SB6K Roan Highlands

SOUTH BEYOND 6000 in the ROAN MOUNTAINS


Three peaks located in the Roan Mountains are the northernmost of the South Beyond 6000 Forty.

Carvers Gap, the best trailhead,  is located 14 miles from Bakersville, NC, on NC 261.  From Tennessee,  Carvers Gap is 14 miles from the town of  Roan Mountain, TN on TN 143.   The principal way of locating Roan High Knob (6285 feet) is by hiking to the Roan  High Knob shelter,  the highest shelter on the Appalachian Trail. The Shelter is 1.5 miles south on the AT  from Carvers Gap. From the Shelter climb 0.1 miles to the summit of Roan High Knob.  Roan High Bluff (6267 feet) is a short distance from the west end of the rhododendron gardens parking area and is  3.2 miles south of Carvers Gap via the AT, Roan High Knob Shelter, and the Cloudland Trail.   A gravel walkway begins at the farthest parking area and goes a short distance to an overlook with spectacular views.  Just before the overlook, the summit of Roan High Bluff is located in a fenced area.  NOTE:  The Forest Service has issued a closure notice for Eagle Cliff, Colton Cliff, and the cliffs around Roan High Bluff.  These cliff  areas have threatened and/or endangered species, and hikers should avoid the marked boundary areas. The true summit of Roan High Bluff is off-limits to hikers, therefore, reaching the observation platform, near the summit will suffice in attaining this peak. Grassy Ridge Bald (6160 feet) is an open bald with views which are among the most beautiful in Western North Carolina.  Grassy Ridge Bald may be reached by hiking  1.9 miles north on the Appalachian Trail from Carvers  Gap and then taking a half-mile side trail to the right continuing up the ridge. Near the summit is a plaque dedicated to Cornelius Rex Peake, who operated the highest cultivated farm east of the Rockies and watched over Roan.

Most Commonly Used / Accepted Routes:

  • From Carvers Gap (5512 ft.), a minimum of two peaks must be hiked in a single outing to obtain the required qualifying distance.  Hike north on the AT, crossing Round Bald, Engine Gap, and Jane Bald for 1.9 mi; then leave the AT ascending the ridge 0.5 mi. to Grassy Ridge Bald (6160 ft.).  Return to Carvers Gap and continue south on the AT for  1.5 mi. to Roan High Knob shelter.  The summit of Roan High Knob (6285 ft.) is 0.1 mi. behind the shelter.  Return to Carvers Gap for a moderate total hike of 8 mi; or, to qualify the third Roan peak, continue south on the AT for 0.7 mi. exiting  the AT to the Parking Lot on the left.  Continue 1.0 mi. through the rhododendron gardens following the Cloudland Trail to Roan High Bluff (6267 ft.).  Retrace the route to Carvers Gap for a more difficult total hike of 11.4 mi.
  • From Hughes Gap (4040 ft.) the route will qualify one or more of  the Roan peaks.  The ascent from Hughes Gap is 2.6 mi. with over 2000 ft. of climbing.  Exit the AT to the Parking Lot on the right and   continue 1.0 mi. through the rhododendron gardens following the Cloudland Trail to Roan High Bluff (6267 ft.).  Retrace the route to the AT and continue north 0.7 mi. to Roan High Knob Shelter and  0.1 mi. to the summit of Roan High Knob ( 6285 ft.).  Return south on the AT to Hughes Gap for a difficult total hike of 8.8 mi; or, to qualify the third Roan peak, hike north on the AT through Carvers Gap continuing to Grassy Ridge Bald (6160 ft.). Retrace the route to Hughes Gap for a strenuous total hike of  16.6 mi. 

Grassy Ridge, 6160
Hike Descriptions: Grassy Ridge

Roan High Knob, 6285
Hike Descriptions: Roan High Knob

Roan High Bluff, 6267
Hike Descriptions:  Roan High Bluff


Roan Mountain Area Maps

Roan Mountain Area Map: Topo

Roan Mountain Area Map: Driving