Smoky Mountain Trails: Andrews Bald

Smoky mountain car road trail in fall autumn yellow golden trees scenic

Andrews Bald

Bright blooming pink azalea flower

In July, Andrews bald is one of the best places in the Smokies to view azalea flowers. Not only are the views magnificent, but the colors are equally grand.

To get to Andrews Bald your outing will start from the Forney Ridge (Clingmans Dome) parking area and head down the southwest slope of the ridge. A left turn at the first intersection will steer you toward Andrews Bald. Trails are well marked and well maintained but the turain is rocky. The trail takes the shelter of the southwest shoulder for a mile before walking the ridge for another mile. Occasional views off to the right are only a taste of those to come.

The bald is on top of a high point (about 5,900 feet) along the ridge. On the ascent from the saddle (at 5,750 feet), you are on the North Slope. The vegetation changes to coniferous about a half mile before reaching the top. The climb up to the open field is steep and discouraging. Take heart, just as you resolve it must be further ahead than you thought, you break out suddenly into something like the opening scene of the Sound of Music, only Smokies style. The bald is a grand place for a picnic, or equally good to just sit and rest. Look around, as there is more than enough room to find a solitary spot with a wonderful view. For those who wish to continue down Forney Ridge, the trail is hidden down the hill and to the right from where you entered. Go straight ahead toward the view. When you get near the brush, simply follow it to the right until you find it.