Great Smoky Mountains National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • Access Map to Spruce Flats Falls Trail
    Access Map to Spruce Flats Falls Trail
    by TravellerMel
  • Spruce Flats Falls
    Spruce Flats Falls
    by TravellerMel

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    Andrews Bald

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Jun 16, 2004

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    Jonathan Dycus on Andrews Bald

    Andrews Bald is the highest bald in the Smokies. It is one of many open grassy mountaintop areas to be found on high Appalachian peaks. No one knows for sure how the balds came to be. The prevailing theory is that they are remnents once maintained by Elk and other grazers from 5,000 years ago. These then trace back to communities that existed in the warmest days after the last Ice Age. Early pioneers drove their cattle high into the mountains in summer to graze off these cool lush sub-alpine meadows. In late spring and early summer, when the Flame Azalea and Catawba Rhododendron bloom, Andrews Bald is an exceptionally beautiful natural garden. Fall wildflowers also bloom profusely here. Any time of year there are excellent views to the south, into North Carolina, toward Fontana Lake.

    Andrews Bald is reached by a moderate 3.6 mile (round trip) hike from the Clingman's Dome parking area, the highest point accessible by car in the park, and the third highest peak in the Eastern United States. The trail is rocky and always wet but not too difficult. The trailhead is closed Dec. 1 through April 1. It is usually snow covered all winter because of the high altitude.

    This picture is of my nephew on a three day backpacking trip we took together in the Summer of 2003.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Arboreal Hiking

    by mrclay2000 Updated May 2, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    millipede, my wildlife yield on the Lead Cove hike

    If your first ten minutes in the park did not convince you, Great Smoky is dense with hardwood forests. Hiking into the backcountry will often involve being entirely closed out of the panoramas that you enjoyed from the road. Deer and bear encounters are possible throughout the park, but there is no guarantee that your wildlife sightings will be nothing but snails and millipedes.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Shihar's Profile Photo

    Cherokee National Forest, TN

    by Shihar Updated Nov 29, 2005

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    4 more images

    This mountain backcountry is densely wooded and spans 640,000 acres. Open all year round, most campgrounds are open May through October. Adjoins GSMNP on northeast and southwest.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Off The Beaten Path

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