If you plan a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park be sure to include a day hike to Andrews Bald. Andrews Bald is a mostly open peak, with spectacular views of the North Carolina side of the Smokies.
This is generally a cool and pleasant trek, as the entire walk is over a mile in elevation. The beginning of the trail is in the Clingmans Dome parking lot. The lot is usually crowded, with visitor's climbing to the overlook tower on the peak of Clingmans Dome, and this is an excellent side trip.
You will not find so many tourists on the trail to Andrews Bald. This destination is less frequented than many of the other more readily accessible You descend from the parking lot on the Appalachian Trial bypass, which is just below the trail to the tower. Then turn left on the Forney Ridge Trail towards the bald.
The forest opens up as you approach the bald, and if you visit in late May through early July, you will be treated to blooming Azaleas and Rhododendron of every species and color. There are grassy meadows here that are perfect for picnics featuring dramatic vistas in three directions! There are lots of good rocks for sitting, but bring a blanket and relax for a while before the return trip to the parking lot.
Andrews Bald is one of my favorite places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I heartily recommend this day hike for those seeking a different king of mountain experience.
Photos Courtesy of Richard Weisser and SmokyPhotos.com.
Richard Weisser, Broker, Associate Broker, Auctioneer, E-Pro, CE Instructor