Appalachian Trail: Carvers Gap to US 19E is a 25.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Burnsville, NC that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
cross country skiing
This trail is great for backpacking and normally would make an overnight backpacking trip. This hike begins at Carver's Gap parking lot. You can either take the AT trail at the Carver's Gap parking lot or walk up the road 2 miles to get to the parking area near Roan High Knob. N
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!
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.
This section is truely one of the best sections of the entire AT. Outstanding views and wildflowers dominate the senses on this moderate hike. Be aware of the weather up there. It changes in an instant.
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!
Absolutely stunning views. Stay on Hump Mt. if you can.
This section is amazing. It's exactly 15 miles. We completed the entire trail in 8 hours, used the shuttle service at Mountain Harbour. Bring a pump filter, plenty of springs. Buy the official AT guidebook if you need info on this trail.
Hiking Carvers Gap to 19e in one day
April 18, 2016
This past Saturday, my roommate from college and I hiked the 15 mile section of the AT from Carvers Gap to 19e. If you are relatively active, you can do it in one day too! My roommate and I are 49 and 51 years old, with kids and we work full time. We don’t go to the gym, but I try to walk a few miles at least 2 days a week and she walks when she can….which is rarely.
Here’s what to do! Call ahead to Mountain Harbour B& B, and schedule a shuttle to take you back to Carvers Gap at 5:00 that afternoon, or whenever you think you might finish. We finished at 4:30, but scheduled a 5:00 shuttle back to our car. Cost is $40 a carload.
We started with one car at Carvers Gap at 6:30am Saturday morning, and got to enjoy a spectacular sunrise at 7:00 at the first summit, Round Bald. To say this event was the highlight of our hike that day is an understatement. It was an inspirational experience, proving God’s faithfulness of a new day, and it was evidence of the unsurpassing greatness of the Creator’s artistic hand.
Next, we headed over Jane Bald, then met a group of scouts waiting for their leaders at the junction to the Overmountain Shelter (aka The Barn), which is 5.5 miles from the trailhead. We were told that the previous night, there were about 40 people sleeping at the Barn. At this point, my stomach was growling. Time to find a place to eat! Just before the summit of Little Hump, we stopped at 11:30 for a delicious picnic at some nice boulders with a 360 degree view of the mountains surrounding us.
We climbed Little Hump Mountain, thinking to ourselves, surely this is Big Hump Mountain, because this thing is not little! But we discovered Big Hump once we got to the summit of Little Hump! MUCH bigger! It was awesome to view from below the little specks of people trekking up to the top, knowing we were going up next. My roommate Angie was simply amazed that we were doing this! It was a smooth hike, with few rocks or roots up to this point.
Coming down from Big Hump, we got into the forest again, and the trail down had the rocks and roots we typically have to navigate when hiking in the Smokies. We were glad we had chosen to travel north on the this section of the AT, because we thought if we had had to come up this section, we would not have wanted to go this far. It is roughly a 5.5 mile descent from the top of Hump Mountain to 19e, but there are a lot of switch backs and while I have 2 bad knees, they handled it fine with my Walmart knee braces on.
All along the hike, we saw these beautiful wildflowers that dotted the landscape like snow. We were told by some other hikers that they are called Spring Beauties. They were a highlight to our day.
At 19e, turn left for about a quarter mile, and the Mountain Harbour B&B will be on your right. They have a little general store there and a hostel that accommodates thru hikers. We were lucky to meet a few thru hikers while waiting for our ride back to our car at Carvers and talk to them about their hikes thus far. All of them had started at Springer Mountain in Georgia, and were headed to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. We were thrilled to share some of our extra goodies in our packs with them! Oranges were a big hit, next to the airline bottle size whiskeys we shared!
We were blessed with a beautiful day! Would not dream of doing it again without the sunrise. I also highly recommend taking along the map of the AT-Maps 1&2 of Tenn and NC . We both drank over 2.5 quarts of water that day + a coke!
We went over Easter and it was beautiful! not too many people out but we met a couple through hikers who were about a month in! My husband and I got the shuttle from Mountain Harbor Inn and made a weekend of it. it could have been a day hike but we wanted to take our time and really enjoyed Over mountain shelter (red barn)! there's a wonderful cafe in Newland that we visited Sunday morning called Kaye's Kitchen and it hit the spot! water sources were a bit dried up so maybe take some extra with you!
great part of the A.T. spectacular views from the balds . great places to camp also . fun trail look forward to doing it again.
Great hike. Made it to Bradley Gap by 3:30 and decided to utilize the campsites there before it started getting dark (and cold). The next day woke up to a frozen trail and a tough climb up Hump Mountain. Then a long, long decent down to Hwy 19. Beautiful scenery...even in the cold weather season. Highly recommended.
It's a great trail for the whole family. The climb to the top of grassy Bald ridge was most rigorous. We camped on the side of the mountain and found it difficult to find a good clear spot, but there was plenty of water just a few hundred yards past where the AT trail goes up to the ridge. Very very windy. Gusts of 25 at least. Incredible views!
Started at Carvers Gap, made it to the Balds for sunrise...incredible sight. Trail was well maintained, but I went after a period of steady rain, and the mud really slowed me down. Wanted to do a 16 mile out and back to Big Hump, but due to the mud had to cut it short to 10. The elevation change back to Carvers Gap isn't bad, but think twice about doing it after a rain...the mud was a buzz kill (for me).
I'm from Tucson, Arizona, but got a summer internship out in Wilmington, NC. I made it out to the Appalachian trail before leaving and boy what an adventure. I parked at the Carver's Gap trailhead and hiked up the Grassy Ridge Bald to set up camp for the night (its about a 15-20 min climb). The next morning I took down the camp and went back to my car to put everything away, and started on my hike.
I hiked from Carver's Gap to Little Hump Mountain and back, taking the Appalachian Trail route. The trail was absolutely lovely, not too rocky and well marked. Not too much traffic, but I wasn't completely alone either.
On the way I checked out some of the AT spots, like the big red barn shelter (quite impressive!).
I hiked 16 miles in 6 hrs. Lovely trail and I'm glad I was able to at least hike some of the Appalachian Trail!
This trail has something for everyone, from casual day walkers to campers. Experienced hikers have commented to me that this is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Appalachian Trail.
I'm in my 60s and got into walking for fitness in a big way several years ago, but I do most of my walking on a green line in Memphis. On this stretch of trail (I have walked as far as Hump Mountain and back), I have seen everyone from families with small children to people even older than I am.
Take highway 143 from US 19E, and you enter Cherokee National Forest. Eventually, you pass through Roan Mountain State Park. Continue up the mountain until you see a "Welcome to North Carolina" sign, and to your left, you will see the foot of Round Bald. To your right, there is a small parking area, a restroom (basically a very nice, modern outhouse), and a small educational exhibit about the balds, grassy upland meadows that are not really supposed to exist in this climate but do so anyway.
If you head north (up the hill toward the summit of Round Bald), you will be hiking the stretch of trail that this page is about; if you head south, a different stretch of the trail will take you to the former site of the Cloudland Hotel, which operated there from about 1885 to around 1910 and straddled the Tennessee-North Carolina line.
Walking to the summit of Round Bald has you at 5,800 feet, with 360-degree breathtaking views. It's very easily walkable. You descend and then climb another summit to Jane Bald, descend again and climb another summit, and this time, the AT proper branches off to the left.
You then walk through 2 or 3 miles of forest, with the trail gradually descending in a decline of what I suppose must be at least several hundred feet. Eventually, you reach the Stan Murray shelter, a wooden platform with three walls and a roof and one or two picnic tables a few feet away. I can't remember if there is a fire pit. There are no "facilities" that I remember, here or anywhere else (except the one I already mentioned back at the small parking area at Carver's Gap).
Heading on from Stan Murray, you continue to descend (though you are still high enough that on a cloudy day, you may literally walk through a cloud), and I would say that this time, the descent must be at least a thousand feet or more. About an hour or so past Stan Murray, the AT is intersected by the Overmountain Victory Trail, the route that Revolutionary War patriots took to march south and route a British led Tory force in the Battle of King's Mountain. At this point, you can turn left and walk a half hour down the Overmountain Victory Trail to the Overmountain Shelter, a spacious, refurbished barn. Its loft is huge and looks as though it could accommodate a few dozen people in sleeping bags. There is also a fire pit, a picnic table (if I remember correctly), and even a couple of slabs for sleeping that are outdoors but still under the overhang of the barn's loft. The barn gives a nice view of the valley.
If you want to continue on the AT, you can walk back to where the two trails intersected, turn right, and continue. At this point, contrary to the gradual switchbacks of earlier sections of the trail, you are going straight up a very steep hill for at least 150 feet (I suppose they had to do it that way, because there is a fence right next to the trail, which must demarcate private property). It's a bit of a tough climb, but when you reach the top, you can look back out over the picturesque valley and see the barn, far below.
Continuing on, you go through some more woods and then emerge into a beautiful mountain meadow, again, with striking and spacious views all around. At this point, you are at or near Hump Mountain. Crossing the meadow, you enter more woods, and this was about as far as I got before needing to turn around, so I could get back to Carver's Gap before dark.
If you follow this stretch of the trail all the way, you come out at US 19E once more. I have been told, though I have not verified this, that some hikers park their cars along 19E and then hike back to them, only to find them vandalized. A mountain hiker's hostel, Mountain Harbor Bed and Breakfast, on 19E, offers a shuttle service to its guests, while they leave their cars parked safely on Mountain Harbor's lot (I have no connection with Mountain Harbor, and no one asked me to post this).
If you are a day hiker, as I am, there are good restaurants in Banner Elk, North Carolina, not far away.
Did this hike along with 5 others. Two younger scouts and parents. Although the hike is considered difficult we took 2.5 days to do it and it was a great trip. The weather was wonderful with little rain which was welcome at the time. The views are outstanding. We walked under canopies of rhododendrons and really nice forrest. There are also great open areas of balds and grassy fields. This part of the trail has had a "lot" of work done by volunteers "qudoos guys". What a wonderful hike and anyone who enjoys hiking should make this trip.
We only did a section of this hike, but are planning to go back and camp out and do the whole thing. What we did do in a day was absolutely beautiful. We went in June and the rhododendrons were so beautiful. There were azaleas I think and something else as well. It was just breathtaking. This was the most beautiful hike I've ever experienced.
SO beautiful regardless of how steep the climbs get.