Iron Mountain Gap to Carver's Gap
(Trail South > North)
Iron Mountain Gap
The Trail crosses TN107/NC226. Recent relocations have moved the Trail away from the Forest Service road that is frequented by backcountry horsemen. There is a small parking area along the road where the Forest Service road meets the highway.
Water sources on the east and west sides of the Trail. Apple orchard nearby along the Trail.
Clyde Smith Shelter
Clyde Smith Shelter (4400') is a wooden shelter built in 1977 by the United States Forest Service. The shelter resides 200 yards west of the Trail on a blue blaze. Named for Clyde Smith, who is well-known along the Trail for his handmade signs.
Little Rock Knob
Little Rock Knob (4918') is between Clyde Smith Shelter and Hughes Gap. Great views to the north from a rock outcropping near the summit along the Trail.
First road crossing south of Roan Mountain. Accessible via TN143 and Cove Creek Road from the town of Roan Mountain or from Buladean, NC via NC1330. Overnight parking is not advised here.
Campsite before steep ascent of Roan Mountain. Water is down short blue blaze trail to the east.
Roan High Bluff Side Trail
Side trail to Roan High Bluff (6267') at the Cloudland Hotel site. Roan High Bluff is a part of the South Beyond 6000 challenge. It is approximately 0.75 miles from the AT to Roan High Bluff. The official summit is a rock outcropping next to the viewing platform. Hikers are not allowed to climb these rocks due to the danger.
Cloudland Hotel Site
After ascending Roan Mountain from Ash & Hughes Gaps, the Trail passes by the site where Cloudland Hotel once stood. The hotel straddled the NC/TN state line and was considered a premier report destination. The wealthy relaxed atop the mountain in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The site is now an open area that has magnificent eastward views of North Carolina.
Roan High Knob Shelter
Roan High Knob Shelter (6285') is the highest shelter on the Appalachian Trail. Renovated in 1980 from an old fire warden cabin that was at the base of the Roan High Knob Fire Tower. Foundations of the fire tower can be found in front of the shelter. The USGS marker for Roan High Knob is on a large rock about 30 yards in front of the shelter door. Roan High Knob is a part of the South Beyond 6000 challenge.
Carvers Gap (5512') is the primary road access for the Roan Highlands. TN143 comes from Roan Mountain, TN and NC261 comes from Bakersville, NC. Large parking area with restrooms. The road to the top of Roan Mountain is open from appoximately May-October.