Nature’s Beauty At Its Best
Roan Mountain, Tenn.
Connecting Town and Trail
Located in Carter County, Tennessee, Roan Mountain is a small town with a big heart. As the Appalachian Trail’s 41st A.T. Community, the town is a welcoming haven providing food, shelter, medical care and other services for hikers. The county’s and town’s leaders, as well as the area’s land managers and trail maintaining club members, dedicate their time and efforts to the promotion and preservation of the A.T. and Carter County’s many natural resources for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.
The Roan Massif is one of the most beautiful and spectacular sections of the Appalachian Trail, cutting through scenic Carver’s Gap and the Roan Balds. The Trail climbs through the clouds to over 6,000 feet, passes through the largest stand of Catawba rhododendron in the world, crosses the great bald of Hump Mountain, and looks down on mountain ridges stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.
Whether hiking through or spending the night to watch the sun rise over the Blue Ridge Mountains, hikers of all kinds will enjoy the views and the town’s hospitality.
Plan Your Visit
Carter County is located in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. For outdoor enthusiasts, the area offers boating, fishing, hiking and camping. Visitors also can drive the winding mountain roads of Carter County to take in beautiful Appalachian vistas and cool mountain coves. In addition to passing over the Roan Highlands, the Appalachian Trail meanders past nearby Watauga Lake, with water activities in abundance.
Trails play a significant role in Roan Mountain’s history, leading some to claim “All trails lead to Roan.” In September 1780, the Overmountain Men — a group of American soldiers who fought during the American Revolution — passed through Roan Mountain on their way to North Carolina as part of the Kings Mountain campaign. On the night of September 26, these men camped at Shelving Rock, located between Roan Mountain and Roan Mountain State Park. The site is now part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the early 1880s, the industrialist and former Union general John T. Wilder established the Roan Mountain community, originally known as Roan Mountain Station, as a stop along the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (otherwise known as “Tweetsie” railroad). Today, the Tweetsie Trail is a rail-to-trail project connecting Johnson City and Elizabethton, which serves as the seat of Carter County.
The Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival is held each June at Roan Mountain State Park. Visitors can sample traditional foods, purchase locally handmade crafts, and listen to traditional Southern Appalachian musicians, as well as to view the alpine Catawba rhododendrons in full bloom.
• Bob’s Dairyland
• Carter County Bank
• Carter County Parks & Recreation Board
• Carter County Tourism Council and Visitor Depot
• Eric & Laura’s Cafe
• Highlander BBQ
• Kincora Hiking Hostel
• Mountain Harbour B&B
• Roan Mountain Animal Hospital
• Roan Mountain Bed & Breakfast
• Roan Mountain Citizens Club
• Vango Hostel
These businesses support the Trail by taking part in the A.T. Community Supporter program.
Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing Club
Within our 134 miles of Appalachian Trail there are numerous opportunities to volunteer. This distance has been broken into 36 sections of typically four miles each. An individual, couple, or even small group of friends will adopt and care for their piece of the Trail. These ‘Maintainers’ will visit several times throughout the year to repaint blazes, remove tree branches and blowdowns blocking the path, haul out trash, clean waterbars, etc.
ATC Volunteer Program
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is always looking for dedicated volunteers to help maintain the A.T. and assist in our visitor center and headquarters. Opportunities range from greeting visitors and providing information about local hikes to joining a Trail crew for week-long maintenance trips, gaining first-hand experience in what it takes to keep the A.T. open and enjoyable for millions each year. Learn more at appalachiantrail.org/volunteer.
View a list of events at Roan Mountain, Tennessee.