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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

Gregory Bald (Smoky Mountains) - Advanced Backpacking

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Gregory Bald (Campsite #13)   Backpacking: Gregory Bald (Smoky Mountains) - Advanced Backpacking  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Apr 29 2023  10:30 am >> Sun, Apr 30 2023 5:30 pm  (Carpool Departure: 6:45 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Wed, Apr 19 2023 7:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Apr 28 2023 11:59 pm
Event Duration:1 Days 7 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Distance:15 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Bob Bunner
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Member Cost:$8.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:8
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 8 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Come join us for a rewarding backpack trip to the summit of Gregory Bald, one of the few balds that provide a 360 degree view within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

This is a loop hike that begins at Twenty Mile Ranger Station and covers a total distance of approximately 15.3 miles. We'll begin by hiking counterclockwise the Twenty Mile and Long Hungry Ridge Trails to Gregory Bald. We will cover about 8.7 miles on our first day and we will ascend 3300 feet to the Bald. We will camp at campsite #13, which is a little less than half a mile below the Bald. The campsite is wooded and there is a water source nearby.  The descent on Sunday is about 6.6 miles on the Wolf Ridge trail.  For about the last 3 miles, we will be hiking next to a beautiful creek.

On Saturday, we will break for lunch at an established campsite (#92).  There is plenty of water here if you want to fill up for the coming ascent.  We will have several stream crossings following lunch for about a 1/2 mile.  You may want to bring water shoes or crocs for this portion of the hike.

On Sunday, we are planning to stop at the River's End restaurant in Wesser, NC (NOC) for lunch around 2:00 pm on the way home.

This trip has been rated a D5 primarily because of the significant elevation change we will incur as we ascend to the Bald. We intend to hike at a moderate pace. This is a strenuous and difficult backpacking trip. Be honest with yourself about whether you have the physical ability and desire to do this event. If you sign up and I do not know your hiking ability, I will contact you to find out if I believe you are a good candidate for this trip. I reserve the right to remove any member from this trip, who in my opinion, may not have the physical ability to keep up with the group.

We have a reservation for 8 people at campsite #13. The cost of the reservation permit is $64, which I will prorate among those who attend (I won't charge anyone more than $10, so if only 5 people sign up, you'll owe at most $10).  If you do sign up, and for some reason you have to cancel, please have the courtesy to remove yourself as soon as possible so that we can give people on the waiting list sufficient notice that there is a spot for them on this event.

In addition, there is a $5 fee per day to park in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Because of the elevation that we will be camping at, about 5,000 feet, it may be much colder than you're used to.  Make sure you bring a sleeping bag that is warm enough for the conditions.  I will provide more information about the weather a few days before the hike takes place.

I recommend that you bring layers of clothes, jackets, etc. to keep yourself warm at night. We can build a fire (weather permitting) at the campsite. However, we'll probably take a nighttime stroll up to the Bald where it tends to be windy and there are no fires allowed on top to keep you warm. We'll update the weather forecast just before the trip to give you a better idea of what gear you should bring to be comfortable.

Note: Bears have been known to be active in this area of the park. We had to cancel this event a few years ago because the campsite was closed due to bear activity.

Required Items to Bring:

Tent, Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove

* Meals needed

- 1 Lunch for Saturday
- 1 Dinner for Saturday night
- 1 Breakfast for Sunday morning
- You may want to bring a snack to tie you over until we reach the River's End restaurant on the way home.
- Bring trail snacks

* Hiking Boots/Hiking Shoes
* Backpack for overnight trip
* Tent
* Sleeping Bag rated at 30 degrees or warmer
* Thermarest/Sleeping Pad
* Backpacking Stove
* Water, either in camel back or nalgene carriers

Please see the AOC Backpacking Checklist for other required and recommended items.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

* Water Filter (if you don't have one, you can borrow someone else's)
* Lighter or matches
* Bring layers, including a warm jacket - expect it to be windy on top of the Bald.
* bug spray

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Merge onto I-85 N/GA-403 N via the ramp on the LEFT. 11.9 mi
Take the I-985 N/LANIER PKWY exit, EXIT 113, on the LEFT toward GAINESVILLE. (0.2 mi)

Merge onto GA-365 N. (52.5 mi)

Take the US-23 N/US-441 N exit on the LEFT.  (0.1 mi)

Stay STRAIGHT to go onto US-23 N/US-441 N/GA-15 N. Continue to follow US-23 N/US-441 N (Crossing into NORTH CAROLINA). (43.4 mi)

Merge onto US-23 N/US-441 N toward CHEROKEE. (20.4 mi)
US-23 N/US-441 N becomes ramp. (0.3 mi)
Merge onto US-74 W. (22.4 mi)

Turn RIGHT onto NC-28. (30 mi)

end @ TwentyMile Ranger StationTwentyMile

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):362Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 6:45 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $144.80 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$8.00/Person
Cost Includes:

The reservation permit cost $64.  I will prorate the cost of the permit among the people who attend the event, but no one will be responsible for more than $10. 

There is also a $5 per day parking fee that is paid to GSMNP.

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.