Roan Mountain Gardens Trail

Famous for its spectacular natural gardens of Catawba rhododendrons, Roan Mountain shelters a rich diversity of life, from spruce-fir forests to vast grassy balds.

photo: Catawba Rhododendrons on Roan Mountain. Photo by Bryan Hodges.

Type: Backcountry
Length: 1.50 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Allowed Uses: Camping
Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation
Agency: USDA Forest Service
Entry Fee? $3.00
Parking Fee? No

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Directions

Location: Appalachian Road (08), In Pisgah National Forest N of Spruce Pine at Roan Gardens.
State(s): North Carolina
Counties: Mitchell
Latitude: 36.10204
Longitude
: -82.13492

From Burnsville take 197 N to Red Hill, turn left towards Johnson City, TN (Hwy. 226N). Go 3 miles to Fork Mountain Rd. #1338; turn right and go to the end of the road. Turn left onto 261 N and follow 261 N to Carver's Gap. Follow the signs from there to the Gardens.

Description

An easy , paved trail starts at the information cabin and winds through rhododendrons to and overlook. You can choose between a short, 0.3 mile loop or continue on a longer, figure-eight loop. The Cloudland Trail is a moderate, 1.2-mile hike from the end of the Cloudland parking area to a Roan High Bluff Overlook. The Appalachian Trail crosses Roan Mountain on its trek from Maine to Georgia.

Famous for its spectacular natural gardens of Catawba rhododendrons, Roan Mountain shelters a rich diversity of life, from spruce-fir forests to vast grassy balds.

Roan Mountain is actually not one mountain, but a high ridge about 5 miles long. It ranges from a height of 6,286 feet at Roan High Knob to a low of 5,500 feet at Carver’s Gap. No one knows the origin of the mountain’s name. Some claim the name refers to the roan or reddish color of the mountain when rhododendrons bloom in June or the mountain ash berries appear in September. Others say the name comes from Daniel Boone’s roan horse, because he and his horse were frequent visitors.

Additional Details

Width: 36 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Asphalt

Average Grade: 7%
Maximum Grade: 15%
Elevation Low Point: 6,168
Elevation High Point: 6,191
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
1980

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
David McFee
Appalachian Ranger District
632 Manor Road
Mars Hill , NC 28754
(828) 689-9694
http://www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc/

 

Photos

Catawba Rhododendrons on Roan Mountain. Photo by Bryan Hodges.

Catawba Rhododendrons on Roan Mountain. Photo by Bryan Hodges.

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