Gregory Bald in Cades Cove
Directions to Trailhead:
This hike to Gregory Bald in the Great Smoky Mountains begins from the Gregory Ridge Trailhead in Cades Cove. To reach the trailhead from the Townsend "Y" intersection, travel west on Laurel Creek Road towards Cades Cove. After driving 7.5 miles you'll reach Cades Cove, pass the main parking lot, and then enter the one-way loop road. Roughly 13.2 miles from Townsend the loop road makes a sharp turn to the left. At this junction continue by driving straight onto Forge Creek Road (which also leads to Parson Branch Road). Drive for another 2.2 miles to reach the Gregory Ridge Trailhead. Just before reaching the parking lot the one-way Parson Branch Road forks off to the right. You should continue on the two-way Forge Creek Road for a short distance to reach the Gregory Ridge Trail parking area.
Hikers should note that the park closes the Cades Cove Loop Road to motor vehicle traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m., between early May and late September of each year, to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove.
As stunning as the year-round views are, Gregory Bald is perhaps most famous for the spectacular flame azaleas that bloom atop its summit each summer. Azalea lovers from all over the world come here to witness the many acres of fire red, wine red, orange, salmon, yellow, white, pink, and multi-colored azaleas that reach peak bloom around mid-to-late June.