Roan Mountain: our favorite hikes in the Roan Highlands, Roan High Knob and Roan High Bluff

Roan Mountain: hiking the Roan Highlands, Roan High Knob, Roan High Bluff and the Appalachian Trail

Hike through abundant high-elevation beauty at Roan Mountain, a series of five mountain summits on the Appalachian Trail near the NC / TN state line. With gorgeous views, lush forest and abundant wildflowers, the remarkable beauty of Roan's highlands, knob and bluff make for an exceptional hiking adventure.

Roan Mountain is vast, wide, and stunningly beautiful. More than a single mountain, Roan’s high-elevation beauty spans a series of five summits from east to west, an eclectic and widely diverse sampling of spruce-fir forest and open, wildflower-covered mountain balds. The Roan chain is bisected in the near-middle by a paved highway at Carvers Gap and traced by the epic Appalachian Trail along most of its towering ridge. It’s a fantastic venue for day hikes and backpacking adventures alike.

Roan Mountain hiking guide: top hikes in the Roan Highlands and to Roan High Knob and Roan High Bluff

 

Roan Highlands

East of Carvers Gap, the sun-drenched, grassy Roan Highlands roll skyward in a series of three summits, Round Bald, Jane Bald, and the enormous Grassy Ridge Bald, offering spectacular, nearly continuous views from the Appalachian Trail on their crest. The Roan Highlands are the longest stretch of grassy balds in the Appalachian Mountains and stand as a contrast to the rocky, tree-covered Roan Mountain duo west of Carvers Gap.

Hike the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Highlands to nearly-continuous summit views from a trio of grassy mountain baldsAbove: hike the Appalachian Trail through the grassy Roan Highlands, catching nearly continuous gorgeous views

Roan High Knob and Roan High Bluff

Roan High Knob and Roan High Bluff scale over 6200 feet, clad in lush, rocky, moss-covered forests of spruce-fir. While the views from Roan’s Knob and Bluff aren’t as sweeping and continuous as the trio on the Roan Highlands, overlooks at Roan High Knob and Roan High Bluff offer exceptional, high-elevation views. Roan’s High Knob and High Bluff are home to the world’s largest patch of rhododendron, the historic site of the Cloudland Hotel, and a historic log Appalachian Trail shelter built in 1933.

Hike to stunning summit overlook views from Roan High Bluff at Roan Mountain in NCAbove: hike to stunning views from the Roan High Bluff overlook on the Cloudland Trail

Roan Mountain: our favorite hikes

Hike through the Roan Highlands to outstanding summit views from soaring mountains, through mossy, rocky forests, and to sun-drenched fields of wild berries on the Appalachian Trail. And explore the Roan Mountain’s forested beauty on Roan High Bluff and Roan High Knob, visiting the historic site of the Cloudland Hotel and the historic Roan High Bluff AT shelter, the highest-elevation shelter on the Appalachian Trail. The mountains’ beauty is wildly varied, continually changing, and well worth the visit: Roan Mountain is home to some of our all-time favorite hikes in western North Carolina.

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