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Maddron Bald Trail



7.4 mile 11.9 kilometer point to point
79% Runnable


Ascent: 3,544' 1,080 m
Descent: -5' -2 m
High: 5,410' 1,649 m
Low: 1,872' 571 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Max Willner

This trail has creek crossings, rich forests and awesome views from Maddron Bald.

Max Willner

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife

All campsites must be registered with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park also closes secondary roads on a seasonal schedule due to snow. Schedules can be found here.

Backcountry rules and regulations can be found here.


The trailhead is on Laurel Springs Road, just off of Highway 321. It's a 7.4 mile trail that ends at Snake Den Ridge Trail.

The first couple of miles of this trail are pretty relaxed, and they follow a creek. In less than a mile, runners will find a small cabin that was built in the late 1800s. In about a mile, there's a creek crossing before coming to a junction with Gabes Mountain Trail to the left and Old Settlers Trail to the right.

Continuing onwards, runners will pass a row of boulders and then ascend a ridge where they will come to a fork that will allow you to take Albright Grove Loop Trail before continuing back on to Maddron Bald Trail. Albright Grove Loop Trail is 0.6 miles; should runners choose to skip this trail, it's 0.3 miles before they pass the other end of the small loop.

From here, the trail gradually ascends. The trail will cross Otter Creek, just next to Campsite #29. Some (but not all) of the campsites are a little rocky, and not ideal for tent stakes. It's not far from here to Maddron Bald, where you can get a wonderful panoramic view of the Smokies.

After that, it's less than a mile before runners reach Snake Den Ridge Trail, where they can either turn right towards the Appalachian Trail (AT) or left for a lengthy run back towards the Cosby Campground.

Flora & Fauna

The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit the park's website.

As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders.

Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus).

For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage.

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Apr 29, 2019
Chris Gaddy
HATED IT!!!! Rocks, roots, and downed trees made for a very frustrating run. The ascent was fairly easy but the constant stopping to maneuver downed 10mi — 2h 15m
May 27, 2018
Stacia W

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 7 votes


in Cosby


  3.3 from 7 votes
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