A relatively easy hike to a wide open grassy bald with spectacular views of the southern Smokies and Fontana Lake.

The trail begins at the Clingmans Dome parking lot, just to the left of the paved walkway up to Clingmans Dome. You will start the hike at an elevation of 6130 feet which is only 334 feet less than Clingmans Dome which is the highest point in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. You will began the trail left of the Clingmans dome walkway by descending for about one tenths of a mile until you reach a split. At the split you will want to take a left to continue down towards Andrews Bald, following the sign that says Andrews Bald 1.7 Miles. After the left at the split you will continue to descend through a beautiful moss covered forest with occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains. After about 1 mile you will have leveled out and come to another split. Continue straight towards Andrews Bald following the sign that says .7 miles to Andrews Bald. Going right at the split will take you 11.4 mile down Forney Creek trail to a back-country campsite.

After going straight at the Junction towards Andrews bald, you will continue about .7 miles with, occasional uphill through more beautiful dense forest, until you reach the grassy opening of Andrews bald. From here continue 500 feet to the wooden plank pathway and take in the stunning surrounding views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Fontana lake if you look to your lower right, which is another spectacular location. Relax, soak in the views, and make sure to pack up any trash and try and leave the trail in better condition than you found it when you leave.

This is a very popular trail and would be best down as early as possible. If you have time before or after it would definitely be worth to huff it up the half mile trail to Clingmans Dome observation tower which will offer you crowded, but unparalleled views of the Smokies. If you plan to visit this area anytime from December 1 till April 1 the road will be closed, however, you are more than welcome to hike or cross country ski the 7 miles to the parking lot.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Jacket (typically 10 degrees cooler than valley below)
  • Picnic
  • Blanket
  • Appropriate Hiking Clothing
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RT Distance 3.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1200 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
River

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Add-on hike to your Clingman's Dome visit

This hike is easily accessible from Clingman's Dome, which makes it a great add-on if you're making the drive out to the lookout. We did this as a quick hike before the sunset. The open views from the bald are awesome, but I think I actually enjoyed hiking through the very scenic spruce-fir forest to get there, the most. One of my favorite features of the southern Appalachians.

almost 2 years ago

Easy Day Hike

This hike is relatively short and you can reach the summit in 45 minutes. Once there, the bald opens up to provide tons of space to spread out and enjoy the views. Would recommend

over 2 years ago

Excellent

Glad to see some East coast love on here finally!


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