Hiking has become one of my favorite outdoor activities and I am excited to start sharing my hiking trips with you. I hope to inspire you to go take a hike. In the last weekend of July, we hiked the Maddron Bald Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This hike was tough, with an elevation gain of around 3,400 feet. I recorded 13.3 miles round trip, we did not go all the way to the Snake Den Ridge Trail junction. We stopped on the bald which was covered in a Rhododendron thicket. This was our first hike in several weeks, and longest hike in years, but we managed to do the 13.3 miles (including a couple of breaks) in about 7 hours.
The Maddron Bald Trailhead is on Baxter Road in Cosby, TN. Parking at the trailhead is limited and is in a remote area. The trail is gravel to start with for the first couple of miles. Around mile 2.9, you have the option to take the Albright Grove Loop, this is around 0.7 miles long and it reconnects with Maddron Bald Trail higher up.
After Albright Grove Loop, you can either turn left and head back to the parking lot, or continue to the right towards Maddron Bald. The trail past this point involves several stream crossings. Be prepared for higher water if there have been recent rain events.
At the bald, we were surrounded by rhododendrons that were taller than us. Unfortunately, they were not blooming any more, we just missed them by a few weeks, but the views were not completely obstructed, and the mountains surrounding us were incredible. This is a hike that I plan to do again someday when rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Until next time,