Hike to Siler’s Bald

Yay for more hiking!  This time we set our sights on…

Siler’s Bald

Roundtrip: 9.3 miles (we went a bit farther than that because we also took a side jaunt up to Clingman’s Dome)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,152 ft (again, it’ll be more if you go to Clingman’s)
Directions: From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, drive 13.2 miles south along Newfound Gap Road.  Turn right onto Clingmans Dome Road and go 7 miles to the end of the road  to a large paved parking lot.  At the far end of the lot is a forked trailhead.  Take the left, unpaved trail to begin your journey.

scrambled egg sandwich
Starting this crazy hike off right – egg sammich, coming right up!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
The trail starts at the parking lot for Clingman’s Dome.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
You can either fork off to the left toward Siler’s Bald (you’ll connect with the AT first), or you can take the paved trail to the right that will take you to the Clingman’s lookout tower.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
The first part of the trail had many interesting features.  Definitely one of the more diverse trails we’ve seen.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
There was a THICK cloud cover that blocked most of the areas that would have provided us with a view.  No worries, though, the creepy atmosphere was fun!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Each time we hit the trails, we see more and more color.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Our first little friend on this trek.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
So creepy.. the diseased trees just added to the creep factor!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
The heavy tree cover combined with the thick clouds made this one of the darkest hikes we’ve taken.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Second little friend near the AT shelter!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Thru hikers taking a rest at the shelter.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
More creepiness!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Mountain ferns!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
We finally reached an opening where the cloud cover lifted a bit.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Rockin the knee brace.  This trail KILLED my IT Band.  Killed it.  I couldn’t walk for the rest of the evening, ugh.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
At the top you’ll find this rock..

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
With this U.S. Geological Survey marker.  If you hang a left here, you’ll continue along the AT.  If you go straight ahead, you’ll reach a great lunch spot overlooking Miry Ridge.  The bald itself is no longer maintained, so it’s overgrown and not an open meadow like Gregory Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
See?  Pretty neat place to have lunch.  There’s even a few convenient rocks to use as a place to sit.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
The usual trail lunch.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Requisite photo #1

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Requisite photo #2

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
This was most of the way back.. it was odd to have so much of the ground visible on a nearby hillside.  This is looking toward Clingman’s Dome.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
On the way back, you have the option to fork off to the left on a semi-hidden trail that will connect you with the paved trail to Clingman’s Dome.  We chose to take that route and came across this great little lookout point.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
We weren’t going to come all this way and not take a little side trip to the Clingman’s Dome Tower!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
360 degree views at the top.  Still pretty cloudy, but it was still very pretty!

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
On each side of the tower, there is a sign that tells you what you can see.

Smoky Mountains Hike to Siler's Bald
Looking down at the iconic spiraling ramp to the top.

We were pretty wasted when we got back to the car.  I dunno if it’s the fact that wedding season is in full bore and we’re exhausting ourselves shooting, or if it really was that gnarly of a hike.  I’m thinking it’s a little bit of both – this trail is not for the faint-hearted.. if you want a workout, this one will do it!

About Erin

Erin Browne and her husband Matt are the people behind the curtain here at Brownie Bites. Together, they blog about recipes they love, places they go, and things that they do. There are also cute dog pictures. Lots and lots of them. You can follow Erin on twitter @erinbrowne.
To keep up with new postings, please click right here to subscribe by e-mail or through your favorite RSS reader - we'd love for you to stick around!

Comments

  1. These hiking posts are killing me.
    Literally. I am writing this post-mortem. 
    Must get to mountains. Stat. 

Speak Your Mind

*