Mitchell County High Point Trip Report

Roan High Knob, 6285 ft

Date: July 18, 1998
Author: Ron Tagliapietra

Roan Mountain is a twofer (see Carter Co., TN) and the highest eastern mountain north of Mt. Mitchell and south of Mt. Washington. The massif also boasts the longest extent of grassy balds in the East, the largest natural rhododendron display, the greatest number of rare plants, and the highest shelter on the Appalachian Trail. From Carvers Gap (see directions in the Avery County report), turn up the dead-end spur road NC 1348 to Roan Mtn. rhododendron Gardens. Park in the first lot (parking lot #1 just beyond the park entrance booth). Hike a minute or two uphill passing the remnant of the foundation to the old Cloudland Hotel and reach the Appalachian Trail (white rectangle blazes) where you obtain partial views (this subpeak is called Cloudland Peak).

Follow the AT northbound 0.6 mile, then turn right on the spur and go 0.1 mile to the shelter. The rocky outcrop with the benchmark is obvious in the trees beyond the shelter.

An alternate hike avoids the entrance fee and can also be used in winter when the spur road is closed. Hike southbound from Carvers Gap on the Appalachian Trail for 1.3 miles up switchbacks to reach the spur to the shelter described above. Although the summit is forested, other parts of the massif permit hikers to see the other two types of southern summits for which the Roan is especially known. Grassy Ridge Bald is a grassy bald (see Avery Co.), while Roan High Bluff, further up the spur road is a heath bald (the rhododendron area). I had summited Roan High Knob on 1-25-97 in snow. For more, see my book The Southern Sixers.