Hike to Grassy Ridge Bald in the Roan Highlands

Carvers Gap, Bakersville, North Carolina, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5.3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    700 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Groups
Scenic

While on the trail, enjoy amazing views of endless hills, which are especially amazing during sunrise and sunset. This hike can be done as a day hike or overnight.

Once you've parked at Carver's Gap (5500'), the trailhead is pretty easy to find. Simply cross the highway and jump onto the Appalachian Trail, right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Head north on the AT as you head through the Roan Mountain Balds. In the very beginning of the hike, you'll pass through a forest until you reach the Balds, which are wide open, allowing for amazing views. Keep in mind that although the distance and elevation don't pose this as a difficult hike, the rockiness of the terrain make it a little tricky, so a good pair of hiking boots is recommended.

As you keep going on the AT, you'll come to a trail connection at around 2 miles, which will direct you toward the Grassy Ridge Bald. Keep an eye out for the blue blaze - a blaze is a rectangle of paint in a prominent place along a trail. White blazes that are rectangles which are 2 inches wide and 6 inches high symbolize the AT, while blue blazes represent offshoot trails from the AT. Once you reach Grassy Ridge (6200'), find the best place to set up camp.

If heading out on this trek during the winter, be sure to bring extra layers (especially windproof) as this area is really exposed.

Key Geo-Coordinates:

  • AT junction with Grassy Ridge Bald Trail: 36.105442, -82.085388
  • Grassy Ridge: 36.100037, -82.081215

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Tent
  • Backpack
  • Hiking boots
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Stove
  • Water filtration
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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I've hiked here several times and camped here for the first time on 10/26/17. It's an unbelievable place to catch both the sunset and sunrise as well as observe the stars. There are only a few protected spots to camp, so if you're camping close to the winter be sure to prepare for the wind. We also woke up to 4 grazing deer only a few feet from our tents.

4 months ago
4 months ago

Short hike up with amazing views. Just make sure to bring enough water and clothes suitable to the weather. I went in June and it got up to 80 degrees during the day, but at night it got down to 50 degrees and windy.

8 months ago
8 months ago

So many amazing views on this short section of the AT before the split to Grassy Ridge. The trail to Jane Bald tends to be busy, but thins out by the time you reach Grassy Ridge. Plenty of established campsites, so explore the area before unpacking. Oh, and be sure to batten down the hatches on your tent it can get very windy up there!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

What can I say, the Roans overall are a must visit destination. Grassy Ridge may be the crown jewel, though. Take the time and hike the 0.5 mile out from the AT to the top of it, you won't be disappointed.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I've hiked a lot of mountains, but there was something mystical about this whole place. Next time I go back I'm going with a tent and a 3 day weekend.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Great 5 mile hike on the Roan.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Really enjoyed this trip. I talked to a park ranger on the way out. He requested that I pitch my tent in the saddle between Grassy Ridge Bald and Jane Bald although he did mention he can't tell you not to camp on the bald...I camped on the bald. Just try to use a spot where someone has camped before. If you want the sunrise view in the morning from the comfort of your sleeping bag go off to the left a ways (in relation to last bit of trail as it ends at the summit). It was very windy when I was up there, a bivy sac would have been ideal, I put my tent tight up against the down wind side of a thick bush and did just fine. Enjoy!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Steve Yocom

25 years young. Burst at the seems, be what you dream. Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Adventuring whenever I can!

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