Siler Bald via the AT

  • Highlights: grassy summit, views, fall foliage, Appalachian Trail, Nantahala National Forest
  • Distance:  3.6 mile out and back
  • Elevation change:  1,000 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Wayah Gap picnic area on Wayah Road, about 14 miles west of Franklin NC
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Lazy Hiker Brewing: Springer Fever pilsner and 20 Mile IPA

The Hike:

We love bald mountains and we love the Appalachian Trail.  This hike checks both boxes. The trail is well marked. From the picnic area parking lot, follow a short .1 mile connector trail to the Appalachian Trail. Turn right on the AT heading south and follow the white blazes.   

The first part of the trail is fairly steep and you will ascend over 500 feet in less than half a mile. Cross a rustic footbridge over a small stream as you continue the climb. At one mile the climb continues but it is not as steep. At about 1.4 miles, enter Snowbird Gap and the trail opens up to a grassy meadow. 

The AT continues into the woods where the Siler Bald Shelter is located. However, for this hike, take a right up a side trail to the summit of Siler Bald. This section of the trail is steep, but the views at the summit are well worth the effort. The top of the bald provides a panoramic nearly 360° degree view of the surrounding mountains. In the fall the colors are stunning. Take it all in. After you have enjoy what makes Siler Bald so special, retrace your steps to return to your vehicle. You have earned a beer.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

The nearest town to Siler Bald is Franklin NC, which is fortunate to have not one but two breweries. For this hike, the Lazy Hiker Brewery is on our itinerary.  While we don’t consider ourselves lazy, we do like the focus on hiking at this brewery which features live music and food trucks complement the excellent selection of craft beers. Pete really liked the Springer fever pilsner. Springer Mountain of course is the southern terminus of the AT. During the warmer months, a crisp, refreshing pilsner after a great hike is as good as it gets. Kathy really liked the 20 Mile IPA, a west coast-style IPA made with Centennial and Columbus hops. It is very hoppy at 78 IBUs.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.

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