Maddron Bald Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,544' 1,080 m
Descent: -5' -2 m
High: 5,410' 1,649 m
Low: 1,872' 571 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
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“This trail has creek crossings, rich forests and awesome views from Maddron Bald.”— Max Willner
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.
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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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park