Appalachian Trail Three Bald Hike

MODERATE 100 reviews
#8 of 121 trails in

Appalachian Trail Three Bald Hike is a 4.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bakersville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1240 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

scenic driving

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Grassy Ridge, along the eastern flank of Roan Mountain, is the longest stretch of grassy bald in the Appalachian Mountains, and is an easy hiking destination starting from Carvers Gap. The Roan Highlands are traversed by the Appalachian Trail. Roan Highlands is a 20-mile massif stretching from Big Rock Creek in the west, to U.S. Route 19 in the east. Most of the massif lies along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Roan Mountain itself contains five mountain peaks, and is divided into two sections by Carvers Gap. To the west of the Gap are Roan High Bluff and Roan High Knob, with Tollhouse Gap and Rhododendron Gardens lying between the two peaks. To the east of Carvers Gap is the section of Roan Mountain known as Grassy Ridge, which includes the three peaks: Round Bald, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge Bald. The bald area, spanning roughly 7 miles and covering an area roughly equal to 1000 acres, includes the summits of all three peaks. The Hike to Grassy Ridge Bald: The trail begins with a series of wooden steps leading up to the summit of Round Bald. Due to the awesome views and the short distance (roughly 0.7 miles), this first summit can be quite crowded at times. The farther you walk, however, the less crowded it becomes. Continuing northbound along the Appalachian Trail for another 0.7 miles (technically walking eastward) you reach Jane Bald. In between Round and Jane you lose and regain about 200 feet before reaching the 5807-foot summit of Jane Bald. Partially overgrown by rhododendron, the bald area atop Jane is much smaller than its two neighbors. Local legend has it that the peak received its name after a woman named "Jane" died of milk sickness while crossing the mountain. Milk sickness is poisoning by milk from cows that have eaten white snakeroot. Coming off Jane Bald you descend about 100 feet before beginning the final climb of almost 500 feet to the summit of Grassy Ridge Bald. At roughly 1.9 miles the Appalachian Trail takes a turn towards the left. At this junction you'll see a side trail that continues straight ahead. This will take you to the summit of Grassy Ridge Bald - the trail cuts through rhododendron thickets. After a relatively stiff climb you reach the huge grassy meadows atop the peak. The panoramic views from the summit area are spectacular, giving you a feeling of the Swiss Alps. On a clear day you can see Grandfather, Beech and Sugar Mountains towards the east, and Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains towards the south. Grassy Ridge Bald dominates the center of Grassy Ridge. At an elevation of 6189 feet, it's one of the highest grassy balds in the Appalachian Mountains. Scattered throughout the meadows on the summit, as well as along most of the trail, you'll find beautiful specimens of rhododendron and flame azaleas, as well as many wild flowers along the route, including the rare Gray's Lily that is indigenous to the area. Many people say that this stretch of trail is the most beautiful section along the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. 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. The park is located on Highway 143 southeast of Johnson City, TN.

hiking
3 days ago

This is especially beautiful in end of June

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

7 days ago

Did this trail again today for the umpteenth time. Never gets old and offers some of the best hiking in the eastern US.

hiking
13 days ago

camping
15 days ago

camping
15 days ago

3rd time camping/hiking here. I gotta say, coming from a guy who has been on a ton of hikes, this is one of my absolute favorite trails. Worth the long drive for me to get here. I haven't been on a bald more beautiful than these 3 on this trail. So many great camping spots and the views are just amazing. If you are going to camp here, GO EARLY. Especially in the summer it gets pretty crazy with volume of people. The sunrise in the mountains is like nothing else. Absolute must do trail.

hiking
15 days ago

23 days ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I gave this hike 5 stars for the views alone. Much of the hike is surrounded by beautiful 360 degree views of the mountains. If you want picturesque views of the East TN/ Western NC mountains, then this is the place! As others have said, you're exposed to the elements the entire hike so dress & pack appropriately. The trail is well maintained & very busy for the first half of the hike. Good trail for dogs or kids that are used to hiking.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Had to cut our hike short due to an injury in our family group of 5 but looking forward to finish what we started. Incredible views everywhere. Lots of people and dogs but when you have views like this nothing can spoil the fun.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful day. Great hike with views throughout. 7 and 10 year old were thrilled

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

I'm pretty much obsessed with the Appalachian Trail, and one day in future will Thru Hike it, but time being I love to do small Hikes on it! This was such a beautiful hike! The 3 balds took only about 3hrs round trip, stopping at grassy ridge for a little..I went this past Saturday and Trail was basically all mud and ice, so some caution but that's to be expected..all and all an amazing time and would love to do it again!

hiking
3 months ago