Hike south on the Appalachian Trail to Snowbird Gap. Leave the meadow and ascend to the top of the bald. Spectacular views, almost 360 degrees seeing Lake Nantahala, Wayah Bald and Winespring Bald.
Total Hike Distance: 4 miles Rating: M Elevation: 920′
The hike departs from the picnic area at Wayah Gap, located just off NC SR1310, Wayah Road. The hike trails eastbound through the picnic area, quickly coming to a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and turning right to follow the AT southbound to Siler Bald. The trail begins a climb to the mountain’s summit, ducking under a dense tunnel of rhododendron before crossing a rustic wood bridge at .2 mile.
The AT meanders through the forest, climbing elevation through broad switchbacks and crossing a small, trickling spring at .5 mile. Between-the-trees views start to emerge on trail right as the Appalachian Trail arcs westbound.
The trail swings eastbound at .8 mile, continuing the climb. The AT passes a Snowbird Gap sign at 1.5 miles, just before exiting tree cover and entering a grassy clearing. A trail leads to an AT shelter to the left. The hike hangs a right, departing the Appalachian Trail to hike Trail #373A, the Siler Bald Vista Trail, to the summit.
The adventure makes a final climb, and broad, sweeping views start to unfold from behind. (To help protect the grassy mountaintop from erosion, let’s hike through the grass, and not the deeply-rutted trail, to the summit.) The trail passes a small campsite at 1.7 miles before arcing southeast and making the final summit climb.
The hike reaches the mountain’s grass-covered summit at 1.8 miles. Expansive views unfold in every direction, stretching far into the surrounding Nantahala National Forest, toward Franklin, and south toward Georgia.
Be sure to notice the fire-tower-topped Wayah Bald to the northeast, as is nearby Wine Spring Bald to the north (topped with communications towers). Albert Mountain, another exceptional NC Appalachian Trail hike, is visible on the far horizon to the southeast – we might see the tower we’ve climbed up before!
GPS the trailhead at Wayah Gap: 35.153806855256846, -83.58129862840418 for driving directions, or walking if you’re in the AT!