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Trip

Day Hike - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Day 4 (of 4) hikes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This hike to Silers Bald offers unbeatable views, spruce forests, seasonal wildflowers and the opportunity to hike on the Appalachian Trail.

  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 9.14 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,519 ft

 Meet at the Forney Ridge Trailhead, located at the far end of the parking lot for the Clingmans Dome at 8:30 am.

35°33'24.6"N 83°29'46.6"W - Google Maps

There is no entrance fee for the Great Smoky Mountains, but a parking pass is required.  $5/day or $15/week.

Fees & Passes - Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

This is the fourth of 4 day hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from May 5-8th.  The trails are designed to showcase the best views, wildflowers, waterfalls, geology and history that this park has to offer.   The timing of the trip coincides with the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage on May 1-4, which the leader will be attending.  This is an event featuring professionally guided walks, exhibits, and other learning opportunities to explore the region's rich natural and cultural resources including fungi, ferns, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, medicinal plants, insects (terrestrial and aquatic), salamanders and snakes, birds, mammals (bats to bears), journaling, art and photography, and park history - and would provide great background knowledge for the proceeding hikes.  Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 

Pace will be moderate, with plenty of time for taking in the scenery. 

Here is the proposed route for this hike:  https://www.gaiagps.com/public/vX9wus7yEqxfq8TlN24n2QNR/

The hike to Silers Bald begins from the Forney Ridge Trailhead and climbs steadily along a rugged and rock-strewn pathway, before arriving at the Appalachian Trail junction.  This portion of the Appalachian Trail passes through an old-growth spruce-fir forest with many birds and wildflowers.  Just past 4.6 miles, we reach Silers Bald. The exact spot is marked with an embedded USGS survey marker in a large rock.  From the summit, there is a small side trail to your right that offers excellent views of Miry Ridge and the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains.

Silers Bald is named after Jesse Siler, a prominent North Carolinian who grazed sheep and cattle atop the mountain in the 1800s. To the south, in the Nantahala Mountains, there's another Silers Bald named after Jesse's brother, William.

Before reaching the parking area on our return trip we can either take the same route or bypass the A.T. spur trail and continue eastward along the Appalachian Trail to reach Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the state of Tennessee.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation and lodging, although carpooling options to the trailhead can be arranged.  Leader has secured a 3-bedroom-plus loft home (Apr 30-May 9) in Gatlinburg that can be shared with several participants (send me an email if you are interested).  The Knoxville airport would be the most convenient to fly into.  There will be options for dining together and sharing free time activities.

Route/Place

Great Smoky Mountains National Park


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Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
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