View Full Version : Camping at Carvers Gap
I'm thinking about hiking from Elk Park to Carvers Gap, camping here for the night, and then hike on over Roan Mtn, finishing at Hughes Gap. Any tenting around the gap? If not how about of Roan shelter?
I don't know about camping around Carvers Gap being not allowed, but I have never seen anyone do it. Roan High Knob is a decent shelter. It has four walls. Of course, in this area, the land is wide open so you could set up shop a lot of places.
If I recall it's about 13 miles from 19E to Carver's Gap. That said you will have a some options depending how far you want to go and whether you want to hit the shelters or not..... You could stop about 6 miles in at Bradley Gap where you will find some campsites to the left of the trail for southbounders. This area had a couple of fire-rings and a flowing water source when I was there. If you wanted to go further, you go to the Overmountain shelter which is about 9 miles south of 19E which is large barn and reliable water as well. Your last good option before reaching Carver's Gap would the Stan Murray shelter about 10 to 10.5 miles from 19E. I'm not sure about the water at Stan Murray but stopping there would put you only about three miles from Carver's Gap but it is an up-hill three miles. Here's a PDF of trail elevations that I used when I was there. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
Stan Murray shelter is only 3.3 miles north of Carver's Gap. That's where I stayed when I sectioned that stretch. I'm not sure if camping is allowed at Carver's Gap. I think I remember water not far from the road crossing when I went through. Here's a picture of me at Carver's Gap. It was spitting snow when this pic was taken on April 17th, 1999:
There's a really nice tent site or two up behind the Roan High Knob Shelter with nice rock outcroppings around it. The last time I was there the spring was flowing and there was plenty of firewood.
A year ago October I camped at Carver's Gap, but it was close to the road and the dumpsters - not a bad place to camp, but just about everything else in that area is much nicer, so why bother with Carver's Gap when you have so many good choices!
If you're coming from the road, the camping spot is just past the parking lot, on the left, near the dumpster. Water is further along the trail, on the right.
Bradley Gap can be cold if you camp in the gap itself. Grassy Ridge Bald is beautiful, don't miss it!
That would be two of the days we did over Spring Break, but in reverse. After you climb the "Humps" be sure to get water at the spring in Bradley Gap, it was wonderful! (nice piped spring, clean) If I were you, I'd stay at Overmountain shelter in the big red barn. Stan Murray shelter isn't a luxury, but provided necessary shelter from a huge rain storm for us. There is only a couple of miles between them, and Overmountain is much nicer.
It's only 13+ miles from 19-E to Carvers Gap, but the climbs are significant going southbound. Not too many campsites between the Stan Murray shelter and the Gap, though a lot of people camp on Grassy Ridge, which is off the AT on the east side as you come out into the open after a steep climb from the shelter. (It's on the map.) Camping at the gap is possible, but I wouldn't enjoy it -- too much traffic.
We started late morning sobo at 19-E, stopped for the night at the Overmountain Shelter (the "barn" -- *great* place to stop), then went past Hughes Gap the next day to whatever shelter is a few miles south of it. So you could certainly do 19-E to the Barn then hit Hughes Gap the next day.
You could camp up on the bald (Jane, I think) before coming down into Carver Gap. There used to be a trail from the bald that follows the ridgeline over to an area that has trees. Im not sure if there is water there or not. It would be about .3 miles down to the parking lot at Caver's Gap to get water if you camped at the summit.
Could get a bit windy on the bald, and I wouldnt suggest camping up there in bad weather. But, it would be a great place to take in a nice sunset/sunrise for your last night on the trail.
Never seen any signs at Carver Gap about camping or not. Never saw anyone camped there. Bob Peoples at Kincora Hiker Hostel would be able to tell you for sure.
There is a shelter and tenting space on Roan High Knob. It is dark and usually cold, as it doesnt get much sunlight. It is nestled in an evergreen (fir or hemlock) stand.
Like everyone said, there is no real sign that says you shouldn't camp at Carvers Gap, but there is no point when you have so many better options. Note: Camping at Cloudland parking area on top of Roan Mountain is not allowed even though people do it all the time.
I admit I did it. I found out it wasn't allowed after the fact.
There is room for a couple tent spots at Carver's Gap if you wish to camp there (they're close to the bathroom to the right of the parking lot). I've camped there a couple times and never had a problem with traffic noise or anything else for that matter. That being said, they are lots of better places to stay than Carver's Gap. Overmountain might be worth a stop and I do remember seeing a firepit/campsite on the top of Jane Bald last weekend. That'll be a pretty steep hike from 19-E but take your time, it's an awesome section.
I believe Round Bald is the only bald that is no camping. Mainly to prevent people from trampling the grasses.
The barn and Grassy Ridge Bald has probably the best views.
There a couple sites south of Stan Murray. They are usually not welcoming due to high winds.
There is no real place to camp at Carvers Gap. Its all parking area and pit toilets.
I would recommend Roan High Knob. Can't beat a enclosed shelter. There is some camping in front of the shelter, just need to find flat ground with no roots.
There is a hidden campsite at the turn at the Cloudland site. It will be to the right, right before you start down the mountain. The Cloundland site and parking area are not campable.
Just south of Carver's Gap there are several stream crossings (within 1/4 mile of the gap). There should be some flat spots nearby if that is really where you want to end a day. But as others said, there are many better choices if you modify your itinerary a bit.
Just past Jane Bald is a great spot. Its in the books, you just need to haul water up.
Heres a photo of the Jane Bald area.
Traffic would be the only problem here as many novices can make it to Jane from Carvers. But it has a great view, firepit.