The Place: Roan Mountain State Park, Carter County
The Hike: Blue 2 Hiking/Mountain Biking Trail
After striking out at multiple trailheads on Saturday due to crowds, I was determined to hike on Sunday. I set my alarm extra early and was in the car, headed to Roan Mountain State Park.
I headed to Roan Mountain with every intention to hike the Forest Road Trail but decided that I just didn’t feel like dealing with some really steep areas. I wanted wildflowers that were going to be easy to get to.
I ended up on the Blue 2 Trail, which is open to both hikers and mountain bikers. While the map says the hike is a 1.35 mile long lasso trail, my AllTrails app shows I walked about 1.82 miles.
(I’m not sure I trust that assessment though. I know I was stopped a lot more than two minutes to take pictures of the wildflowers.)
What started off as partially hidden by plants developed into a beautifully maintained trail. When one comes to the beginning of the loop portion, you have the options of left or right. I recommend heading left, toward the higher ground, first. Although there are several uphill bits, it’s not difficult at all to head up the trail.
Be prepared for mud. There are a couple places where small creeks cross the trail. The trickle of water isn’t enough to bridge, but it is enough to make the ground soggy. And if mountain bikers have been through the wet ground, adding ruts, the ruts fill to increase puddle size.
After tip-toeing over my first fallen tree of four on this trail, i heard a rustling in the growth to my left. For only the second time while hiking in the area did I come across a snake. This little gray snake froze almost as soon as I spotted it, letting me capture a photo to commemorate the event.
After a couple more downed trees, it was all downhill. After a short jaunt creekside and some strange holes in the ground (possibly crayfish, since they were filled with water, but they didn’t have a chimney), you come to what appears to have been a small orchard at some point. A consultation of Google Maps shows that area is labeled as Hodge Hollow.
From there, it’s a relatively straightforward loop back to where the trail heads toward the parking lot.
If you’re looking for wildflowers, shade and serenity, check out Blue 2. You can find a map of Roan Mountain State Park here.