Explore the most popular hiking trails near Topton with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Easy walking. The north end is more scenic than the south. At present the ends are closed to through traffic which is good because vehicles raise dust. Nice waterfalls at the north end. Abundant wildflowers

Visited the Wayah Bald Tower and what a sight from overlooks to trails to wildflowers. An on-site bathroom and parking area. Great mountain vistas to view.

We enjoyed the hike. It was a steady gradual climb up to the waterfall. We turned around there, so our hike was only 6.5 miles. It was peaceful and we didn’t run into anyone else. The trail was more of a road, but it didn’t matter we were out and enjoyed ourselves.

Panoramic views.

I just hiked this trail all the way to the N.O.C. Did it in two days my first time hiking any off the Appalachian trail. It was amazing

3 months ago

My family did this hike in Oct of 2017. The kids were 5 and 3 at the time and had no issues walking on the trail but because of them we only went about a mile in. Despite the name of the hike most of what we hiked was not along the river and that was disappointing. There was one spot we managed to get down to the river but otherwise it was a trail through the woods, but a nice one and scenic, despite a large pipeline that is visible at times.

We hiked this section the last weekend of April, and while the daytime temperatures were wonderful for hiking, the temps plummeted at night down to around 30°F. We hiked the trail to the telico bald and back tracked to a camp at Burningtown Gap. If the weather is windy, I would suggest either stopping at the shelter between telico and burningtown, or pass through the burningtown gap and head down to the camp pad with the water source at lick log gap. Since the fires hit this area in 2016, there’s not a lot of foliage yet, so bring some sunscreen. The majority of the hike from Wayah to burningtown is downhill, but you have to make a considerable climb to get to telico, so I suggest stopping for lunch at burningtown if you haven’t already.

The car may of hike more than I did that day. Short hike from the parking lot to the tower. I am excited to go back and hike down to the spring this time.

Excellent hike with lots of shelters on the way with opportunities to replenish water. There's a short side trail towards Tellico Gap up to Rocky Top that provides good views if isn't too hazy. Very short and worth the detour. Would highly recommend this hike, especially trying to catch sunrise at Wayah.

Beautiful drive up to wayah. If you plan to hike, you'll have to choose some of the side Trails once you get there. You drive straight up to the bald.

Monday, April 03, 2017

view from Siler Bald is amazing!!! Did this hike with four kids age 3-10, they all loved it!

Came up last summer was an awesome view after spending the day in the Smokies hiking drive up was awesome, great views.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Not the best in the area but not the worst either. Good elevation and climb, decent weather today 65 and partly Cloudy.

Not a bad trail, did some sections and love the lake views. Happy trails!

Decent trail. Some parts on gravel road. Outlook on lake is awesome.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Was super foggy so the views were pretty blocked, but overall an enjoyable hike. Went up to the wesser bald fire tower as well, felt so high up but couldn't see more than 10 feet off the tower.

good walk. trail not maintained very well. nice for all ages

Friday, July 01, 2016

The hike was amazing well worth the trip 58 degree weather to start the day and 360 views at the top.

Just did start of trail to water tower. Great for dogs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The hike up to the bald is worth it, but a little confusing for a novice. When you hit the beginning of the bald after a sign for "snowbird gap" on the AT, go up all the way to the top (not well marked, but obvious) for great 360 degree views! I did this one with the nearby Rufus Morgan to make a decent day of it. My dog did it without issue as well.

on Old River Road

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Beautiful scenery along the river

mountain biking
Friday, October 09, 2015

It's straight up hill if you go left to start out. It's very fun but it's a rigorous "climb" (t swift). The view wasn't spectacular but it was decent.


Monday, May 04, 2015

If you go out on Wayah Rd about 9 miles you will see a brown sign on your right that says Wayah Tower, immediately on your left is a gravel road that takes you to the parking area. From the parking area to the top of the Bald is 2 miles, mostly uphill but not too difficult. Coming back to the parking area is downhilll and only takes about an hour and a half.

Great views on top of the bald and the hike up is very nice, marked by white blazes and not more than easy to moderate. Great 4 - 5 hour hike for almost anyone.

Nice trail with great views at the top. The trail can be a bit tricky to find, there are several trails in the area and near the pull off. There is no designated parking lot, at least that I found, just a few sections on the road you can pull off on that fit a few cars. From the road this trail it is on the same side as the sign marking the Appalachian Trail, and to take this hike you follow the trail going north. The entire trail is marked with AT white blazes, and most of the trail is well maintained. There were a few fallen trees (Jan 2015), that required some climbing and some of the trail was slick with ice, but nothing super dangerous. The hiking is moderate, nothing is too steep, lots of flat sections, mostly lots of small ups and downs, though it is 8 miles total so takes 4-5 hours to complete. There are restrooms at the top of the bald, an added perk. Definitely a great place to bring lunch!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wayah Gap has a parking area on the left (westbound) but no signage (June 2014). The FS road to Wayah Bald is on the right, look left 50 feet later and there is a gravel road to a small parking lot for 6-7 cars. Just above parking lot there are a few stone picnic tables - then the junction with the AT trail.
We combine this with a northbound hike to Wayah Bald. Great summer hike all above 4200 feet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Really great hike with lots of payoff at the end. The shelter is littered, but otherwise a nice way to spend a night. Plenty of water sources along the way, even in fall, and there is a killer campsite near the top of the bald.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Seems to be a bad year for ticks. Lovely hike, check for ticks when you are done!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

This is my second time on the trail. My 61-year-old mother-in-law joined us for the hike and we went to Siler Bald and back to Wayah Gap (3.7 miles roundtrip), which took us about 3 hours.

We had gotten a lot of rain recently and it looked like the trail fairies had been hard at work clearing the trail and placing some logs as steps in places that had been washed out. Great maintenance work on a great trail.

We only came across two other hikers on the trail, otherwise we had it all to ourselves.

It was great because more of the wild flowers were out, we also saw two little snakes on the trail but they did not bother us, we kind of just rolled a rock in their direction so they would go along their way. Once you get to the clearing to head up to Siler Bald, the grass was much higher and there were much more bugs than when I did the trail a month before. The hill was dotted with pretty colour, though.

Still a great trail, but bring bug spray!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Absolutely loved this trail!

The trailhead is a little tricky to find when you are heading east on Wayah Road as the marker faces the other side of the road. Your landmark should be the forest service road marked "Wayah Bald Tower". There is no actual parking, so just park on the side of the road.

Trails are well marked with white trail markers on the trees. The trail is pleasant and shaded by lovely trees the whole way, until the last bit headed up to Siler Bald. Siler Bald itself is off the trail but is well worth the little detour. You are rewarded with 360 degree views of the mountains. It is not as high (as say, Wayah Bald) but it is a great view, nonetheless.

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