The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains


Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373




Gregory Bald Hike
Saturday, June 7, 2013

Hike leader: Randy Morris, Rick Harris  Rating: difficult  Length: 11 miles.

Description: This is a difficult hike due to the length and the 3000 foot climb in elevation. But it is a classic hike which should be on everyone's bucket list. We will ascend from Cades Cove off the Parsons Branch Road taking the Gregory Ridge Trail up 5 miles to the ridge crest of the Smokies, then right for a half mile to Gregory Bald itself. The mountain laurel should be in bloom, but we may be a bit early for the flame azalea. We plan to eat lunch at the top, then return to our cars by the same route. We will meet at the Townsend Visitor Center at 9:30 and then carpool to the trailhead. We cannot leave earlier since the Cades Cove Loop is closed to cars until 10 AM so bicyclists can ride the loop.


Post Trip Report: Thirteen hikers met at the Townsend Visitor Center and then carpooled from there to the trailhead. The Cades Cove loop was very slow driving so we did not get to the trailhead until about 11 AM. We then started up the trail, resting at campsite 12. We then separated into two groups, the fast and the not so fast hikers. We ate a late lunch at the top with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. A couple hikers did not go all the way to the top but stopped at the ridgeline intersection with the Gregory Bald Trail. This was a very difficult 3000 foot climb to the top.  The azaleas were not in bloom yet except for a few early bloomers. But the mountain laurel where at their peak. We also saw a very tame acting deer which came very close to us. We then headed down getting back to the parking area late afternoon. This was a beautiful hike as expected. For more pictures, go to our Meetup page by clicking the Meetup button above.

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