• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1200 Feet

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
River

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
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

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.

10 months ago
10 months ago

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

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Glad to see some East coast love on here finally!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Nathan Szwarc Explorer

Avid hiker, backpacker, and aspiring photographer living in east Tennessee.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

7 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves