Gregory Bald Loop

Fontana Dam, North Carolina 28733

Gregory Bald Loop

Gregory Bald Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Ascend Twentymile Creek, passing Twentymile Cascades and along dark pools before leaving the stream. Make Gregory Bald, with its views and world-renowned wild azalea displays. Camp below the bald at Sheep Pen Gap. Pass over what remains of Parson Bald, and return via Moore Spring Branch, with its plentiful cascades.

June is the time to be on Gregory Bald to see the flame azaleas. Early August is better for picking blueberries. Views are best in fall after the first cool fronts sweep through. Winter and spring bring good views also, but the weather up top can be iffy."

More Gregory Bald Loop Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Menasha Ridge Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"This hike combines the best that the high and low country have to offer. First, you'll travel up the Twentymile Trail past Twentymile Cascades to the Upper Flats streamside camp. Then an arduous climb tops out on Long Hungry Ridge and leads to the Gregory Bald Trail, arriving at the southern Appalachians most famous bald, with its staggering views and flower displays. Camp at Sheep Pen Gap, a high country grassy glade between Gregory Bald and Parson Bald. Leave the gassy balds and complete your loop via the steep Wolf Ridge Trail." Read more

Gregory Bald Loop Reviews

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11/8/2008
This hike was both gorgeous and challenging. The ascent up Long hungry ridge is serious stuff and helps it earn its name. As you gain altitude the views get better and better, reaching a zenith on Gregory Bald. DO not miss the Bald!!! I camped at Forge Creek Campground which 3 miles from the bald and 2 miles from Cades Cove. If you do this start early! I started at 11 and reached the campground in the dark (6:30). On the way to the site go the extra mile out of the way to the bald. The next day I returned via Gregory Bald and Wolf Ridge trail. The bald is Glorious! Parson's Bald was a little disappointing as it is mostly overgrown. Heading down Wolf Ridge I realized how tired I was and couldn't fully appreciate the views. However, I did see two bears clamber down a tree and charge down the hill! The creeks and cascades around twenty-mile are gorgeous and mostly level trails. Overall, a fantastic experience featuring all the best of the Smokies!
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10/10/2008
Execellent three day hike. Day 2 is a thigh burner, but the reward is excellent views and deer in the camp. The water for campsite 13 is a bit hard to find; you have to go 1/6 of a mile down the Gregory Bald trail to find it on the left. The trail sign near camp is marked with "H20" with an arrow to get you going in the right direction. The weather was great and the leaves were turning so the views were quite nice. The only drawback was too many people; there were even people illegally camping on the Bald itself. Also of note is that the Johnny Malloy trail guide and the National Geographic Map show the trail crossing the creek three times after campsite 95 on day three. The trail has been re-routed and all crossings are on bridges on day 3.
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8/21/2008
I did the hike as the guide suggests, counter-clockwise and over 3 days. We started just after lunch on day one and easily made the first campsite. The trail was wide and easy to follow. We had the campsite all to ourselves. Day 2 starts out with a pretty rough climb. The trail steepens and narrows quite a bit though it's still very well marked and easy to follow. The views from the bald were terrific even though it was a little overcast. There was one other party of 2 at campsite #13 and we saw 4 other people on the bald, all of whom at come up Gregory Ridge from the TN side. The third day coming down the Western side at the higher elevations was a little overgrown but still easy to traverse and follow the trail. It widens quite a bit as you get down the mountain. Other thoughts. I saw more bear scat on our second day than I've ever seen before and later in the day we saw two small bears. The deer on the bald and campsite 13 are extremely friendly as others have mentioned. The water source near campsite 13 was almost dry but was plentiful at the lower elevations. All in all, a great hike. It was a lot of fun.
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3/3/2008
This was a great trail i did it in the winter with about a foot of snow on the ground and the trail was still easy to follow. The trails were well maintained other than a few sections where i had to duck to get through some low lying brush. I only ran into one or two other people and was alone at my camp site. Its a great quick overnight trail and not to difficult just be weary of ice in the winter I managed to slip on a few of the steeper inclines.
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10/23/2007
great hike with good campsites. we went in late october 2007 for good big sky views and changing of leaves. i do reccomend this hike in spring or late fall. overall was not to difficult. second day is a leg burner but the reward was without a doubt worth every effort. trail conditions were top notch with no down trees or detours. all intersections were clearly marked and easy to follow. we followed the trail guide to a tee and everything was smooth as ice. with a good start and quick pace this could easily be an overnight loop. the gregory bald is absolutly beautiful with almost 360 degree panaramic views. on a clear day you can see for miles upon miles of crystal clear mountain tops and rolling clouds through the valleys. this is definatly a big sky adventure not to miss.
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10/20/2006
a great two night adventure. we slightly deviated from the suggested route by taking wolf ridge to the bald and then headin' all the way over to take the AT south back down to a connector trail to the twentymile ranger station. Clear skies on the first day with lots of beautiful colors. Careful with those alcohol burning stoves on top of the bald on a windy day. You just might turn Gregory bald into Black bald. Also watch out for the ravenous deer at the top. They'll ambush you from behind and try to steal anything they can wrap their tongue around. Campsite 13 is an awesome site with plenty of water just down the trail about 300 yards. No signs of bears on my trip but i had heard of high activity in the recent past.
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10/6/2006
Great time of the year to go. Camp site #13 was closed due to aggressive bear activity so we had to hike straight through the bald to the next camp site. We never saw a bear but a lot of tracks. Tough climb to the bald but very much worth it. The bridges towards the end of the trail are back up and the trail had recently been cut and cleaned making it very easy to hike.
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5/27/2006
Great hike. Nice combination of challenge and scenery. The backcountry campsites were well-equipped with bag hanging devices and conveniently located near water sources. However, the campsites sometimes were crowded, and diminished some of the positives of backcountry camping (quiet, no crowds, etc.). The views from Gregory Bald were beautiful. There were many deer on the bald -- not at all afraid of people. The bugs at the campsite were annoying -- definitely need plenty of bug protection. Also, you hike through tall grasses on Day 3 -- we found 5 or 6 ticks crawling up pants legs in a short period of time. We also saw a large black bear just off the trial. It was definitely not afraid of people as it did not run off but just watched us -- luckily we had bear spray just in case, but after we passed it (about 30 yards above us in the woods above the trial) we never saw it again. Bring Teva's or good water shoes for the stream crossings. Overall a great weekend!
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7/23/2005
July is probably NOT the best time to try this trail. Record heat wave, 90+ degrees and as would be expected very humid. Experienced the Grand Canyon in March 05, South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch, and back out in 3 days. Three days up and back to Gregory Bald was much more difficult with the heat. After a while everything looked the same, tree after tree & bush after bush..Did see deer, big buck on first night and 3 doe walked right up to us on day two on top at Gregory Bald. Early AM on day 3 we were 1/2 mile from camp pushing through large overgrowth, could hardly find the path, when about 20 feet to our right and just ahead the brush started to move, we found the real smokey the bear, as my wife said "it's a bear" - "it's a BIG bear", looked like his head was about 18-20" ear to ear. After a quick look he was gone into the brush. Big suprise near the end, trail description says there are 3 creek crossings with log bridges. Only one is stil there making wading the creeks a bit tenuous with fast moving water up to your knees and higher in the middle and slick moss on all the rocks. The last crossing was the only one with the log bridge. Be prepard to wade after the very long trek from the top. Overall would be good trip in spring or fall, skip the summer.
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10/24/2003
The best part of this trail is that the campsite on the second night is only a 5-minute walk from Gregory Bald, allowing you to watch the sunset from atop the bald. The sunset I got to see was very surrealistic, like some strange dream. The hiking distances the first and second days are very short, but beware! The grade is very steep. All in all, this is a really great hike. Highly recommended. Many creek crossings, EXCELLENT backcountry campsites with bag-hanging devices, spectacular views. Easy to find.
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Gregory Bald Loop Photos

Trail Information

Fontana Dam
Nearby City
15.5 miles
Distance
3,570 feet
Elevation Gain
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
9-11 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Swimming, Camping
Additional Use
Views, Waterfalls, Wildflowers
Features
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Dec 2018