Roan Mountain Hiking Trails: The Appalachian Trail, the nation’s longest marked footpath at 2,178 miles, has numerous access points near Asheville. We like the rugged Roan Mountain section near Bakersville. From the Carver’s Gap (5,500 feet) parking area we recommend heading northeast towards the Grassy Ridge section which includes the longest stretch of grassy bald in the Appalachian Mountains. Don’t forget to take your camera! Some of the best landscapes for pictures there is on the Appalachian Trail can be found along this part of the trail. This section is great for an overnighter because it includes the AT’s highest shelter, Roan High Knob Shelter at 6,275 feet, which is approx. 1.5 miles from the parking area.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 W to exit 9/US-19 N. Stay on US-19, which becomes US-19 E in Yancey County, to Spruce Pine. Take left on NC 226 N. Head 11 miles through downtown Bakersville then becomes NC 261 N. Head 12 miles to NC/TN state line to Carver’s Gap parking area.