The place: Roan Mountain, North Carolina side in Pisgah National Forest
The hike: Cloudland Trail to Roan High Bluff
Looking for a not-too-taxing hike with gorgeous views at the end? This is one of those to add to the list.
While people rave about the views from Round and Jane Balds, one of the most overlooked hikes (in my opinion) on Roan Mountain. I highly suggest that you go on a day when Storm Team 11 says there’s not going to be clouds.
This is (once again, according to AllTrails) a roughly 2.4 mile out-and-back to a wooden platform overlook. The elevation gain is a cool 300 feet.
To get to the trail head, drive up to Carvers Gap. Turn right as though going to the parking lot, but continue up the road instead of going into the lot. There’s two parking lots. The first is at the Roan High Knob Trail/Tollhouse Gap parking lot. The second, is just past the Rhododendron Gardens at the Roan High Bluff Trailhead. If you want to do the 2.4 mile hike, park at Roan High Knob Parking. If you want a short stroll, park at the other.
I started my hike on a mostly sunny day from Tollhouse Gap parking. About .10 miles into the hike is the first view. While it’s pretty, that’s not the real payoff.
If you go in the spring or summer, there’s a plethora of wildflowers lining the path. Of course, our gorgeous Catawba rhododendrons make an appearance, too! This trail is through the forest, so it’s nice and shady. Most days, you won’t have too worry about forgetting sunglasses or sunscreen thanks to the trees. You’ll also spy a few picnic tables and benches, mostly overgrown with moss when I passed them.
There is a slight rocky area when you get toward the overlook area. Not only did I get to deal with that, but a large black shape bounding around through the forest.
Thankfully, it was just an unleashed dog. I thought I was going to have my first bear-on-the-trail experience.
(By the way, this trail is dog-friendly but requires them kept on a leash.)
When you make it to the end of the trail, sit back and relax. Enjoy the view. I sat there for probably 45 minutes just staring, taking photos and sketching.
I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.