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  • Gregory Bald for the Azaleas

Gregory Bald for the Azaleas

  • 06/16/2023
  • 6:30 AM
  • Cades Cove Ranger Kiosk
  • 3


  • Both members and visitors may register.

Registration is closed

SANP Field Event

Gregory Bald for the Azaleas

Friday, June 16, 2023


Leader:  Dale Potter               Phone:  (865) 773-8114             E-mail:

Meeting place: Cades Cove Ranger Kiosk, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Time: 6:30 am

Registration available:  Beginning today

Flaming azaleas at Gregory's Bald is a sight worth seeing and photographing.  Before you get too excited there are some things you should know.  

This event is limited to those using a DSLR or mirrorless camera.  This is not an event for cellphone users as space for this event will be limited. If you are new for this type of field event, I will inquire about your camera and physical conditioning. 

This event is a hike up to the bald. You have time now to start conditioning yourself for this event if you are seriously interested.  The roundtrip is about 12 miles.  You will want to use hiking poles, bring plenty of water, lunch and snack, along with bug spray and sunscreen. This is not a leisurely stroll. It is a nice hike but not as tough as going to Mt. LeConte or Mt. Cammerer. 

For a map, profile of the trail, and the gps coordinates of the trail to Gregory Bald can be found and downloaded at this dropbox link.  This is not an event you want to do without someone familiar with the Bald area.  There are several ways up to the Bald, this route up is the easiest in my opinion.   You need to be walking comfortably at a steady pace up to seven miles on a regular basis with some elevation.

The azaleas come in a variety of colors.  Timing is key to seeing the most variety of colors. This event is currently scheduled for a Friday, however, that date may be rescheduled due to the weather, or if the azaleas are peaking early.  The potential dates are Friday through Monday the 19th. 

How long will this event take?  ALL DAY long.  Bring enough water to make it to the top without any issue. Staying hydrated is important. Depending on the weather you could easily go through 2 liters of water on the way up. Near the top, we can stop to refill your water supply at a spring that was at an old hiking shelter on the Bald. It is not a marked spring.  

We will photograph the azaleas when we arrive at the Bald. Take a break for lunch and relax and then photograph some more.  Afterwards we will head down the trail back to our vehicles.  

Bring one camera, but you may want more than one lens.  You may want a landscape lens and a close up.  If you have filters to step down the amount of light, you may want to bring them as the light might be harsh later in the morning and early afternoon, but filters can help.  A tripod will most definitely be useful if you decide to try focus stacking.


Bring a raincoat as you never know what the weather may be like. The Bald can be windy.  It can also feel like a cold winter rain if it should rain while we are there.

The number of spaces available are limited.  I do not expect to take more than eight as this is a photography event you must hike to get the pics and not a hiking event to the Bald. If you plan on going, I suggest you sign up and not wait. If there are more that sign up, then expected I will pick those that can attend this event.

We will meet at Cades Cove Loop Road Information Kiosk at 6:00 am ready to enter the Loop when the gate opens at sunrise.  We will take as few cars as possible to the trailhead due to limited parking at the trailhead. 

Once you are on this trip you are committed for the entire day.  If there are any changes to this event, I will update everyone when or if those changes are made.  

Remember a parking pass is required to park in the Smokies.

If you have any questions or concerns about the event, email me.  The photos are a sampling of the variety of colors.


Driving directions:  Cades Cove Ranger Kiosk, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Restrooms:  Your choice along the Bald

How to Find Me: Red Jeep Wrangler

Contacts:     Jerry Whaley, President       Julie Glibbery, Membership Manager       General Information

Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
Mailing address: 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Ste 107A-231, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
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