Distance: 1 mile round trip. Elevation gain: minimal. Quick hike to a beautiful camping area along the famous Appalachian Trail.

This super easy hike to the campsites near Round Bald is the perfect intro to backpacking for kids or newbies, but serves just as well for the more experienced backpackers who can't squeeze a longer trip in over the weekend.

This short (.5 mile) hike in leads to a grassy opening with amazing views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. There are designated campsites right along Round Bald as well as several more up the Appalachain Trail to the Northeast. Among them, the Overmountain Shelter sits 5 miles up the trail and sleeps 40 people comfortably - the largest shelter along the Appalachian Trail.

To get to the trailhead at Carvers Gap from Boone, take NC 105 S out of town for 12 miles before turning right onto NC 184 North. Drive 5 miles then turn left onto NC 194 South. Drive 7 miles and turn right on US-19 East. Drive another 7 miles before a final left onto TN 143 South, which you'll follow for 12 miles before reaching the trailhead parking lot on the left right at the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

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Activities Chillin, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

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Help Planning

I plan on doing this trip and would love to know where the best campsite would be for a morning view as well as if reservation is needed.

Perfect Weekend Trip

My friend and I went on this adventure for our fall break. It was an extremely short hike to the bald, and we set up camp a little bit before sunset. Since it was mid-october, temperatures dropped fast and the wind coming over the bald was brutal. Our tent held up though, and the stars at night and the view in the morning were redeeming. It's a pretty populated spot, so unless you're well hidden, you'll have people walking around your campsite the next morning. It was well worth our time, and we'll be back next month!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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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