Asheville Trail Features Their Favorite Roan Mtn Hikes

“Hike through abundant high-elevation beauty at Roan Mountain, a series of five mountain summits on the Appalachian Trail near the NC / TN state line. With gorgeous views, lush forest and abundant wildflowers, the remarkable beauty of Roan’s highlands, knob and bluff make for an exceptional hiking adventure.”

Appalachian Trails highlights their favorite eight hikes on Roan Mountain.  Ranging from 2.4 to a little over 10 miles, each of these hikes offer something unique.  They detail out their favorite hikes including those crisscrossing the Appalachian Trail, to those offering “exceptional 360-degree summit views at Round Bald, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge Bald.”


“Hike through the Roan Highlands to outstanding summit views from soaring mountains, through mossy, rocky forests, and to sun-drenched fields of wild berries on the Appalachian Trail. And explore the Roan Mountain’s forested beauty on Roan High Bluff and Roan High Knob, visiting the historic site of the Cloudland Hotel and the historic Roan High Bluff AT shelter, the highest-elevation shelter on the Appalachian Trail. The mountains’ beauty is wildly varied, continually changing, and well worth the visit: Roan Mountain is home to some of our all-time favorite hikes in western North Carolina.”

If Roan Mountain, NC isn’t on your bucket list…it should be.  Great hikes and experiences for families, experienced hikers and those of all ages.  Don’t miss stopping in Bakersville, NC for a quick bite to eat at a local diner or shopping for handcrafted NC art at one of the galleries and studios. 

Dellinger’s Grist Mill: An Experience in History, Grits & NASA

Dellinger’s Grist Mill is one of those “must experience” places….not just in Mitchell County, but in the State.  Maybe in the country.  You are guaranteed to walk away with a new hero and friend in master miller Jack Dellinger and hopefully with a bag of fresh ground grits!

Located in picturesque Bakersville, NC, Dellinger’s Grist Mill is one of only a very few historic mills in the state of North Carolina still operating.  It is operated by 4th generation miller Jack Dellinger. This scenic 1867 landmark is on the National Historic Register. “It runs just like it did in the 1800s,” Dellinger says. “I use the same wheel, gears, pulleys and millstones that my ancestors did,” Dellinger told The Laurel of Asheville magazine.  He grinds and sells white grits and cornmeal and—after being educated about it by a friend—polenta, what some call Italian grits.

Edible Brooklyn calls a bag of Dellinger’s freshly ground grits “worth their weight in potential luggage fees.”

Jack Dellinger conducts tours, loves when field trips come to visit, and grinds on most days weather permitting.  You can check out the Dellinger Grist Mill schedule at their website Dellinger’s Grist Mill.  When you visit….be sure to ask Jack about how he helped NASA put the first men on the moon!




Roan Mountain Named Best of the Blue Ridge


The readers of Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine have spoken! They have chosen Roan Mountain as the Best of the Blue Ridge’s Best Appalachian Trail section.

Appalachian Trail Section

Roan Mountain

“Appalachian Trail thru-hikers often gripe and groan about the “green tunnel” that is the A.T., but Roan Mountain makes up for all of those long canopied miles with its expansive views and grassy balds. Situated on the literal border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the massif is home to a number of peaks 5,500 feet in elevation or higher. Because of this, hiking Roan’s balds is about the closest you can get to an above-treeline alpine trekking experience—spruce fir trees, rhododendron gardens, and ample amounts of snow turn this southern Appalachian anomaly into an arctic-like landscape come wintertime.”

Continue reading

Roan’s Grassy Bald Named One of 7 Best Sunset Summits

“Few things cap off a long day in the mountains like catching the perfect sunset from your favorite summit. The Blue Ridge is known for spectacular sunsets and Western North Carolina is no exception. Western North Carolina is renowned for its breathtaking viewpoints, most of which make for an ideal spot to catch an Appalachian sunset.’

In the list of Top 7 Best Sunset Summits, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine names Hump Mountain as one of the best.

“This grassy bald  can be found in the Roan Highlands near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. It is traversed by the Appalachian Trail and, like many of the sunset summits on our list, provides a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.” For detailed directions click here.

Mayland Community College Becomes First Certified Star Park in Southeast

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designated the Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Star Park and Observatory as the first IDA-certified Star Park in the southeastern United States. The Blue Ridge Astronomy Group (BRAG), a local amateur astronomy society, was instrumental in supporting MCC’s application to the Dark Sky Places Program.

The MCC Blue Ridge Star Park and Observatory is the first program participant:

  • located in the southeastern United States;
  • operated under the auspices of an institution of higher learning; and
  • whose outdoor lighting consists entirely of fully-shielded, low-color-temperature light emitting diode (LED) fixtures at the time the IDA award is conferred.

For more information contact Mayland Community College


Spruce Pine & Little Switzerland on Top 20 List of Coolest Small Towns named Spruce Pine and Little Switzerland to the list of the coolest small towns near Asheville. “We love exploring our cool small towns nestled in the mountains in western North Carolina, filled with historic buildings with a mix of longtime family operated stores and restaurants, along with new galleries and trendy shops. Each town has its own personality and many things to do. Meet some local folks and experience a leisurely day of exploration. Since many are in close proximity, you can visit several in a day,” said RomanticAsheville’s news posting.

When announcing Spruce Pine as one of the top 25, they highlighted downtown Spruce Pine with its unique ‘’upper” and “lower” streets as well as its outstanding browsing of art galleries, outfitters, and public art projects.  They also mentioned the Toe River Studio Tours held every June and December where visitors can take a self guided tour to over a hundred artists’ studios.

For more information about downtown Spruce Pine visit calls Little Switzerland a great stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway for its unique restaurants, shops, and inns as well as gem mining. Stops at the Museum of NC Minerals and Grassy Creek Falls are also included as special stops near Little Switzerland.

For more information about Little Switzerland visit



Seasonal Updates

 Winter 2017 Report
Winter is a special time in Mitchell County!

Are you seeking a little adventure during the winter, but don’t want to travel far and wide?  Look no further than Mitchell County where you will find the winter wonderland of Roan Mountain, North Carolina!  From cross country skiing, hiking, photography and more….make this the year you check out one of the most famous peaks in North Carolina!


Looking for a great winter hike? Bundle up and head to the Appalachian Trail at Roan Mountain, located near Bakersville. It is frequently blanketed by snow and rime ice in the winter. From the NC Highway 261 entrance to Roan Mountain Recreation Area (Pisgah National Forest) at Carver’s Gap on the North Carolina / Tennessee state line, it’s a fairly easy climb (300 foot elevation gain) to Round Bald (5,807 ft) for great panoramic views – a 1.5-mile roundtrip. You can continue to hike across additional balds. See our Roan Mountain hike guide for details.  Read more of this article here:


Fall 2017 Color Report

October 4, 2017 Update: Spotty color continues in the higher regions. While color started a little early due to cool weather, the last two weeks of summertime temperatures slowed the transition. Best color now is above 4,500 feet elevation, including NC Highway 215 near the Parkway and the Parkway north of Linville Falls. Many areas got the first frost over the weekend, so that will speed up the color change. Note: Many trees, especially in the highest elevations, have been stressed by high winds from Irma, followed by summer-like temps and very dry weather. So many ridges above 5,500 feet peak peak with mostly brown hues, while valley views are still green.
Weather Outlook: Plenty of sun and near seasonal temps this week. Needed rain possible Sunday and Monday from hurricane remnants – could be heavy. 




2017 Rhododendron Report

Check with us during the first three weeks in June to get updates on the blooming of the rhododendron atop Roan Mountain!

June 12, 2017

Bloom in the gap is approaching peak. The bushes up the Appalachian Trail still look to be in the 85-90% range and opening nicely. The bloom in the gardens is still in the 65-70% range and is opening in a staggered pattern. The gardens should peak this weekend through midweek next.  All of this is barring any heavy rain activity.

Still one of nature’s miracles and a sight to behold. Come see us and party on this weekend in the Capitol City.

June 4, 2017

Bloom in the gap is on line with last report. Bloom up the AT promises to be in the 75-85% range. Bloom on the top looks to be in the 65-70% range and on line e to peak Festival weekend. All this barring any more heavy rains. And as the valley shot of Flame Azalea shows the Flame patch off the AT on the grassy bald should be stunning Festival weekend. Come join us June 16-17and before if you can.



Spring Has Sprung in the Mountains!

2017 Trout Season Opens April 1st

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters in 25 western counties at 7 a.m. on April 1. The season will run through Feb. 28, 2018.

While fishing on Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limits or bait restrictions.

To give trout anglers opportunities to plan fishing trips in advance, the Commission has posted on its website a Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters stocking schedule that provides information on what weeks each water is being stocked. Anglers can search by county and by month. The agency also posts daily updates at noon for all waters stocked that day. Information can be searched by county, by month, or both.

Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, marked by green-and-white signs, are stocked from March until August every year, depending on the individual stream. Many of these waters are stocked monthly, although some heavily fished waters are stocked more frequently. 

Commission personnel will stock nearly 916,000 trout in 2017 — 96 percent of which average 10 inches in length, with the other 4 percent exceeding 14 inches in length.

Stocked trout are produced primarily at two mountain region fish hatcheries operated by the Commission and are distributed along hatchery-supported streams where public access for fishing is available. While Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters are open to public fishing, many of those miles are privately owned so the Commission urges anglers to respect the property they’re fishing on and remember that landowners can take away access if they feel their property is being misused.  Anglers can help prevent the loss of public access to fishing by:

  • Respecting private property and landowners at all times;
  • Removing all trash and litter from fishing and parking areas;
  • Parking only in designated areas and leaving driveways open for traffic;
  • Closing and/or locking gates after use; and,
  • Reporting wildlife violations by calling 1-800-662-7137.

For a complete list of all Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, as well as trout maps, weekly stocking schedule, and daily stocking updates on Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, visit the Commission’s trout fishing page.

Looking for where to fish on public waters?  Would you love a map for each one?  Look no further! Click here to see all of the public mountain trout waters in Mitchell County!



Roan Mountain is all the talk!

When winter rolls around area hikers, cross country skiers and photographers all turn their sights on Roan Mountain, NC. Situated right on the NC/TN line, Roan Mountain is one of the most photographed and blogged about mountains in North Carolina and maybe even the Southeast!  The Roan, as we call it, has made many regional lists for best sunsets, best hikes and more! Read about one of them here!

Roan Mountain Named Best of the Blue Ridge

Fall Color Peeking September 13, 2016


The much awaited fall color has started to peek in the Mitchell County area and more prominently in the higher elevations.  The ornamental red maples are starting to turn.  The ornamental sugar maples are just starting a few splashes of color yellow or orange on just a branch or two while the rest of the tree remains bright summer green. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is starting to turn its usual deep, burgundy red color. This common vine, which usually grows up tree trunks, can also be a nasty invasive in your garden, where it creeps along the ground (which probably gives the plant its name!) and grows over your shrubs and flowers. However, it does turn a beautiful color and when the tree leaves fall off the tree it is climbing, you get this interesting play of red against the dark gray trunk and deep blue sky. Quite beautiful, especially in the morning when the colors stand out the most.

excerpts from The Fall Color Guy.  Read more here




2016 Rhododendron Roan Mountain Report
June 10, 2016

Rhododendron_BushWith the 70th NC Rhododendron Festival coming up soon (June 17-18) the rhododendrons on Roan Mountain are getting ready for the show! Local reports from the mountain indicate that there should be some pink showing by the weekend of the 11th ( in the gardens ). Dependent on temperatures there should be about 14 days of nice bloom running into and past the Festival weekend.

The great news is that it appears to be a 75-85% bloom. Lots of buds and swell is just beginning.

Nature is dressing up for the 70th! The NC Rhododendron Festival will be a fun filled weekend for everyone! From the craft fair, car show, 10K race, Ducky Derby, two night pageant and of course the street dances on Friday and Saturday night there is something for everyone. Visit for all of the details!



January 6, 2016
Roan Mtn XCountry Ski

“For Asheville people, Roan Mountain has got to be the number one destination,” he said. “It’s a total cross country skiing and snowshoeing haven. I think Roan Mountain gets at least as much snow or more than Mount Mitchell. Combine that with the views and you’ve got a really special combination. I don’t think anybody disagrees that Roan Mountain is one of the most special places in America.” ~ Randy Johnson, author of four adventure guidebooks about hiking and exploring the mountains of North Carolina ‪#‎asheville‬ ‪#‎wnc‬ ‪#‎snowski‬ ‪#‎roanmtn‬ ‪#‎visitnc‬

The high-elevation Roan Mountain balds are a winter wonderland for cross-country skiing and mountaineering.

Excerpts in a Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine where Randy Johnson, author of Hiking North Carolina,  gives his account of cross country skiing on the Roan and other nearby mountain top trails.

“In the 5,700 foot notch on the Appalachian Trail between the towns of Bakersville and Roan Mountain, winter seemed to be a secret backcountry season. One of the snowiest, most pristine spots in the South, now widely known as a premier portion of the Appalachian Trail, was a recreation area aimed at seeing how deep you could stick your Jeep and whether your winch could get you out.

The winter rewards of skiing and mountaineering on the Roan Massif are better known now, but you still have to look beyond the forest to see the secret runs and routes that hide in the trees. From Roan Mountain at Carver’s Gap to Elk Park, the 13-mile, massive, meadow-covered ridge from Round Bald to Hump Mountain is formidable. But one thing’s for sure: a lot more people are trying.

The evergreen-sheltered loop of the Rhododendron Gardens National Recreation Trail, with awesome views of the Black Mountains from an observation deck, was only another 15 minutes away. So was the start of the Cloudland Trail, one of the best Nordic trails in North Carolina. It undulates and snakes all across the crest of the ridge, ending at the observation deck on Roan High Bluff. It too is a great tele run on the way down.

A group of backcountry snowboarders were atop the bald. When I got there, their tracks went straight down into nearby woods. I switched to the tele skis and had a truly spectacular run back to the road. With sewing machine legs, I racked it all on my car and couldn’t believe the winter carnival atmosphere of smiles, laughter, a cold day, bright sun, and great snow.

If Carver’s Gap is the Roan region hot spot of winter backcountry, there are fewer people and exponentially more options elsewhere on the ridge. Using US 19-E, north of Spruce Pine and west of Newland, Roaring Creek Road runs high up under Yellow Mountain Gap, famous as the route of the Overmountain Men on their way to defeat loyalists in the Battle of King’s Mountain (they walked through the gap in September snow).

From the small parking area, it’s an easy ski to the left on a Forest Service access road to the A.T. and the huge Overmountain Shelter, a cavernous barn that’s a killer base for winter camping. Step past another gate at the lot and a side trail reaches Bright’s Trace, the actual colonial road that’s also a great route to the Gap. The A.T. soars up the meadows from there, to Little Hump and beyond on the ridge, and a web of fire roads brings you back down to your car.

There are many ways to reach the balds, side roads here and there, routes past isolated homes where a curtain slides aside and a face casts a close look at cars that spin their way through the snow in the winter.
If you look beyond the forest, secret runs and routes still hide in the trees.”












Fall Color Forecast: October 11, 2015

Today, the Fall Color Guy and his daughter Gabriela scouted out the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Thunderhill Overlook just outside Blowing Rock down to the Chestoa Overlook about 10 miles below Linville. It was a gorgeous day, and the Parkway was full up with leaf lookers.

This is THE PEAK WEEK for the Blowing Rock to Grandfather Mountain section of the Parkway.

The same might be said for the Cashiers/Highlands area, according to my contacts down that way. Colors have exploded out over the weekend, even despite the dreary, rainy Saturday that we had. Luckily for us, there was little or no wind on Saturday, so while some leaves did come down, many stayed up, and are now turning beautiful colors.

One notable color addition this week is the black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica). This tree turns a lovely deep red color that complements the reds of the maples, sourwoods and sassafras trees.

Today, the colors were really spectacular along the Blue Ridge Parkway from below Holloway Mountain road down to the Beacon Heights parking lot. I saw a lot of reds splashed against a background of brilliant orange and yellow. Despite all the bad weather we’ve had, the trees have held their ground, and are now showing us all a magnificent display of color.

Forests below 3,000’ are still predominantly green, and so they will color up in the next two weeks, but right now, the peak color is from about 5,000’ or so down to about 3,000’. If you head south of Linville, the colors become more muted, with fewer red trees and more yellow ones (due to a change in species composition over to hickories, ash and oak). When you get past Little Switzerland, heading south toward Mt. Mitchell State Park, the colors begin to pick up again, and from there to Craggy Gardens, you’ll have great views this week up to next weekend. The same can be said for the area south of Waynesville to the Waterrock Knob area of the Parkway.

Reference; The Fall Color Guy, Appalachian State University






2015 Rhododendron Report


It’s Rhododendron Festival Weekend (June 19-20) in Bakersville NC! When you come to visit, be sure to take some time to explore the Appalachian Trail.   If you’re not able to make the full journey on the Appalachian Trail, or you’re looking for an exciting day or weekend hiking trip through the mountains, here is one of a favorite Appalachian Trail section hikes in North Carolina.

Where: Roan Highlands
Near: Bakersville, along the North Carolina/Tennessee border
Distance: From 4.4 miles (day hike) to 13.2 miles to traverse the range
The Roan Highlands are famous worldwide for its expanse of Catawba Rhododendrons. It’s worth the trip in mid to late June to see the explosion of pinks and reds covering the mountainsides. This area abounds with natural balds, giving you scenic views you won’t soon forget. For winter adventurers, the Roan Highlands are a popular destination for cross-country skiing.


Rhododendron Report
June 11, 2015

As predicted the bloom is coming out nicely and is in the 50% coverage range.

The bloom in Carver’s Gap is peaking now as it is up the bald and on to the Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge.

The Flame Azalea is in full blaze mode and will be for a few more days. The large patch just below the Grassy Ridge trail is awesome.

The gardens are showing good color and as has been in the past couple of years is blooming in a progressive manner. Lots of bloom coming on over the next several days. Just not all at once. Again about a 50% coverage and while not all at once there will be good color for the next week or longer barring any damaging weather.



The rhododendron on Roan Mountain are healthy and on track to come into bloom the weekend of the 20th and carry into the 27th with a nice bloom covering over 50% of the plants.

Barring any extraordinarily warm weather the dates should be correct. Keep in mind that a 50% bloom cover( at least 50% of the potential bloom capability ) will be breathtaking to say the least. 

Watch for another update in by the end of the first week in June. 




Find Your Place to Eat

From dressed up to dressed down, our area restaurants offer everything from casual dining fare, like burgers and barbeque, to something a little more special, like local trout or a thick prime rib.

Whatever you have a taste for, you’ll find it here!  Becoming more and more well known around the Southeast for restaurants featuring locally sourced produce and meats, our area has become quite the draw for folks from Asheville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Raleigh and beyond.  Award winning chefs have found a haven for their creative menus in our area.

You can certainly Craft a special menu and dining experience each day you are here.  During the summer season, be sure to visit a local farmer’s market for the freshest veggies, fruits and herbs! Local specialties like the ramp or fresh mountain trout are musts during your mountain visit.

Our restaurants, mostly locally owned, certainly put the Craft into their menus and into the preparation of their foods.  We look forward to sharing our great foods with you!

Coffee Shops
Drive In Restaurants
Farm to Table
Fast Food
Local Flavor

Find Your Place to Stay

Whether you’re looking for the pampering surroundings of a classic mountain inn, the charm and coziness of a rustic mountain cabin or you want to hear the bubbling creek running through your campsite, Mitchell County and our Craft Your Adventure region has accommodations for you! Check out our links below to find your perfect stay for your next visit.

Links for Accommodations:

Relocation on your mind?
Thinking that a second home in the mountains is a great idea? We invite you to contact one of our Chamber Member Real Estate Agents to help you find the perfect mountain home. Click here to visit our Mitchell County Chamber website listing of Real Estate Agencies.