--Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher
I'm always struck by the love and affection people in this area have for Roan Mountain. I often hear people say that they're "going up to visit the Roan." As if they're setting out to see an old friend. And indeed they are. As I was setting up the map of all the area hikes and waterfalls I've discovered, I realized that the Roan was literally at the center of all of my Appalachian experiences.
As you start up Round Bald from Carver's Gap, you encounter a dense conifer forest with an other-worldly quality to it. It's like a scene out of The Hobbit - there's something mystical about this short section of the Appalachian Trail. I've heard some people say they think it's spooky, as if a thousand eyes were secretly watching. I actually find it to be a very peaceful, serene place. Even if the winds are whipping on the balds above, the woods are usually calm and quiet. Often there's a mist that settles in, casting a soft glow over the landscape. Soon you emerge on the top of Round Bald - beautiful views in all directions.
|View from Round Bald|
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. Park at Carver's Gap, cross the road to your left, and you'll begin your ascent to the Balds on the Appalachian Trail.
For more things to see and do on Roan Mountain, click here. For a google map of the area, click here.