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Grassy Ridge Bald via Appalachian Trail

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Pisgah National Forest

Grassy Ridge Bald via Appalachian Trail is a 4.7 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: 4.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,033 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

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.

1 day ago

A great hike! Arrived at 5pm on a holiday weekend and found a parking spot, but it was nearly full and people were parking in questionable spots. My 8 month 50lb doodle did fine, other than being scared of fireworks in the distance.

muddy
rocky
washed out
1 day ago

literally my #1 favorite trail. theres a lot of traffic passing the other balds, but usually it's much less crowded when you make it to grassy ridge. the rewards are well worth the hike. a great choice even if visibility is low

2 days ago

Absolutely beautiful!

hiking
2 days ago

Absolutely stunning 360-degree views from a well-maintained trail. Highly recommend!

I love this hike flowers mostly gone. Lots of folks camping on the top of Grassy Ridge Bald this weekend.....I love this hike its amazing.

Highly recommend. Beautiful trail rated appropriately as moderate. a few tips. 1. get there early. I arrived at 8 am on a weekend. It was a great hike going up. Going down was way too crowded for my liking. I would arrive no later than 7 if you like peace and solitude like I do. 2. wear a hat and sunscreen. There is very little shade and I imagine one could get badly burned without sun protection. 3. bring a picnic for the top. 4. have fun!

hiking
2 days ago

Forever my favorite trail :) Get there early if you want to have a parking space. The sunrises are stunning. 360 degree views the majority of the hike. Bring bug spray for sure, and dress in layers. Starts out cool, but the balds get hot as the day goes on with no shelter from the sun. Happy hiking!

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

beautiful trail!!

hiking
7 days ago

Gorgeous and easy hike to 360 degree views. Early to mid-June seems to be peak for rhododendron and flame azaleas but sunsets are every night :)

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
8 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful panoramic vistas with blooming wildflowers and rhododendron. One of my favorite hikes ever. I left my home in upstate SC in the 80s and enjoyed this hike in the 60s (glad I had a jacket) - really refreshing weather for the middle of June.

Balds were beautiful this morning, Azaleas are in bloom! Hike up was low traffic, very few people. Return trip down was quite a bit more busy. The parking lot was a hot mess!

hiking
11 days ago

This trail has gorgeous views with a alpine feel almost the entire length. I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful trail! Had some amazing views but unfortunately ran into clouds going into the last bald and spent the hike back stuck in rain. Would still recommend this hike 100%.. just maybe in better weather.

Views are incredible, but very exposed the majority of the time (bring sunscreen and hat!) no water for dogs, be sure to pack extra and a dish. VERY heavily trafficked for the first mile and steady traffic until the last peak, well worth it to go to the end! Great picnic spots.

muddy
rocky
14 days ago

Roan Mountain in all its glory cannot be beat. When the flame azaleas and rhododendrons are blooming it is a site to behold!

Great trail on a beautiful day! Many of the rhododendrons were out in full bloom as well as colorful azaleas and other pretty flowers. It was very busy at the first bald and as we went onto Jane bald and Grassy ridge the crowds lessened.

hiking
15 days ago

Fantastic views! Breezy and cool. Wonderful hike.

no shade
rocky
15 days ago

Mountain range views are amazing!! Start off with a short wooded walk then the rest is without shade. A lot of the trail is rock(larger than gravel!) some large steps here and there. Very popular trail.

hiking
16 days ago

Amazing hike, but so crowded

20 days ago

Hiked it in Sunday 6/15. Got up there about 10 AM and there was still some parking available. It has amazing views the whole way. It is somewhat strenuous but you shouldn't have any problems if you are in halfway decent shape.

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