Gregory Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald is a 11.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Townsend, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, horses, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Gregory Bald (via Gregory Ridge Trail)
To reach Gregory Bald we began our hike from the Gregory Ridge Trailhead. Yes, the Gregory Bald Trail is a shorter hike to the summit, but you're committed to driving the one-way Parson Branch Road which eventually takes you to the southwest corner of the park.
Along the lower sections of the trail hikers will cross three footbridges before reaching Backcountry Campsite 12, located roughly two miles from the trailhead.
At roughly 2.4 miles you'll enter a stretch of trail where a forest fire had swept through a few years ago.
After passing the campsite the trail begins a relentless climb of roughly 2000 feet over the next 3 miles.
At 4.9 miles you'll reach the Gregory Bald Trail junction. After turning right here the trail begins a sharp climb over the next one hundred yards or so. It then flattens out for a while before making one last push to the summit.
Gregory Bald is a 10-acre grassy meadow, and is one of two balds maintained by the park. It's not clear whether this high elevation meadow was created by nature, or was cleared by some of the early settlers. Without periodic maintenance from the National Park Service, both Andrews Bald and Gregory Bald would be reclaimed by natural forest growth.
Trail Features: Panoramic Views, Flame Azaleas gregory-ridge-trail
Trail Location: Cades Cove (Forge Creek Road)
Roundtrip Length: 11.3 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3020 Feet
Avg. Elev Gain / Mile: 535 Feet
Highest Elevation: 4949 Feet
Trail Difficulty Rating: 17.34 (strenuous)