Andrews Bald Trail

MODERATE 339 reviews

Andrews Bald Trail is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cherokee, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding 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. 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
18 days ago

Hiked this trail on a weekday starting at about 8am and only saw two other hikers until we were near the end on our return. The trail is well maintained and very pretty through the woods. We ended up with a clear, sunny day so we had good views from the bald. Probably not worth it if it's a foggy day. This trail was on the easy side of moderate for us, but we do a fair amount of hiking and the ascent on the way back would be difficult for those not accustomed. There are better hikes within the park -- we intended this as a warm up for some friends who aren't as frequent of hikers -- so if your time is limited, you might want to go with something else

hiking
19 days ago

This trail was ok. I probably wouldn’t do it again but glad I did it once. The trail to us was high moderate to hard. Lots of uphill climbing on the way back out. Few places with nice scenery, lots of butterflies. Once we made it to the Bald we trie to eat lunch but the bugs were terrible (like small flies). The view was hazy and not very pretty to us (there’s much better hikes m/views, especially for the work you put into this hike) and it was HOT, no shade at the Bald. Good thing was the trail was very shaded and cool since it’s a higher elevation. Recommend to see once.

Turned left at trailhead to Clingmans to walk Andrews Bald. Had the trail to ourselves at 5:30PM, weather was 63 and dry. Great views, well worth the detour. Tool the clingmans dome bypass on the way back - which runs parallel to the paved road leading up to the tower. Came out about 200ft from the tower. All in all 6.1m. Highly Recommended.

hiking
21 days ago

Great out and back. Good mix of elevation. Bring snacks and bug spray. Shaded most of the time. The clearing is really something else.

hiking
21 days ago

Pretty hike, lots of moss and plenty of interesting mushrooms along the way. Pretty good views from the bald, although the growth obstructs some of the views to the east.

Well maintained trail with great views at Andrews Bald and at Clingmans dome.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiked this trail last summer on my honeymoon. although some people suggested that the view wasn't worth the hike ... the ENTIRE hike was scenic and beautiful.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! Going down to the bald is a pretty moderate hike, mostly due to rocky conditions. But coming back is the challenge. It’s pretty steep and rocky. Beautiful photo opportunities along the way. We started at 8:30 am and it was 50 degrees and near gale force winds. Pack accordingly. We only saw two hikers going in and many when we were coming out. For an added challenge, take the bypass trail up to the Appalachian Trail and from there to Cilngman’s Dome.

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike but it is all downhill on the way there and all uphill on way back. If it is overcast i wouldn’t go.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This is a rocky trail that leads out to open path. Going down was much longer than going up due to the overall downgrade of rockiness. Lots of bees in the Meadows in the summertime. Steps are mostly made of stone

hiking
1 month ago

Short, quick trail with a beautiful view at the end if you have a clear day. Downhill most of the way to the bald, so it gives you a workout on your way back up. View from the parking area is really beautiful too.

hiking
1 month ago

A lot of beautiful scenery on this trail. Great payoff the views are amazing. Parking can be difficult

hiking
1 month ago

A great trail. Lots of interesting scenery and view at the end is great. Decent amount of people. Parking is hard to find at the times we were there

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

awesome trail I would rate easy for people that hike alot.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was awesome, we started around 830 this morning, the mist on the trail reminded me of a ghost forest. The trail was I. great shape with the stairs going down on first part. The bald area was beautiful, not alot of views today due to cloud coverage, nevertheless it was one I will definitely be doing again this fall.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail to hike when everywhere else is 90*. We started in the morning 60°. Beautiful and very quiet. Trailer was very nice. Beautiful scenery.

hiking
2 months ago

Short trail with great activities around (The Bald and Dome) which makes this worth the drive/hike. Hike to the Bald is simple, the climb back to the parking lot and then onto the Dome (especially here) is extremely steep. All in all good hike to embrace the Smoky views.

hiking
2 months ago

I completed this hike solo after Clingmans Dome. I started around 9AM and I’m glad I did. There is a pretty steep downhill decline and then it flattens out a bit. I only saw one couple pass me on the way out, and had the entire BEAUTIFUL view to myself. I didn’t see another person until about a quarter of the way back to the trailhead. Then I saw a few dozen people pass me. It was a beautiful quiet trail that I would recommend to anyone. By far it was my favorite hiking view so far.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is steep down at the beginning but not too bad. The view at the end is pretty spectacular. It may not be quite As amazing as the Clingmans peak view, but well worth it due to the privacy you get here compared to the top of Clingmans

hiking
2 months ago

The hike down to Andrew's bald is mostly shaded until you get to the bald. The flame Azaleas are past peak. The return is somewhat strenuous but rather then merely returning to the parking lot we continued up the Clingmans dome bypass to the AT then turned right at the signs to bring us up to the Observation tower which turned out to be a much better choice then trying to walk up through the masses of humanity ascending the paved trail. We only saw 4 people on the bypass . All in all it extended to hike to about 6.25 Miles and a climb of a little over 1000'

hiking
2 months ago

Everyone should go to Andrews Bald at least once. Beautiful foliage during each season.

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic hike. You can hike the dome with the masses and see the mountains or hike through the forest and experience the wilderness of the mountains. The views are every bit as spectacular as from CD, but without all the humanity.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

This was a very enjoyable 2 hours with friends! The trail is covered about 80% of the route which made for cooler temps. The way out was relatively easy as there are many downhill parts whereas the way back is a bit more strenuous. There were a number of families on the trail. We did not notice any wild flowers. The top was a large landing with bits of park views! Really fun addition to the Clingmans Dome stop, especially if you already have a parking spot!

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