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). I really like this section of the AT. It's beautiful and, while a steady climb, not as steep as you might think. -- Option 2: Turn right at Carver's Gap and continue driving up the mountain to the Old Cloudland Hotel Site (this road is closed during the winter months). Pay the entrance fee ($3) and park at the end of the lot nearest the bathrooms, look for and climb a short flight of 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.
In winter months, when the road to the top is closed, I hike a loop -- taking the AT up to the Cloudland site and then walking the road back down to Carvers Gap.