Gregory Bald Trail

Gregory Bald Trail leads to a high meadow known as Gregory Bald

The meadow atop Gregory Bald Trail was used in the summer for cattle grazing by Cades Cove farmers.  The bald is a 10-acre grassy meadow.  It is one of two balds  the national park maintains.

The trail is somewhat strenuous and has an elevation gain of 3,020 feet.

gregory bald trail

Gregory Bald trailhead. Image by Jeaneane Payne

Gregory Bald is a favorite hiking trail in the Smokies because of  the spectacular flame azaleas that bloom atop its summit each summer

Azalea lovers from all over the world come to Gregory Bald to view the many acres of beautiful azaleas.  There are fire red, wine red, orange, salmon, yellow, white, pink, and multi-colored azaleas.  They reach peak bloom around mid-to-late June.

gregory bald trail

Azaleas blooming on the trail

On a clear day you will be able to see Cades Cove and Rich Mountain towards the north. Fontana Lake is towards the southeast, and Thunderhead Mountain and Clingmans Dome towards the east.

There are several trails that lead to Gregory Bald. Gregory Bald Trail is a steady four and a half mile climb to the bald.  You will hike through pine and hardwood forest. On the way to Gregory’s Bald, hikers will go through Sam’s Gap, Panther Gap, and Sheep Pen Gap Backcountry Campsite. From Gregory’s bald there are magnificent views of Cades Cove as well as other surrounding landmarks.

The Gregory Bald Trail continues past the mountain meadow until it ends at the Appalachian Trail

Enthusiasts can hike on to the Appalachian Trail; however, keep in mind it is seven and a half miles from the trailhead. A hard day’s hike is eight to ten miles.  Going all the way to the Appalachian trail and back is definitely not a day hike.

To get to the trail, go down the Cades Cove Loop to the Visitor Center at Cable Mill and follow the signs to Parsons Branch Road.  Sam’s Gap, where the trail begins, is five miles down Parsons Branch Road.