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.
Christina T. on Appalachian Trail: Carver's Gap to Yellow Mountain Gap
Big red barn or "over mountain shelter" was our destination. Beautiful variety and great views. Broke my shoes 2 miles in and made the rest of the 8 miles by the grace of duct tape. Groups of thru-hikers were at the barn but it wasn't uncomfortably crowded. Loved hearing their stories and waking up to that view.
The Cloudland Trail is part of the wonderful Roan Mountain experience. It runs from the old Cloudland Hotel site past the Rhododendron Gardens to the viewing platform on Roan High Bluff. It is not difficult, with spectacular views and special scenery. The road up from Carvers Gap is only open during the warmer months, but those looking for a great workout can always hike the Appalachian Trail up and over Roan High Knob to get there.
One of the most beautiful sections of the AT.
Help! Lost a Rainbow Tarptent in the fist 1.5 miles of the climb up from Carvers Gap heading to 19E on Friday, 30 Sep at around 10:00-1130 a.m. Somehow the tent came off my pack.......its not marked with my name, address or phone number. If found I will pay for shipping to retrieve it (please text 423-598-8422, Randy). This hike has to be one of the prettier sections on the lower half of the AT. It's absolutely surreal up on top, indescribable!
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.
My wife and I, first time on the AT and this portion was outstanding! Met some great people on the way and camped near "the barn"! Great community there! We will definitely be back!
Incredible gorgeous hike. At ~ 2 miles you can turn right and climb to the top of Grassy Ridge for a 360 degree panorama and a modest respite from the "Black Friday at Walmart" crowds down on the AT. Is there water near Grassy Ridge? This ancient rhyme gives a hint:
In ancient times ’twas story told,
From travelers who ventured to the dry crest
Of Grassy Ridge, whose autumn grass turns gold
And beckons the weary to lie down and rest.
A story of treasure to be found
In the reaches of this sun-bleached land,
A treasure hidden beneath the hallowed ground,
A balm to reward a waterless band.
For surely where the rhododendron blooms
In hues so vivid and intense,
There must be water coursing subterranean flumes
To support such life, but whence?
If the tales be true, then cross the peak,
And descend into the saddle next.
Then turn to your left hand cheek,
Breath deep and remain unvexed.
A brief foray downward from the gap
Will lead you to the aqua vitae free.
Drink deep, for few have from this tap,
Then count your blessings on bended knee.
I find this to be a great section of trail to hike. Of course I may be a little prejudiced since I've maintained this trail from Greasy Creek Gap to Hughes Gap for 12 years.
We camped at a site right at the AT and Overmountain shelter intersection the first night. Planned to camp at Bradley Gap the second night, but noticed the water source there was dry. Continued our hike up to Hump Mountain instead and then back to Overmountain shelter for the night and camped at the grassy overlook area where the water was reliable. Views are extremely beautiful and hiking through the balds felt surreal. Solitude is not something you will find here, but conversations with other backpackers were very nice. We had such a great time and even experienced our first AT "trail magic"! Thank you to the solo hiker who found my GoPro and all the other hikers who gave us leads on his whereabouts! What an adventure it was!