Monday, November 24, 2008

Roan High Knob Shelter

At 6,285 feet, the Roan High Knob Shelter is the highest shelter found along the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail. It is also known as Fire Warden Cabin as it was originally built to house the fire warden who manned a nearby fire tower (long since removed). Built in 1933, the shelter underwent renovations in 1980 and again in 2003. As AT shelters go, this one is unique (some might even say luxurious) with its two stories and 15 person capacity. Most of the more than 250 back country AT shelters located along the length of the trail are much smaller (usually accommodating only 6 people) and more primitive (with one side open to the elements). To see a map with photographs of AT shelters in this region, click here. To the right are the views of the interior of the cabin (click to enlarge).

UPDATE: For summer photos of the shelter, click here!

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 through the Roan Mountain State Park. Eventually, you leave the state park and enter the national forest. Option 1: Park at Carver's Gap and take the AT approx. 1.5 miles up (heading south on the AT, away from the Balds) -- or (Option 2) turn right at Carver's Gap and continue driving to the Old Cloudland Hotel Site (this road is closed during the winter months). Park at the end of the lot nearest the bathrooms, climb the stairs and venture to your left.  You'll soon run into the AT.  Turn right to hike north on the AT (toward the balds) for a short distance (approx. 1/2 mile) -- on the way you'll pass by an old chimney. The shelter is located one tenth of a mile off the AT on well-marked, blue-blazed trail. Click here for the Google map of the Roan Mountain area.


  1. Kinda creepy! I feel like I am watching the movie "Misery' and that Kathy Bates is going to be carrying a sledgehammer and put a block between my feet and...

  2. Thank you for sharing the info on this shelter. I was glad to hear about it. I used to hike when we were younger, but now have bad knees....I always wanted to hike at least part of the Trail.

  3. My paternal grandfather served as a fire watcher there and my grandmother on her last visit to the gardens & cabin retold of staying with him :)


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