Gregory Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald

HARD 69 reviews

Gregory Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald is a 11.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Townsend, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

11.6 miles
3,359 feet
Out & Back




horseback riding

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

7 days ago

This is one heck of a hard hike! 13.4 miles in and out. Saw a rattler around mile 4 and had to wait awhile for him to move on. On the way back saw a bunch of snake holes in the ground for about a mile stretch. Around the same spot as the rattler. They must really like that location. Dodged a few bears along the way. Thought we were only gonna be doing 12.2 miles, so the extra mile and some change surprised us. Took about 7.5 hours round trip. This is definitely not for the weak of heart. My husband, I and 2 kids made it the whole way. Only saw one other woman on the trail, everyone else was an adult male. No other kids. Lightly traveled, maybe 8 hikers total today. View was great, flowers were almost completely out of bloom, glad we saw a few. Would have been a great place to camp overnight. Checked this one off the bucket list. Would not go back unless flowers were in full bloom.

8 days ago

Great hike! I did not think it was as difficult as others have stated. Take a lunch and enjoy the view from the bald.

8 days ago

Great hike! We encountered bear, snakes, deer, etc...great wildlife hike. It rained so we did not get to see the view from the bald (still worth it). I hiked with my two boys, 11 & 14 yrs old. It challenged them but they loved it.

21 days ago

The azaleas were really pretty but don’t go when there’s a chance of rain unless you wanna get soaked and not see the view.

28 days ago

Lots of roots to trip on and not much to see as you go up as far as overlooks. Steady incline and the azaleas are amazing. Worth the hike, it was a workout!

28 days ago

Hard hike, beautiful at the bottom and the top. Azaleas in bloom in June.

28 days ago

Nice hike. Azaleas were in bloom so very pretty at top. Gradual elevation gain of around 3,300 feet makes it a moderate hike.

29 days ago

Wonderful hike in the back of Cades cove with views of the valley. First half of the trip follows the stream until the campsite, then a steady uphill climb to the top. Flame azaleas in mid June are worth the trip.

1 month ago

A gorgeous hike. It starts off next to a rushing creek with many bridges and waterbeds to cross (wear boots- almost wore my sneakers to save my older boots the wear and tear, but I was thankful I opted boots once I hit a few spots where you're forced into shallow mud or water.) After you leave the rushing waters it pretty much a gradual uphill with some areas steeper than others but there was usually always a slight reprieve somewhere. The whole route in general is fairly smooth. At the very end toward the bald I would say it was the steepest and had some loose rock but nothing serious. I loved the different environments the trail enters and even with a packed parking lot, the trail was secluded and we rarely came across anyone. Overall, I would say if you are in okay shape (can walk on the treadmill for extended amounts of time at above a 10 incline) then this is actually a moderate trail. One last thing.. LEAVE EARLY TO GET THERE!! I did not look at the route to drive in.. did not realize it makes you take the one way loop through Cades Cove... so if you leave late.. you will arrive very very late ( and frustrated). Also the Azaleas are blooming right now!

2 months ago

A great hike with an amazing view. Walking up a creek/spring along a couple points at the beginning of the trail. A solid elevation gain with some roots and mostly leaves and dirt. The view is wonderful! More secluded and not as used. Easy to find. A must!

3 months ago

One of my favorite trails in the Smokeys. Very tough and relatively long which means only the hardcore show up. It's getting harder and harder to find lightly trafficked trails in the Smokeys. This is still one of them. Not much to see "view-wise" until the very top.

8 months ago

This is a very difficult hike. Lots of roots and rocks on the trail. My wife sprained her knee on the way back down from the bald. She was in agony for the last four miles. I'd recommend taking an ace bandage to wrap a sprained knee or ankle if the situation arises.

8 months ago

It was a beautiful view from Gregory's Bald. This hike isn't for beginners, you need to be in serious shape. The hike to campsite 12 is moderately difficult but the remainder of the way to the Bald is strenuous and difficult. The view is breathtaking and worth the hike but we aware it isn't an easy hike, I think it is harder than Mt LeConte from Alum Caves trail.

9 months ago

Did this yesterday WOW just under 3100 feet of climbing but I managed to finish in 4 1/2 hours. I was huffin and puffin like and old steam engine by the time I got to the top. Well worth the effort.

10 months ago

Very difficult hike. Was definitely worth the views and the azaleas were in bloom. I will never forget this hike.

10 months ago

Unreal Hike took me and my girlfriend 6 hours and was well worth it. At the end of the hike 50yds away from the car we saw a bear 10 feet from us was a crazy experience. The top of the peak of the mountain is well worth the hike. Bring something to protect yourself from bears.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Very tough but rewarding hike!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

When they say for experienced hikers that is what they mean. It was a great trail but just starting out hiking probably should have picked another one. Views are breathtaking worth the hike

Monday, June 19, 2017

I had always wanted to do this trail and decided to do it with some other folks to see the azaleas in bloom. Other reviews are spot on and that there are no views until you reach the top. However the stunning overlook of Cades Cove is worth the hard effort. If the azaleas are in bloom it makes it all the more worthwhile. This trail is pretty much up up up. The incline started slower than I expected. Most of the elevation is gained probably within a 4 mile span and not spread out over the 5 1/2 miles. However the trail is still quite beautiful moving through dense forest and rhododendron. There are moments of popping out in the sunlight where a recent tornado took trees down.

horseback riding
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Love the flaming azalea in Summer! But be warned the yellow jackets that come out of the ground on the trail are fierce. Park service won't do anything about them even if you report where they are.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Perfect place to spend an afternoon! Definitely start early, and bring water. And get ready for the views, they're unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Difficult day hike. Deep woods hike that is at a constant climb with no views along the way. Hiked this in June of 2015 on a 87 degree day. The azaleas were beautiful and the views from the bald are stunning. It was worth the climb. Take plenty of water and start early.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Extremely hard hike. Starts out easy as others have said but becomes incredibly hard with extreme elevation gain. The last bit before the bald was almost too much. Definitely worth it at the end as the bald is a huge and beautiful place to relax with excellent views. Definitely do this hike!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Amazing view. Azaleas were not at peak but still many colors to see. Tough hike. Bring lots of water. Can't beat having a picnic on top of a mountain!! Will definitely do again in the fall!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

*No facilities at the trail head. Make a stop at the CC Visitors Center before making your way to the trail*

Reading over the other reviews, below....there is nothing more I can really add. They've all hit the key points.
-NOT for beginners. Steep trail, 90% all up hill at a steady grade. Elevation gain of 3000 ft. Your legs and body WILL be sore, when you come off the trail

June 19th, the azaleas are no longer in their peak...however, there are plenty of flowers still on the bushes an the views are absolutely gorgeous. Still plenty of photo opportunities for the azalea lovers.
As of this date, the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains are working on getting a log foot bridge over the water, at one spot. Right now, you must rock hop across the water, to continue onto the trail.
Minus some roots and rocks...the trail is in very good shape.
Three hours to hike up, 2 hours to hike down, and an hour to sit in the gorgeous tall grasses of the bald, and RELAX, before coming off the mountain. You will be very hungry by the time you reach the make sure to bring a good snack or lunch. This beautiful area is heaven, to take a well deserved break and rest your feet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

First off, this trail is about 11.8 miles round-trip. Second, this has a reputation as one of the toughest hikes in the Smokies, and having hiked it I can attest that this rep is well-earned. The first couple of miles aren't too bad, but it then gets extremely difficult, with heavy, nearly interminable elevation gain. Basically this is not a trail for beginners.

However, please stick with this trail, because the end point is amazing. Before you get to the bald, you'll have some of the best views in all of the park, but once you're on top of the bald the views are breathtaking! Unlike other great vantage points (Jump-Off, et al), you're literally in a giant field, so you have room to put a blanket on the ground and picnic, or sunbathe, or even play frisbee (seriously, it's massive space). Second, while this is not the highest point in the Smokies, you can still see almost all of the park from here; there's virtually no obstructions

As difficult as this hike is, I believe everyone should do it at least once in their life. I'm going back in mid-June, when the flaming azaleas are supposed to be in full bloom and are evidently a must-see

Monday, June 15, 2015

Great hike but be ready for some substantial elevation gain!
This is a really great hike but it will challenge the average day hiker. 5.5 miles gaining over 500 ft/mile in elevation will test your level of fitness (assuming you keep a reasonable pace).
Some excellent old growth forests along the way....not many lookout points on the way up unfortunately. A beautiful mountain stream which you cross twice on well done foot bridge logs. On my hike, the trail was in reasonable condition, some areas of washing and erosion but very manageable. No climing of any kind required. On the accent, the last half mile is tough, prob about a 25-30 degree incline and somewhat rocky....but you are rewarded at the top with a magnificent view of the Smoky and Rich Mountain range from Gregory Bald...and in June..the wild azaieas are unbelieveable. It looks like an old home place that has been abandoned.
Start this hike as early as you can so that you can spend plenty of time up on the bald. These oddites (balds) in this part of the world are truly something to see and experience.
Happy Hiking!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

This will be one of my all time favorite hikes in the park. This hike is a tough one though so prepare accordingly. Elevation gain of 3000 feet on the trail means you are steadily climbing up,up that mountain. Mid June is definitely the time for this trail. On June 7th only the flame orange azaleas had bloomed. There are thousands at the top so you will be rewarded for your effort. Also the view from the top of the mountain is incredible. Lots of blueberry bushes in this soil. Would expect bear activity later in the season when they ripen. There is a stream crossing in the last .25 miles of this trail. We stopped to plunge our feet in the cold water. So refreshing. It was a nice reward at the end of our hike

Monday, November 10, 2014

Had a big storm a week ago, I apparently was the first one up the Ridge trail since then because the only tracks on the snow covered sections of the trail were mine & a bear (was cool! )

There is one stream you have to ford, it was cold, but not bad. Just below knees. Amazed I did not see a single bear (but over 60 different bear scat along the way - took pics of every 3rd one as a joke)

Horses share parts of the trail up to the top, so it can get muddy/slippery.

As others have said, utterly beautiful views (and I had cell service on top!)

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