Roan Highlands
Cited the most scenic stretch of the A.T.
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Roan Mountain - Pisgah National Forest, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
17.4 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

8 hours and 30 minutes with 1 hour and 15 minutes of breaks
4,630 ft
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Park on Hughes Gap Rd/TN 2680. 36.13685, -82.14091

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

Roan Mountain and the Roan Highlands are famous for having the largest natural Catawba rhododendron gardens in the world. The heath shrubs, concentrated among Roan Mountain Gardens, Carvers Gap, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge Bald, produce beautiful pink and purple flowers once a year during the month of June. Due to the popularity of the rhododendron blooms and the vistas from the mountaintops, Carvers Gap can be overrun most summer weekends. Carvers Gap is the unofficial bisection of the Roan Highlands and the shortest access to the eastern section of expansive balds. By comparison, Roan Mountain on the west side of Carvers Gap is a mixture of heath balds, spruce-fir forests, and rugged cliffs. This companion hike to the popular Roan Highlands hike explores everything Roan Mountain has to offer. Beginning at Hughes Gap, the hike follows the Appalachian Trail north (compass south) through hardwood forests before climbing to the heights of Roan Mountain. From there you’ll take the Cloudland Trail to views from Roan High Bluff and explore the Roan Mountain Gardens. If you decide to continue the Appalachian Trail, you will be able to summit the high point of the Unaka Mountains and experience outstanding views from the balds. You have the option of doing all of this as a long day hike, or a starting point for a long backpacking trip.

Mid June
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