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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.

Length 3.5 mi Elevation gain 856 ft Route type Out & Back
Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky No dogs
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Getting There

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.

Parking is available in the Clingman's Dome parking lot. A small visitor center at Clingman's Dome provides restrooms and refreshments.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Information: (865) 436-1200

Take U.S. 441 to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. From U.S. 441, turn onto Clingman's Dome Road and follow to the parking lot at the end of the road. The trailhead is on the south side of the parking lot.

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Reviews (768)
Photos (1190)
Recordings (597)
Completed (1795)
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Russ D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 26, 2020
HikingRocky

Not a bad trail, not too busy as the clouds hampered all viewing. A nice wooded trail that should payoff on a sunnier day. But I am giving trails like this one and all saddle back trails a 1, tongue and cheek, /s. I am about 30lbs heavier than I want to be, with bad knees and terrible ankles. I want my REWARD for climbing anything and that is the trip down...

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Greg Cribbs
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Hiking
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Emma Highfield
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HikingGreat!MuddyRocky
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Brooke Beckert
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Hiking
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Shanna Taylor
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Jon E
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Hiking
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Dalton Boyd
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Hiking

Easy on the way down. Difficult on the way up but nothing too extreme. So peaceful down there! High grass

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AllTrails User
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HikingGreat!

Nice and short trail to the point of nice view!

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Nan Serino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2020
Hiking

Hike through a fir forest to a beautiful vista. My favorite hike so far. Down hill on the way there and uphill in the way back. Moderate hike.

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TL Hume
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Josh Stone
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HikingGreat!

Amazing trail. The trail is beautiful and the bald is amazing! Gorgeous views, plenty of room to spread out and take a rest and take in the landscape. We took our 7 and 12 year olds who are both experienced, but the return trip was a little challenging for the 7 year old. Lots of uphill for smaller legs but he handled it like a champ and the short distance is the saving grace. Will be doing this one again. Only downfall is having to park at Clingmans dome which is a cluster, but get there early and you will be better off!

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Aubrey Reno
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
HikingGreat!

This trail is underrated compared to other popular smoky trails. Done this one a few times, Super beautiful trail the whole time. First part is in the sun on the ridge with some rock scrambling and second half is in a beautiful forrest. The bald is beautiful if you’re looking to see 180 degree Mountain View’s without quite the crowd at cling mans dome. Rated moderate I imagine for the incline coming back

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Nathan Hokenson
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HikingGreat!
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Anurag Chowdhary
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Hiking
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Peter Farestad
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HikingGreat!

It was a fun trail to do, great view at the end to look forward too. We went early morning so it was not busy but while we were leaving it was packed. Definitely not a beginner hike.

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Justine Carbone
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Mark Felegyhazi
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Charles Haddad
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HikingGreat!
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Mark Bender Sr.
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Hiking
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Curtis Hatfield
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HikingGreat!

Trail well maintained. Cool to explore once down to the bald, good fall colors!

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Chrsitin Stacey
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Hiking

Really pretty views from this bald with a very easy hike

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Jay Jarrett-Morales
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
HikingRocky

Awesome trail if you enjoy a grassy bald. Mainly downhill on the hike out- 1.8 mi one way. Very rocky, lots of step-like rocks and roots to watch out for. A bit of a technical hike for anyone w an injury or who might be elderly/clumsy. Saw lots of kids out there who seemed to be doing great. Great trees, rocks and plants on either side of the trail. Some narrow parts but most of the trail is wide enough to hop off to the side and give other hikers their space. Some fun wooden walkways on the way. No real Mountain View’s til you reach the end but if you’re a forest or rock lover it’s heaven. The bald itself is beautiful even in a cloudy, foggy day. Lots of room to spread out and enjoy the sites. The hike back could be strenuous for the elderly, the super young or anyone injured. It’s mainly uphill w a few flat sections but moderate for the average adult. Parking was a nightmare but once you’re parked the trailhead is easy to find (between the bulletin board and the paved trail to Clingmans dome I believe) It was packed since it’s October but once we got halfway in we had the trail to ourselves. Just a stunning hike start to finish with an amazing payoff at the end. One of my favorite hikes for sure and a must see at GSMNP.

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Ronald Martel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking

Nice short hike. A lot of people. Views from the Clingmans Dome parking lot are better. The trail and bald smelled like some people relieved them selves close off trail without using proper cat holes. Hmmm so too many people. Overall not recommended.

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Mitchell McClure
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Steve Ellis
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Road biking
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Savannah Wehde
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HikingGreat!

Awesome trail with a great view at the end to pause and look at the view and have a snack before heading out! My husband and I just finished this trail and I’m 9 months pregnant I anyone can do it! Initially it is downhill and then uphill again on the way back out. Also, lots of stair like steps so be cautious if you have bad knees! Parking lot is very busy! Leave an extra 20-30 mins if you want to be in the parking lot!

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Olivia Wright
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Hiking

Trail was well maintained and the views from Andrews Bald were AMAZING. We started the hike right at sunrise so there were very little people on the trail. Highly recommend this as a shorter hike. I’m an inexperienced hiker and was able to complete the hike in a little over two hours.

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Ryan Smith
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HikingGreat!
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