Franklin, North Carolina

Hike to Siler Bald from Wayah Gap

3.9 Miles Total - 1142 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Christian Murillo

Take the iconic Appalachian Trail Southbound to one of the best Blue Ridge Mountain views on the AT. This mid-distance hike makes for either a perfect day hike or an overnight adventure.

The Appalachian Trail does not need a lot of hype beyond its existing legendary status.  However, there are certain parts of it that do stand out as being a little extra special.  Siler Bald is one of those spots.  A large clearing starting from Snowbird Gap and going all the way up to Siler Bald provides some of the best views on the North Carolina section of the AT. 

The trail starts from Wayah Gap, an unassuming spot that is easy to miss.  The easiest way to find it is by looking for the sign for the road that goes up to the Wayah Bald lookout.  There is a small car park with enough space for 2-3 cars just East of the Wayah Bald sign. The Southbound AT starts just across the road with a short series of stairs. 

As with all AT trails, you will follow the white blazes up the mountain.  The first quarter-mile of the trail is one of the steeper parts and will definitely warm you up.  After that, the climb gets milder and you can really get into a good rhythm as you pass through the Rhododendron tunnels and hardwood forest. After the first half-mile, the beautiful forest scenery does not change much until you get to the clearing at Snowbird Gap.  This is where a steeper, but manageable climb begins up the grassy slopes up to Siler Bald.

As you make your way up the mountainside, views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains become increasingly visible.  Once you reach the summit of Siler Bald at 5,220 feet, you will have panoramic views for miles.  Wine Spring Bald and Wayah Bald are the closest and most prominent peaks to the North and Northeast, respectively.  Pickens Nose, Albert Mountain, and countless North Carolina and Georgia peaks are visible to the South as well.  Near the summit, there are several good flat and grassy spots to pitch a tent, making this a popular campsite for thru-hikers and overnight backpackers alike.

The return hike follows the same path as your trail up the mountain.  The steepness of the grassy slopes makes it seem more inviting to roll down the mountain rather than hike it.   

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Overall rating: 

Great little hike with amazing views

Steady hike with beautiful views. I love anything that allows me to hike on the AT for a little while. My cat even joined and he gives it two paws up! I would love to come again in the warmer months and utilize the campsite near the summit.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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