Andrews Bald via Forney Ridge TrailModerate

Clingmans Dome / Bryson City, NC

Andrews Bald via Forney Ridge Trail

Distance (One Way)

1.8 miles

Elevation Gain

-558 feet


Clingmans Dome


Bryson City, NC

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

Andrews Bald Trail is actually the first 1.8 miles of Forney Ridge Trail from the Clingmans Dome parking lot. You'll find the trailhead to the left of the base of the half mile paved trail to the Clingmans Dome observation tower. This hike in the Smokies is on the easier side of moderate; the only part that can be fairly challenging is the latter uphill climb of the last mile back to Clingmans Dome.

Andrews Bald is the highest bald in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (5,860 feet) and offers some of the most magnificent views you'll find on either side of the Appalachian Trail. To reach the bald you'll take Forney Ridge Trail from the parking lot of Clingmans Dome for approximately 1.8 miles. The entirety of Forney Ridge Trail is actually 5.4 miles.

Andrews Bald Trail can be quite rocky, but this part of Forney Ridge was significantly improved by the Trails Forever reconstruction project from 2008-2011.

Andrews Bald Trail isn't very difficult on the first trek. Most of it is downhill from Clingmans Dome, and the trail improvements make it much easier to navigate the rocks, roots, and erosion. It's a great hike for any time of the year but most popular during the spring. Aside from incredible views of far away mountain ridges, other sights you'll enjoy atop Andrews Bald include flame azaleas, rhododendrons, and Fontana Lake.

#clingmans dome
#flame azaleas
#forney ridge
#north carolina
#bryson city nc

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Gentle Slope

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale






Hiker Tips & Trivia

  • The first mile of the hike can be more strenuous, but becomes more moderate the farther you go.

Photo Gallery (14)

Trail Map

Read More

Andrews Bald: An Easy Hike From Clingmans Dome

Andrews Bald is double peak mountain just south of Clingmans Dome. The bald is the highest of its kind in the national park; the grassy viewpoint sits an elevation of 5,950 feet - over a mile above sea level. It's a popular hiking destinat...

Read This Post

Smoky Mountain Hikes Under 5 Miles

Smoky Mountain hikes come in all shapes and sizes. With more than 800 miles of trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hikers can come up with endless combinations of possibilities for day hikes, backpacking trips, or just a simpl...

Read This Post

Top Fall Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are one of the most vital and thriving sources of beauty in the world today. With a wide variety of attractions, luxurious hotels, and picturesque mountains teeming with life and explosive color, there are t...

Read This Post

The above list of hiking trails in the Smokies is incomplete and constantly being updated. If you have information or photos you would like to contribute, please contact [email protected].

Featured Posts

Other Hikes

By continuing to use our website, you are accepting the use of cookies. For more information please read our privacy policy.