Just a reminder for those wishing to see one of the greatest sites in the Smokies: the flame azaleas atop Gregory Bald should be nearing peak bloom within the next week or two.
Tom Harrington, a volunteer for the Great Smoky Mountains who provides regular wildflower updates for the Great Smoky Mountains Association, recently stated:
"I checked my diary back to 1995, and the middle of June has been the peak for the Flame Azalea blooms on Gregory Bald during those years. When I have gone during the third full week of June the blooms have been past peak. With the extreme heat they likely will peak early."
This is one of my all time favorite hiking destinations. If interested in making the hike, the two most common ways of reaching Gregory Bald are via the Gregory Ridge Trail off of Forge Creek Road, and the Gregory Bald Trail off the one-way Parson Branch Road. You can also reach Gregory Bald (via Wolf Ridge Trail or Long Hungry Ridge Trail) from the more remote Twentymile trailhead in North Carolina as well.