Roan Mountain State Park encompasses 2,006 acres of southern Appalachian forest at the base of 6,285 foot Roan Mountain. Park elevation ranges from 3,000 feet in the valley to around 3,700 feet on surrounding ridges. Rich hardwood forests allow for a great diversity of life and a wide range of outdoor activities. Park guests have opportunities to hike along creeks and ridges, fish for trout, play tennis, swim, tour a century old farmhouse, join rangers and naturalists for educational programs, and enjoy mountain music concerts. Wildflowers and wildlife inhabit the hollows and ridges of the Roan foothills in abundance. From Dutchman's-breeches to deer, trillium to turkeys and bee balm to black bears there is always something to discover. Guests who wish to stay overnight have a choice of RV and tent camping or fully equipped AAA cabins. The Appalachian Trail and famous Rhododendron Gardens of Roan Mountain can be accessed at Carver's Gap, an 8 mile drive from the park. A naturalist is on hand year round to provide programs for visitors to the park and special groups.
A magnificent Western NC hike! Some portions are a little steep but the good thing is they do not last long, and you get constant downhill relief for all of the uphill stretches so it's not too bad on the legs. The balds are a sight to see and definitely take the short side trek to the Grassy Ridge. I also loved the short mix of forest in places.
I have done this trail since I was young and continue to do it as an elderly not "mighty woman" recreational hiker. It is a beautiful hike with few uncomfortable stepping zones. A superb spring wildflower hike with ramps, fringed gentian (I think) beautiful wildflowers in abundance with rolling hill views. It goes up gently but relentlessly, and I can do it because I hike with unhurried people.
This was a great hike even though it was overcast the entire time and heavily clouded at the top which didn't make for great pictures of the scenery. This was a very strenuous hike, even more so than Margarette Falls which is rated 2 diamonds. It took me 4 hours although I was only able to track the way there before running out of battery. The way back is much easier than the way there and of course your could always continue on to the other Balds or even to Carvers Gap. FYI, I passed multiple AT hikers who were looking for water sources while on this section of the AT.