Hike the Albright Grove Loop

Rate this Adventure 6.8 miles 1500 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Joshua Contois

This moderate hike transports you into some of the most remote old-growth forest left on the east coast. Solitude is almost guaranteed for the traveler weary of overcrowded trails and parking lots. In spring, it is among the best trails for wildflower viewing. 

Hidden in the eastern reaches of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cosby region receives a fraction of the visitation of Gatlinburg or Cherokee. This section of the park preserves some of the best deciduous old-growth forest in the eastern United States. Individual tulip trees and eastern hemlocks reach monstrous proportions in these secluded mountain watersheds.

Beginning at the gate, the Maddron Bald Trail (an old wagon road) climbs steadily for 0.7 miles to the Willis Baxter Cabin (on right). 

Continue upward another 1.2 miles to reach the junction with the Old Settlers Trail (right) and Gabes Mountain Trail (left). Hikers looking to turn this into a longer overnight loop will need a permit for campsites 29 and 34, available for a small fee. 

Continue straight for roughly another mile, where the gravel path ends at an old traffic circle and the actual trail begins. 

For the remainder of the trail, the hiker passes through an exceptional old-growth forest populated by yellow poplars (tulip trees), buckeyes, and maples. Some of the largest and most common trees along this trail are the eastern hemlock, but in recent years they grandest of these specimens has succumb to the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid

Roughly 0.5 miles past where the road bed ends, the hiker crosses Indian Camp Creek along a sturdy foot log. Another 0.1 miles past that, the actual Albright Grove Loop begins. 

The Albright Grove Loop is a 0.7 mile loop that can be done from either direction. If beginning from the left, first hike an additional 0.3 miles to the upper junction.

The grove is impressive, but many of the massive trees have since died off. As a result, the composition of the forest floor is changing, with weedy, brushy vegetation aggressively filling every sunny gap. Even still, the hike is one of the most scenic in the southern Appalachians and guarantees the hiker plenty of solitude.  

Read More

Tags

Fitness
Photography
Hiking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Cosby, Tennessee

All Suite Cabin On 1.5 Acres W/ Private Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Nestled on a quiet 1.5-acre lot, this all-suite two-story cabin is the quin...

From $136/night

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

All Suite Three Waters Lodge | Creek Side Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Boasting a hot tub and direct access to swimming and fishing, your creek-si...

From $258/night

Cosby, Tennessee

Cosby Picnic Pavilion

Overview Tucked in the mountains under a canopy of cool shade, this picnic pavilion creates a peaceful and secluded environment for visitors, offering the best that the Great Smoky Mountains Nation...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Hen Wallow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains NP

    Start your adventure by parking in the Cosby Picnic Area Parking Lot near the entrance of the Cosby Campground. (127 Cosby Picnic Area Rd, Cosby, TN 37722.) Then backtrack through the parking lot about 100 yards until you see the sign marking the ...

    4.4 miles

  • Hike to the Mount Cammerer Lookout Tower

    Most visitors have a vision of how they'd like to see Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it typically involves climbing to the top of a mountain like 4,928-foot Mount Cammerer. This is a very strenuous hike involving a breathtaking amount of...

    11 miles 3040 ft gain

  • Hike to the Ramsey Cascades

    This multi-tiered waterfall is known as the tallest in the park – a worthwhile reward for the steep and sometimes tricky terrain you'll face on the way up.The popular route to the falls also passes through an impressive old-growth forest, which ap...

    8 miles 2190 ft gain

  • Whitewater Rafting the Pigeon River

    The Pigeon River is a dam controlled river that winds its way through North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The river provides beautiful views as one paddles along via raft or kayak.  Cutting throug...