Thursday, June 26, 2008

Roan High Bluff Overlook

This one just makes me laugh. Milligan College photography major Michael Kaal (click here to see his gallery) and Duke check out the view from the Roan High Bluff Overlook. The view is amazing -- and the short hike to get there is just as thrilling. I love the smell of the pines on Roan - the rush of the wind - the green moss, the bent trees and the rugged boulders. I have lots of fond memories associated with this trail. It's one of those destinations I've been taking family and friends to see ever since I moved here in 1995. There are many days when you look out over the rail and see misty clouds forming in the valley being swooped up the mountain side -- and you watch as they rush over you and the mountain. The next time you visit Roan, here are some things you won't want to miss...

Carver's Gap, the Appalachian Trail and the Balds - the trail up to Round Bald is unforgettable, as are the views once you reach the top
The Old Cloudland Hotel Site - lots of wildflowers
Sunset Rock - secluded overlook, great view!
Roan High Knob Shelter - the highest shelter on the AT
The Rhododendron Gardens - pretty any time of year, but especially in June.
Roan High Bluff Overlook (this post) - a short and interesting hike with a fantastic view

Directions: Take Route 19E to the town of Roan Mountain, turn onto Route 143 and travel 12.8 miles to the TN/NC state line (Carver's Gap). On your way up the mountain, you'll pass by the Dave Miller Homestead and the Roan Mountain State Park. Eventually, you leave the state park and enter the national forest. At Carver's Gap turn right, following the signs to the Cloudland Hotel site and Rhododendron Gardens two miles up! After checking out the Cloudland site, Sunset Rock and the Rhododendron Gardens, drive on to the end of the gravel parking area and park at the trail head for the Roan High Bluff -- a short hike (1/2 mile) will take you to the overlook. After that, return to Carver's Gap on your way down from the gardens and take the Appalachian Trail to the top of Round Bald -- this short hike will give you an amazing panoramic views of the mountains, a short distance further on the AT will take you to Jane Bald. If you continue on, you'll reach Grassy Bald. Click here for information about hiking the AT through the Roan Highlands; click here for a topo map of Roan Mountain.

1 comment:

  1. Ralph StricklandMay 15, 2015 at 9:27 PM

    One Christmas eve (probably in the late 1970s or early 1980s) my family left my grandparents house in Mitchell county to go up on the Roan and hike out to the overlook.

    It was a bright crisp night and when we got there the view was spectacular. The sky was filled with stars and the lights of the cities and towns in Tennessee provided a nice contrast.

    Sadly, the park is apparently closed now during the winter, so anyone wishing to see such a sight for themselves would have a long hike, but the memory stands out clearly in my mind even after all these years.


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