Grassy Ridge Bald via Appalachian Trail

MODERATE 119 reviews
#8 of 123 trails in

Grassy Ridge Bald via Appalachian Trail 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

backpacking

birding

camping

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

backpacking
14 days ago

What a great retreat. Super busy on the weekends. Wouldn't recommend Saturday mornings unless you camp Friday night and leave early.
It's a short out and back with some brief climbs through azalea scrub tunnels. Definitely worth the trip. Best views in the area and possibly the SE.

hiking
15 days ago

camping
20 days ago

We took our 4 year old hiking and camping here and it was amazing. It is a bit rocky and wet in some spots so make sure you have some good shoes. Amazing views! We ended up camping on Jane Bald and the view when you wake up in the morning was amazing as the clouds were all below us.

Beautiful views!

hiking
24 days ago

24 days ago

The Views the Views , awesome!!!! This trail is a must.

backpacking
30 days ago

This trail is incredible. We set up camp on Round Bald and trekked up to Grassy Ridge Bald. The views are immaculate. The wildlife is abundant. We sat on the third bald taking in the views, when a beautiful doe walked right up to us, about 10 feet away! She watched us and continued eating, not a care in the world that we were there! There were lots of rabbits up there, as well.

1 month ago

absolutely amazing scenery the whole trail!

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible views! It rained pretty hard in the morning, so it was quite muddy with lots of puddles and muck and water running down the trail when we hiked in the afternoon. We parked at Carver's Gap and were gone about 4 hours. We hiked up to the Grassy Ridge bald and stopped for lunch and then hiked on further up to the next ridge - not sure of the name. The trail up to there was beyond narrow! But the views were superb. We loved this hike! I would have loved to have been able to come a few weeks ago to see the blooms.

hiking
1 month ago

You can't go wrong choosing this trail, it's amazing. Just make sure you make it to Grassy. A lot of people stop at the Rex plaque and turn back. Shame.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

A beautiful, wonderful hike worth the two hour drive to get there! End of June and the weather was perfect. There are a few little spurs that you can take to check out different views, and a walked a little further on the AT, and then doubled back to Grassy Ridge Bald, to make the hike a little longer.

hiking
1 month ago

This is especially beautiful in end of June

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months 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
2 months ago