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Hike - Gregory Ridge Trail to Gregory Bald - Fri., June 23, 2017

FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017
Depart at 7:00 a.m. from Chota Center
NOTE CHANGE IN START TIME
 
GREGORY RIDGE TRAIL TO GREGORY BALD
Distance:    11.4 miles  
Elevation Gain:   2300 feet
Rating:   Difficult
Driving Time:    Approx.  2 hrs. 10 min.
Leader:   Thom Lewis  865-458-3829  thom.lewis.8@gmail.com
 
This out and back hike turns around at one of the prettiest destinations in the park.  Gregory Bald is famous for its flame azaleas, large shrubs with beautiful orange-red clusters of flowers.  We hope the hike coincides with maximum bloom, when the Bald is alive with flame.
The trail to the Bald begins in the back of Cades Cove (we must drive the loop).  It climbs steadily and unrelievedly uphill, with the last quarter mile being as steep as any trail in the park.  The Bald is on the main spine of the Smokies, and you can feel the change in climate, so even on a warm day, bring a light jacket.  You will need it after the exertion of the climb.  As with any spectacular reward, this one takes effort.  On the way down you can congratulate yourself for seeing a special part of the park that only a hardy few can experience.