Cloudland Trail is a 2.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bakersville, NC that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
cross country skiing
Directions from Burnsville, NC: Travel east on US 19E to Spruce Pine, turn left (north) on SR 226 and follow to Bakersville. Once in Bakersville, the road changes to SR 261. Follow this to Carvers Gap where the TN / NC state line is located. Look for the Roan Mountain sign on your left and turn left on SR 1348. The Appalachian Trail crosses here. Follow SR 1348 and turn right at the first parking lot, not at the parking lot at Carvers Gap. The Cloudland trailhead is on the left as you enter the parking lot and is well marked with orange blazes.
No waterfall but the overlook at the end is spectacular
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.
A nice woodland walk to an observation point. I hiked from Carver's Gap to the Roan Mountain High Knob and then to the Bluff. I tracked the entire hike but you can pick my track at the parking lot at the Cloudland historical site and follow it to the bluff. It was foggy when I arrived at Carver's Gap so essentially there were no views to be seen today. There were no wildflowers at the high gardens either. The forest however, was quite spectacular with bright green fir trees and moss amid a back drop of brown. I took the road back to Carver's Gap and made a loop out of it.
Cloudland Trail is part of a very "civic" Cloudland Canyon State Park. We went during the fall months in 09, and found the State Park very crowded. The first part of the trail is a series of canyon cliff paths, bridges, and stairs created by the park to get to the bottom. The majority of people visiting the park, especially with kids, will stop at the bottom as this is where a large waterfall and pond is. You can continue on for about a mile, following a stream, before you reach a gate for private property. The stream and surrounding canyon is quite beautiful none the less. The climb back up can be strenuous for some, but overall, easy hike.