Cherohala Skyway pt 2: Balds

There are several balds in the area, but 3 in particular are right on the Skyway and are very easy to reach.  Headed TN-NC, the first will be Hooper’s Bald, which has a parking area with a bathroom and a picnic table and is on the right side of the road, labeled.  It’s over 5,000 feet up!

There is a half mile trail from the parking area that leads gradually up to the bald, which is mowed once a year to keep it open.  This bald is enclosed by trees all the way around, so there’s almost no view off into the vast distances, but it’s still pretty magical to come out of the trees into what is basically a big pasture.  It’s a nice walk, too-the perfect length to get the blood moving after a drive.

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On the far mountain top, that flat spot is Huckleberry Knob as seen from Hooper’s Bald.

The next bald is a twofer, Huckleberry Knob.  There is a tiny 4-5 car parking area off the Skyway (on the left, labeled).  There is an info sign, but no bathroom or picnic space.

The trail is about a mile one way and leads up through woods on an access road (used by the annual mowers) and pops out at Oak Knob bald.  The trail crosses the bald and enters the woods again on the other side and climbs to Huckleberry Knob, the highest point on the Skyway.  This bald has views in every direction and the trail keeps going on to a smaller bald called Little Huckleberry Knob.

The grass can get quite high in summer, so dress in long sleeves and legs.  There is no water on either trail, come prepared.  Picnics at the top are quite enjoyable and camping is allowed if it’s more than 300 feet off the Skyway.

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Crossing Oak Knob

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From Huckleberry-that’s Oak Knob in the middle and on the top of the far mountain is tiny Hopper’s Bald.
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Oak Knob headed back toward the parking area.
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