Winter Hike at Roan Mountain

Roan Mountain adventures are such a magical experience in all kinds of weather. This is the first time I made it up there during the winter. It was covered in snow and a heavy misty fog, a winter wonderland; no views this visit but that added to the mysteriousness of the trek. A few days after a Christmas snow in the mountains, I felt like I could safely make the drive and the hike up with my minimal gear. This was the magic I needed to end the year with; thankful everything lined up to make this happen!!

Over the years, I have gotten to visit during the spring, summer and fall. I am so glad I was able to experience this during the winter! If you decide to head up there after a recent snow, be prepared for iced over parts of the trail. Without spikes for my boots and poles to help climb, there was no way to make it all the way up this time, but I enjoyed every moment of the hike that I was able to make.

Roan is a unique geological formation, being a series of peaks, it is technically a ‘massif’ which is a mountain range, not just a mountain. Roan Massif is one of the highest ranges in the Southern Appalachians with peaks reaching over 6200 feet! Roan lies at the North Carolina/Tennessee line that divides at NC Highway 261 and TN Highway 143. When it is not wintertime, you have the option to drive up to Cloudland for a completely different experience with wooded trails up to the historic Cloudland hotel site. Another option is to hike up the Appalachian Trail, climbing 1000′ through the forests on well maintained trails to reach Cloudland. I look forward to making that trek one day, but so far, the balds keep calling me over to the eastern side. The few times I’ve been up to Cloudland, I drove up as I did not realize the awesome trail I was missing out on. …until next time Roan!

Have you gotten to experience the Roan Highlands? It is one of my favorite places for an adventure!!

Photography: Camilla Calnan Photography

Location: Roan Mountain, Carver’s Gap


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