Hike to Grassy Ridge Bald in the Roan Highlands
North Carolina › Carvers Gap
Added by Steve Yocom
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.
- AT junction with Grassy Ridge Bald Trail: 36.105442, -82.085388
- Grassy Ridge: 36.100037, -82.081215
- 10 Essentials
- Hiking boots
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Water filtration
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Easily Accessible Overnighter with Amazing Views
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!
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.
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!
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