This is one of the more popular trails in the park due to road proximity and length with a view Every year stupidity grows in this park. Today a young-ish couple had their dog on full display on the trail with no remorse. As more people with no respect show up, it forces the rest of us deeper into the park, which I guess is ok

13 days ago

The road is now open to get to this trailhead. A little muddy but I liked the way they have maintained the trail. Lovely view from the top!

hiking
bugs
muddy
13 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

Beautiful

rocky
washed out
25 days ago

hiking
rocky
26 days ago

Love this trail, not very difficult, and the 360 view at the end is stunning! Just of note, due to covid19 clingmans dome road is closed but you can hike the road and then hike the trail to Andrews bald. The road is 7 miles one way. To walk the road, hike to Andrews bald, and walk the road back, it’ll take 8-9 hours so be prepared. And with the road closed, we saw a bear!

hiking
closed
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! My wife and I hiked it last year and we loved every minute of it. The trail itself was very well kept and there are many small vistas along the way. The trail was so nice we were surprised when we made it to the destination so quickly. The bald is beautiful and a unique experience. Be aware though the trailhead starts from the Clingmans dome parking lot and it is seasonally closed until March 31st due to high elevation.

hiking
2 months ago

Visited last year

hiking
3 months ago

I wasn’t too crazy about this hike. It wasn’t too hard or long, but I just didn’t enjoy this as much as some others. There was a pretty large group of my family that went all ranging from their late 40’s with the youngest at 4 yrs old. You access the trail from Clingman’s Dome. The whole hike is shaded from the forest until you reach the look out. If you do this hike, I would recommend waiting until the Azaleas are in bloom. Maybe if they were, I would have found this hike more rewarding.

hiking
6 months ago

It took my girlfriend and I approximately an hour to hike from the parking lot to the Bald. I thought the trail was in really good condition. The view was really nice.

6 months ago

excellent short hike. I arrived to the park in the afternoon from my drive in and did this along with Clingmans Dome. I think Andrew's Bald takes the cake. Easy hike, pretty empty at the end of November, and what great views. Cold Mountain in North Carolina was on fire when I did this hike and it was a surreal sight.

Hiked from the clingman dome trailhead to the top and then down to Andrew Bald along the Forney ridge trail then back to the parking lot for a total of 5.4 miles. Great trail. Well marked and taken care of. Overall excellent hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike. The trail was very well maintained. In the fall months you definitely want to arrive early as parking is a nightmare. Traffic can be backed up 1-2 miles on the road to get there. Great views once you reach the bald. Completed total hike in 2 hrs.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Just an ok trail. Lots of steps/rocks and seemed like forever to get to the end. The view was just okay, especially after doing Alum Cave to Mt LeConte. Lots of trees in the way and was a bit cloudy, but overall good for a moderate short hike

hiking
7 months ago

GET THERE EARLY!!! We got to the trailhead at 8 am and parking was a breeze. Ascended Clingmans Dome then went out to the Bald. Beautiful trip though be preparred for a long uphill finish on the way back, but leaving the area round noon, parking was backed up over a full mile, so again, COME EARLY!

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Beautiful views at the end but many layers on and off when it’s cold out. Not for kids.

hiking
7 months ago

they have done tons of work on this trail. it look beautiful!! it is all down hill to the viewing area. we took a 30 min break laying in the cool grass befor the hike uphill all the way back.

hiking
7 months ago

This was a great first hike in the Smokies to get our 6 month old granddaughter some time in her hiking pack. It was not strenuous and pretty quick with a fair view at the end. I liked that it was the same trailhead as Clingmans dome and we hiked there on the trail instead of taking the road when we finished Andrew’s Bald. It is cool to be on a Tennessee’s highest point and our 6 month old got her 1 st state highpoint.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Great hike with a great view.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

It was an awesome trail experience this morning. Took a lot longer than these people are saying. Very rocky and up and down the whole way. There was no view when we got there due to fog, but it was fun and a good challenge for us to complete.

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