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Gregory Bald Azaleas

Charlotte, North...
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Gregory Bald Azaleas

Does anyone have an idea on when Gregory Bald's flame azaleas are expected to peak this year? I know it is usually best around June 15-25, but I figure that with the especially harsh winter it might be later. I likely will not be able to hike it this summer, unfortunately, but it was amazing last year. My parents are hoping to hike it, but may have to wait until July 10-11. Is there any chance they'd still have a good show that weekend?

Thanks,

Sean

P.S. for John or Ashe who helped with my Mount Sterling backpacking trip...it went very well...I plan to follow up with a short trip report sometime this week hopefully.

Chattanooga...
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1. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

I'm going up with a bunch on the 24th, and expecting a fine show. Last year I camped at #13 on June 29th & 30th, expecting the azaleas to be on the down side. But they were gorgeous. I put a trip report out here with about 130+ pictures. I used to think prime time was around June 17-20, but now after last year's experience I've revised that out to June 20-23. But I wouldn't expect much on July 10-11. And remind your parents that they can't turn back toward Maryville if they come out Parsons Branch Road; the rockslide has US129 closed east of there near the Foothills Pkwy.

I was up on Newton Bald yesterday and there were lots of those pale orange and pale yellow wild down-in-the-woods azaleas in full bloom. That makes me feel that things are probably pretty much on schedule.

Glad the Mt Sterling thing went well. Looking forward to all the gory details...

Tullahoma, Tennessee
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2. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

I was in the park from June 4 through 7. Saw only a little laurel and rhododedndron in bloom and noticed that much of the rhododendron had no buds to open. I hope this does not indicate what will be the case with the azaleas.

nashville
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3. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

now! go, go, go! no, i'm kidding. but i've heard everything's on an earlier-than-usual schedule this year. i saw pictures from someone's trip last week and it looked like a lot of shrubs were already blooming, but not most.

they should be good for a couple weeks, but July 10 is probably pushing it. but!... Andrews Bald is 1000ft higher than Gregory, so it blooms later... they should try that unless they're dead-set on Gregory. it's a MUCH MUCH easier hike, too.

here's a link to bloom reports in the park... nothing on the high elevation azaleas just yet, but it usually ends up on here:

thegreatsmokymountains.org/wildflowers_and_t…

...glad your trip went well. do share.

bowling...
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4. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

We hiked to the bald on Tuesday (6-08).The Azaleas are in full bloom.They were beautiful!!!!!!!!!

Ohio
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5. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

smokies_hiker -

Which trail do you prefer to take to reach Gregory's Bald ?

I am planning on going next week also.

nashville
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6. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

not to dampen the mood but the park wildflower report updated just yesterday. apparently the azaleas are already at peak and aren't expected to last long due to the recent heat wave.

Tom Harrington, park naturalist:

"Special Note: Flame azaleas are at peak on Gregory Bald. The best blooms will last about another week (due to intense heat)."

thegreatsmokymountains.org/wildflowers_and_t…

Chattanooga...
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7. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

Well, maybe things are a little ahead of schedule this year. The heat has been quite unreal lately. But if "best blooms will last about another week", then I'll be there only a day or two past that. And I like my chances with second best or even third best blooms with all the blooms there are on Gregory. I was surprised at mountainfever's June 8 report; that's really early. I guess the azaleas have an even longer blooming period than I had thought. But, anyway, it's all good; we'll have lots to look at, I'm confident.

Traveler0, I prefer the Gregory Bald Trail out of Sam's Gap, but I remember that you didn't want to drive Parsons Branch Road (actually I enjoy that drive). Gregory Bald Trail is shorter and less climbing, which makes it the best choice for taking my group up; but Gregory Ridge Trail is still doable, and there are a couple places on it where you can get a little bit of a view thru the trees.

Someone who was considering going with me next week asked (in all seriousness, I think) if you couldn't just drive up to somewhere at that elevation, and then hike without the climbing. Sorry; although it's well worth the price, that is the price you pay to get to Gregory Bald.

Chattanooga...
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8. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

I have reservations to stay at 13 on Thursday night so this is great news for me. I'm taking my wife on her first backpacking trip. Originally we were going to to the twentymile loop but with 129 closed, it makes it much more difficult logistically for us.

Chattanooga...
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9. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

ChattaBen, not sure I follow you. Are you going in from Parsons Branch or from Twenty Mile? Logistically, yeah you'll have to come home via Cherohala (my choice next week) or thru Murphy, NC, if you're coming out on Parsons Branch, but that's not so bad. Just be sure to be out past Deal's Gap before the gate is closed at 8PM. If you're beginning and ending at Twenty Mile, the drive there is just plain tedious regardless of whether you come from TN on 129 or come up thru Murphy. And if you're going up Wolf Ridge Trail from Twenty Mile, be sure to pack plenty of intestinal fortitude!

Anyway, take spare batteries for the camera, or lots of film if you still have one of that kind. And have a great trip!

Charlotte, North...
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10. Re: Gregory Bald Azaleas

Wow...this is all very interesting information to me, even though I guess it means bad news for my parents. Oh well...maybe next year, although they always say that and then June gets busy. I've been to Gregory Bald twice and went up the Gregory Ridge Trail both times...I think the hike is fantastic...a little bit of everything! I'll probably have to make it up there again this August for the blueberries and bears!

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