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Andrews Bald
Mountain/Rock

Andrews Bald

 
Andrews Bald

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: North Carolina, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.54200°N / 83.493°W

Object Title: Andrews Bald

County: Swain

Activities: Hiking

Elevation: 5920 ft / 1804 m

 

Page By: mtwashingtonmonroe

Created/Edited: Jul 16, 2006 / Jul 18, 2006

Object ID: 207825

Hits: 8802 

Page Score: 83.69%  - 17 Votes 

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Overview

Andrews Bald is the highest bald in the Great Smoky Mountains which straddle the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the Southern Appalachians. Located less than a mile and a half from the highest peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingmans Dome, this mountain on a clear day has gorgeous views of the southern Appalachians. All access to this peak are via the Forney Ridge Trail from the east and west sides of the mountain. The shortest approach to the mountain is via the Clingmans Dome parking lot which gives you a round-trip 3.6 miles.

 
On the trail to Andrews Bald
On the trail to Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald is a very unique summit as are all the Smoky Mountain summits, but its claim as a "southern bald" makes it extra special. These "balds" provide for a very interesting and diverse environment in terms of both ecosystems and climate. The true summit of Andrews Bald actually still stands within one of the great fraser fir stands of the Smokies. The bald part of the mountain is only about a hundred yards east of the actual summit. The Forney Ridge Trail is beautiful because of the gorgeous pine stands. The bald is a very distinctive and diverse place as some very rare plants and animals grow around this area. Andrews Bald is known for its Flaming Azalea which bloom in the spring time all over the summit. The rest of the bald is mostly a grassland with a few rhododendron bushes and some fraser fir dotting the lower parts of the bald.

Scientists to this day are still not positive as to the reason for all of the balds in the Southern Appalachians, but they have a few theories. Some scientists believe that these summits were once the grazing grounds of "ice-aged" animals such as the wooly-mammoth and mastadon. It is known that 1800s farmers took their livestock up to the balds to feed in the summer time because of the cooler climate and wealth of vegetation. This grazing helped to keep the balds free from obstruction, which provides for great views. In recent years though, many of the balds in the Smokies are beginning to become grown over, a process which is not quite understood by ecologists because of the fact that they've been around for so long. Andrews Bald is one of those balds which are starting to grow up. This does not create any obstruction at this point though as there are plenty of amazing views all around the bald.

Getting There

From Gatlinburg, TN:
Take 441 South towards Newfound Gap for access to the western end of the trail. Continue up to Newfound Gap and take a right onto the Clingmans Dome Road that will continue for seven miles back to the Clingmans Dome parking area. From here the trailhead leaves the west end of the parking area.

From Cherokee, NC:
Take 441 North out of Cherokee and continue to Newfound Gap. Just before you reach the overlook at Newfound Gap you will want to turn left onto the Clingmans Dome Access road. Take this for seven miles back to the parking area. The trailhead starts at the west end of the parking lot.

Red Tape

Andrews Bald is located entirely within Great Smokey Mountains National Park so all National Park Regulations apply. Listed below are a few of their regulations and below them is a link to the park regulations page.
 
On Andrews Bald
Forney Ridge Trail

- Alcoholic beverages are permitted only in designated picnic and camping areas and overnight lodges. Possession of open alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles is prohibited.

- Bicycles, mountain bikes, and motorcycles are allowed on paved roads and in campgrounds, but are prohibited on trails and administrative roads behind locked gates. Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. Skateboarding is prohibited in the park.

- Don't feed, chase, or harass park wildlife.

- Camp in designated areas only. To camp overnight in the backcountry you must have a free backcountry permit. Permits are available at campgrounds, visitor centers, and ranger stations.

- No fireworks or weapons, including firearms, bows and arrows, and slingshots, are allowed in the park; hunting is strictly prohibited.

- Fires are only allowed in established fire rings or fireplaces. Cutting trees for firewood is prohibited, but gathering dead and down wood is permitted. Concessioners sell firewood spring through fall at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont campgrounds.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Regulations

Also, to ensure that you are being protective of all natural existence in the park, follow the LEAVE NO TRACE program and you'll be fine.

Camping

The information below is from the Smoky Mountains National Park web page. The link is below:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Camping INFOMost campsites in the park are located in wooded areas.
 
Misty Day
Misty Day in the Smokies

Details
Firewood from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and New York can not be brought into the national park. The United States Department of Agriculture has quarantined firewood from these states to prevent the spread of highly destructive insects that may be living in the wood. Additional information.


** Camping in the Park- Things You Need to Know



Details
The park offers two different types of campsites:
Backcountry - hiking/backpacking to a site. Frontcountry - camping next to your car

Campground facilities and the procedures for obtaining a site in each type are different.

* Backcountry Camping for Backpackers


A permit is required for all backcountry camping in the park. Permits are free. You may obtain one at most ranger stations or at Sugarlands or Oconaluftee visitor centers. You must stay at designated campsites or shelters when camping in the backcountry. All shelters, and some campsites, require a reservation. The park trail map shows the location of all backcountry campsites and shelters, and indicates which campsites require a reservation. Your permit must designate the campsite or shelter at which you will stay for each night of your trip. The park does not allow pets on backcountry trails. For assistance call (865) 436-1297. For reservations call (865) 436-1231.


Frontcountry Camping



Details
The National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at 10 locations in the park: Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, Look Rock, and Smokemont. Please scroll down the page for information about each of these campgrounds. Park map.

Each campground has restrooms with cold running water and flush toilets, but there are no showers or electrical or water hookups in the park. Shower facilities are available in the communities surrounding the national park. Please inquire about the nearest facilities when you check-in at the campground. Each individual campsite has a picnic table and fire grate Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

During summer and fall, sites at Elkmont, Smokemont, Cades Cove, and Cosby may be reserved. See individual campground listings below for reservation information. Reservations are accepted only for May 15-Oct 31. All other campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

In addition to individual campsites, several frontcountry campgrounds offer a limited number of group tent camping areas and five drive-in Horse Camps provide ready access to park trails for horse riders.

A description of each Frontcountry Campground follows:

Abrams Creek Campground

Open From 3/10/06 through 10/31/06

Details
First-come, first serve. This campground has 16 sites and sits at elevation 1,125 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 12 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $14 each night. Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Balsam Mountain Campground

Open From 5/12/06 through 10/9/06

Details
First-come, first serve. This campground has 46 sites and is at elevation 5,310 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $14 each night.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Big Creek Campground

Open From 3/10/06 through 10/31/06

Details
First-come, first serve. This campground has 12 sites and is for tents only. It sits at elevation 1,700 feet. RVs prohibited. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $14 each night. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

The Big Creek Horse Camp is a separate facility. Please see the "Horse Camp" listing below for additional information.

Cades Cove Campground

Open All Year

Reservations
Online or by Phone at 1-800-365-CAMP

Details
Reservations accepted up to five months in advance for May 15 - Oct. 31 occupancy. Other dates first-come, first-serve. This campground has 159 sites and sits at elevation 1,807 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. Cades Cove Campground Store sells convenience items, groceries, camping supplies, and a limited selection of hot and cold deli items. There are no other food facilities in the park. Numerous convenience stores and restaurant establishments are located in outlying communities. $17-20 each night. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Cataloochee Campground

Open From 3/10/06 through 10/31/06

Details
First-come, first serve. This campground has 27 sites and sits at elevation 2,610 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 31 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $17 each night. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

The Cataloochee Horse Camp is a separate facility. Please see the "Horse Camp" listing below for additional information.

Cosby Campground

Open From 3/10/06 through 10/31/06

Reservations
Online or by Phone at 1-800-365-CAMP

Details
Most sites are first-come, first serve, however reservations can now be made for several sites in the campground. The campground has 157 sites and sits at elevation 2,459 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 25 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. Shower facilities are available for a fee at businesses located on highway US-32 just outside the park. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP. $14 each night.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Deep Creek Campground

Open From 4/1/06 through 10/31/06

Details
First-come, first serve. This campground has 92 sites and sits at elevation 1,800 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 26 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $17 each night. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Elkmont Campground

Open From 3/10/06 through 11/30/06

Reservations
Online or by Phone at 1-800-365-CAMP

Details
Reservations accepted up to five months in advance for May 15 - Oct. 31 occupancy. Other dates first-come, first-serve. This campground has 220 sites and sits at elevation 2,150 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 32 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $17-23 each night. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Horse Camps (Anthony Creek, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Round Bottom and Tow String)

Open
Open From 4/1/06 through 11/12/06

Reservations
Online or by Phone at 1-800-365-CAMP

Details
There are five drive-in horse camps in the park. They are located at Anthony Creek, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Roundbottom, and Towstring. All five horse camps can be reserved through the National Park Reservation Service by calling 1-800-365-2267, or visiting http://reservations.nps.gov. Reservations may be made up to five months in advance of your trip. Reservations are by site, with each site accommodating up to six people and four horses. Each site costs $20.00 per night, except Big Creek, which costs $25.00 per night.

Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Round Bottom Horse Camp will remain closed until construction on Straight Fork Road is completed in late July.

Look Rock Campground

Open From 5/12/06 through 10/31/06

Details
First-come, first serve. This campground has 68 sites and sits at elevation 2,600 feet. No size limits for RVs. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $14 each night. Please read important firewood quarantine notice at top of page.

Smokemont Campground

Open All Year

Reservations
Online or by Phone at 1-800-365-CAMP

Details
Reservations accepted up to five months in advance for May 15 - Oct. 31 occupancy. Other dates first-come, first-serve. This campground has 142 sites and sits at elevation 2,198 feet. Can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. Campground has running water and bathroom facilities, but NO electric hookups or shower facilities. $17-20 each night. Group camping is also available. Reservations can be made either on line or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.



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