Silers Bald and Forney Creek Loop Trail

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Silers Bald and Forney Creek Loop Trail is a 18.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cherokee, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 18.6 miles Elevation Gain: 5,216 feet Route Type: Loop




horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching





wild flowers



washed out

no dogs

Views from the AT and cascades highlight this backpack trip Your hike will begin on the Forney Ridge Trail but after 0.1 mi take Clingmans Bypass Trail to the right. This trail will intersect with the AT in 0.5 mi then turn left on AT. From Mt Buckley you will descend over 1000' but have your camera ready for there are many fine views over the next 3.8 mi. Turn left on Welch Ridge Trail. This will provide easy ridge walking and keep an eye to your left in the blueberry patches and you might be lucky enough to see a few bears enjoying this flat grassy area. Just pass the Hazel Creek Trail is Jonas Creek Trail to the left. From here you descend over 2000' and before reaching Campsite #70 (home for the night) you may have a few creek crossing to rock hop. Day 2 will be a test as you gain over 4000' in the next 8.5 mi from Forney Creek Trail to Forney Ridge Trail. It is very scenic with streams and cascades so take your time and enjoy. When you finally intersect with the Forney Ridge Trail turn right for the last climb out.

8 months ago

(8.22-24) We made a lovely 2 night, 3 day trek out of this loop. Day 1, started at Clingmans Dome around 11am and worked our way down to site #69. Hardly saw anyone on the trail this day, probably because weather forecast was scattered thunderstorms. Few creek crossings. Nothing crazy. Bring water sandals/shoes! First night we had an intense thunderstorm- just make sure to avoid setting up tent under widow-makers or directly in the line of fire beneath a slope. We faired well at the left campsite by the trail and creek. Day 2 was by far the most challenging, about five creek crossings and more once you get to Jonas and all in quick succession. #69 to Silers is roughly over 8.2 miles, and almost a 3000 ft climb in elevation! Ridge line is gorgeous though, all in bloom. Highly suggest gators during rainy months to keep water from trickling down into your boots from the wet brush. Siler’s Bald shelter was empty so we had the whole area to ourselves. Day 3 was a cake walk compared to 2. Very rewarding, gradual, picturesque trail back to the Clingmans Dome lot. Many hikers this way, as it’s a very accessible! Great loop, highly recommend, just be prepared for some gnarly work outs.

9 months ago

Beautiful 3 day, 2 night backpack trip with some amazing and diverse views. Highly recommend bringing gaiters and water shoes, as there are plenty of creeks to cross and some thick vegetation which, if it rains, will soak your boots.

Sat Sep 08 2018

Took Forney Creek down, camp 70 was a great spot! The hike up to sliders bald and mount buckly was difficult but so worth it. The views are amazing. Great 2 days in the smokies!

Thu Sep 06 2018

Made a 3-night, 4-day loop of it. Day 1 - Left from Clingman's Dome and stayed first night at #68. Pretty steep down with a few water crossings. Two sites to chose from at #68, both decent and right on the river. Day 2 - Several river crossings, some waist high water and a little worrisome, but overall a beautiful hike. Stayed at #70. Day 3 - Hiked up Jonas Creek Trail, to Welch Ridge to stay at Silers Bald shelter. Up-hill the whole way and makes for a long hike, but pretty good views the last few miles. Day 4 - Hiked the AT out back to CD.

Mon Aug 06 2018

It was a good trail, but I would not recommend it for anyone’s first time backpacking or camping. It had rained the few days prior to me and my gf doing it and the creeks were so full and crossing them was pretty dangerous. But overall a great trip. Plan for it to take 2-2.5 full days to complete the trail if it has rained recently.

Sat Jul 21 2018

The trail is well maintained, so expect to do this fairly quickly for a 21 miler (did it in about 8hours). It was cloudy and rainy, so that might have affected my experience, but I felt it was all that great. The best view points are at the begining, doing the whole loop is a bit excessive.

Mon Feb 19 2018

A decent weekend loop. The Forney Creek trail portion follows an old logging road, which is a little uninspiring if you’re backpacking. The creeks are pretty, and the terrain is nicely varied from the high ridge-top hiking along the AT to the hollows along Jonas Creek.

Sun Jul 23 2017

What a great trail! if you are looking for a good trail to prepare yourself for a multiweek trail hike, this is it. I would not advice anyone with minimal or intermediate experience to take on this trail. this trail will really test your limits and your gear to the fullist. Before you go out also check to see how much rainfall has come down the past week. the creeks you will cross will swell up even with the slightest rain. (You cross about 18 creeks in all I believe). Once you get to the last 8 miles your gonna be climbing straight up the whole time. stay hydrated and energized. all in all it was a awesome trail and very rewarding once you finish!

Tue May 30 2017

I want to give this loop 5 stars. We got rained on for 48 hours straight. The creeks swelled and made the crossings damn near impassible. Brutal boots off conditions in fast water. This hike tested my limits and my gear. If they're calling for rain, do yourself a favor and reschedule this one.

Thu Apr 13 2017

What a great loop! We got to the parking lot around 12 noon and took a stroll to the DOME to enjoy the view and warm up our legs a little. There was still some some snow on the ground which made the first mile a little tricky but as soon as we really started to drop in elevation the snow was all gone. We continued to back country camp site 69 which was a great place to stay. We had multiple river crossing and were ready to stop by the time we reached camp. Camp 69 has a couple places to hang but we set up camp to the left close to the river. We used the fire ring and the area close to it to prepare meals and hang out. There are two bear bag hangs. The next day we continued down hill wth two or three more river crossings before reaching camp site 70. This would be a great place to stay if you have a tent and or get on the trail a little earlier than we did. From camp site 70 you will head UP HILL for most of the day. It was a brutal day but when we finally got to the ridge line it was all worth it. We finally intersected the AT with our shelter about 1.7 away and a little over 4 to the parking lot. When we got to the shelter it was VERY crowded and we decided to push it back to the car and get a Wendy's Frosty. We had a great time and this loop trail was physically challenging for my 16 year old daughter high school soccer player and my self but the one on one time with her was well worth it!

Tue Oct 18 2016

fun over all and amazing views to be seen

Sun Oct 16 2016

truly beyond experience/expert level. even as an experienced hiker this will test your endurance.

Tue May 10 2016

Breathtaking scenery! I higky recommend getting some experience before hiking this and plan for rest time the next day. The steep trails and rocky terrain made it rough, but so worth it when you get to the bottom. We stayed at 68A and the water slide is awesome. The water was freezing even in July! If you can get there early enough, there is a good spot to set up right on the water that gives you a little more privacy. Worth the sore muscles in every way!!!!

Mon Mar 21 2016

One of my favorite trails in Appalachian country. Started by going up to Clingman's Dome then took a portion of the AT until you hit a couple trails leading to this one. Absolutely stunning scenery wise, incredible workout as well. Did two nights backpacking in here. Didn't complete the entire loop, but did plenty of exploring on and off trail. Wildlife was incredible but sparse, sitting in a canopy of trees for two days was so rewarding with the steep inclines and declines. Highly recommended, though this is not an easy trail by any means. Be prepared when hiking or backpacking here.

Thu May 31 2012

This is an extremely beautiful trail that plunges you right into the virgin steep terrain of the GSMNP. This is a very difficult trail even for experienced hikers. Please take caution attempting this trail. There are very steep grades and if you lost your footing on a lot of parts, you could have a steep and fatal fall.

15 days ago

17 days ago

Wed Aug 22 2018

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Tue Feb 07 2017