Go WILD in the Smokies with us and take a Guided Hiking Tour to breathtaking Andrews Bald.
Naturally occurring Balds in the Great Smoky Mountains have puzzled scientists for years. Most Balds high atop a few mountain peaks in the Smokies and are completely devoid of trees leaving grassy “balds” with plentiful wildflowers and small shrubs. No one seems to know how they are formed or why. But what we do know is they provide dramatic near 360 degree views of the Smokies.
The trail head for Andrews Bald begins at the parking area for Clingmans Dome, which the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the highest point on the famed Appalachian Trail.
We begin our descent through a lush fern lined Spruce Fir Forest whose scent of fresh pine and evergreens is invigorating to your soul. Nothing in the Smokies smells as fresh as the air from a Spruce Fir forest. The views from the beginning of the hike are incredible. On clear days you can see over 100 miles. Down below you can see the emerald green waters of Fontana Lake and the small mountain hamlet of Bryson City in the distant. long our path many different berry bushes line the trail. Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries which ripen in July and August greet hikers with a sweet treat. Along the way you can see countless Flame Azazel, and Catawba Rhododendron which put on a dazzling display of colors in mid to late June.
Andrews Bald got the name from Andres Thompson who in the 1840’s herded cattle up Forney Creek to the top of the bald so they could graze on the rich grasses during the Summer months. Herding cattle to the high country and back with each season was a common practice in the mountains. Years ago this bald was called Rip Shin Ridge. In the 1850’s Andres went off to fight in the Civil War later to return and live out the remainder of his life on the bald. Years later the Bald was renamed after the man who held its views and lofty elevation dear to his heart.
Half Day Hike: Hiking time round trip is between 3-4 hours.
Total Distance: 3.6 miles round trip
Difficulty rating: Moderate, elevation gains of 899 feet, with an average gain of 514 feet per mile. Sturdy hiking shoes recommended as is good physical condition.
Meeting Location: For this hike we meet in the parking area for Newfound Gap Overlook in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
For Reservations call (828)-421-0172, or book securely from our website!