View Full Version : US19E to Roan Mtn and back...

09-26-2012, 23:37
Ok, so it is getting time to figure out my plans for a hike mid/late October so that I can make any necessary arrangements now.

My wife will be going with me, so I would like to keep the hike relatively short rather than trying to push her to get from point A to point B. We have approximately 4 full days to hike. So, at the moment, I am looking to hike from US19E to Roan High Knob and back in those 4 days. I have emailed Mountain Harbour B&B and Hostel about a possible shuttle, place to park my car as well as maybe a room. So, I will see what they say and go from three. However, if anyone has any experience with this place, I would love to hear it!

I am looking for suggestions as to where to stay those 3 nights, possible weather outlooks/conditions, water information, etc...

A rough itinerary is to stay at Overmountain Shelter on our first night. Our second day we can slowly make our way to Roan High Knob Shelter and then on day 3 make our way back towards Overmountain Shelter. Then on day 4 we will hike back down to US19E and then back to our car.

So, I would like to stay at the barn either our first or third night. Probably first being as it will be a bigger hiking day.

The second night, I am up in the air about staying at the Roan High Knob Shelter...we will have plenty of time to set up a camp somewhere, so is there any suggestions for a good camping spot somewhere around Roan High Knob. Also, I read that there is a parking area up here, so I imagine it has potential to be quite crowded...I would prefer not to be camping in the midst of huge crowds...

If we stay in the barn on our first night (as I suspect we will) I have been toying with the notion of setting up camp on top of on of the balds, such as maybe Little Hump Mountain... Although, being essentially late October, I am curious about how the weather is going to be on this trip. Looking at forecast now, it does not seem too bad, although, I know that a lot can change in a months time. So, would camping atop one of the balds be ideal, or a bad idea? Either way, I would be interested to hear others suggestions on a good camping spot in this area.

And of course water. After reading another recent thread about water in this section, it seems like it may be pretty reliable through this area...again though, I do understand a lot can change between now and then...

Anyway, I appreciate help, thoughts or suggestions.


09-27-2012, 06:52
This is a very short hike to stretch out over 4 days unless you're just wanting to really go very slow. Even an inexperienced hiker could do it in 3 days easily.

Water's good, campings good - you don't really need to worry too much about planning - just start hiking.

Edited to add: I just noticed you were talking about going past Carver's Gap so if you go all the way to Roan High Knob shelter that'll add about 1.5ish miles. There aren't any good camping spots between the RHK shelter and Carver's Gap - the AT kinda parallels the road up to the Rhodedendron (sp) Gardens much of the way.

Gray Blazer
09-27-2012, 07:39
It is cold and windy on Big Hump even in the summer.

For a 3 day trip, may I suggest starting at the gap on 107 south of Unicoi, TN (10-K prolly knows the name of the gap) and camping at Ash Gap the first night. Easy day next day up Roan and over to Overmountain shelter. You can even check out Grassy Ridge. Last day an easy walk up to Big Hump and down to 19E. It's an easy , not too far shuttle from Mountain Harbor to 107 on the backroads.

Gray Blazer
09-27-2012, 07:39
To stretch it out to 4 days, start at Erwin, Tn.

09-27-2012, 08:21
That's Iron Mt. Gap at 107.

09-27-2012, 08:44
Thanks for the info.

I am looking to keep it slow and easy so the wife will enjoy. Plus she will be bringing her camera and will like to stop and take photos. Also, I plan on baking at camp and such... I just want to get out with her but know I have to play by her rules... otherwise I would do a lot more than this... :)

I am looking to keep the shuttle cost to a minimum. If I can do as I suggested above then I may not even need a shuttle if it is a short road hike from the hostel to the trail.

As well I am not sure I want to leave my car parked in those areas...seems like they aren't the greatest...even in the Companion Guide it is suggested not to leave a car at US19... so if I can leave it at the hostel that will be better for me.

10K how about a camp spot just past RHK shelter? Anything that way?

Gray Blazer, how about any of the balds?

Thanks again.

09-27-2012, 09:19
Nothing really good until you get to ash gap. It's not that much further. you have plenty of time if you're going for four days.

Gray Blazer
09-27-2012, 10:22
You can camp on Big Hump. Maybe Jane Bald or Round Bald or definitely Grassy Ridge. You'd better guy your tent well as it is likely to be pretty windy AND cold. Some nice camping spots as you get to the top of Roan from the south. Ash Gap is a very pretty and peaceful place to camp.

Tennessee Viking
09-27-2012, 10:31
Temps are dropping pretty good in the mountains. If temps stay steady, expect lows to be in the 40s or so Highs will be in 60s-70s. You could possible push to Greasy Creek Gap or Iron Mtn Gap, and have Greasy Creek Friendly shuttle you back to Mtn Harbour or have Mtn Harbour pick you up at GCF.

The trail down to Ash and Hughes Gaps have really changed since the spring. A little longer but the new switchback relos are at easier grades. You should speed up here. You might be able to make it Beauty Spot and Indian Grave Gap if you push hard.

09-27-2012, 11:29
The climb from 19-E all the way to Overmountain Shelter is not anything I would consider "slow and easy." It's well graded, but it's a massive climb.

I'd want to do a one-way from Beauty Spot or Indian Graves Gap to 19E.

09-27-2012, 16:00
But then you have the climb over Unaka Mountain and then after Hughes gap you got the long climb up Roam mountain. They could reroute trail for a hundred years but at the end of the day day you still got to go up and over those mountains.

Stick, no matter which way you go there's going to be significant work involved

09-27-2012, 22:59
Thanks again everyone. I like the idea of doing Beauty Spot to US19 9or actually just up to the hostel).

I have talked with Mary at the hostel about getting a room in the hostel when we finish our hike before our drive back home. As well, about parking our car at their place and getting a shuttle to Beauty Spot. It all sounds good.

As far as the mountains...I don't mind a bit climbing up them...I know that the reward is well worth it, however, my wife isn't so fond of climbing up too many in a day... :)

So, going from Beauty Spot to US 19, I am looking at Stopping somewhere around Greasy Crk gap for our first night. I see that there is a campsite around this area, but again, is this a croweded area, and one that we should avoid when camping overnight? Then, as a rough itinerary afterwards, we are looking at either Ash Gap or RHK shelter for our second night, then Overmountain for our 3rd night.

However, as it has been mentioned already, we will probably just start hiking and finish where we finish... It would be nice to hike without a firm plan...jsut kind of wing it... :)

Anyway, thanks again everyone for your help!

09-28-2012, 06:30
Trust 10-K on this on. I don't know the AT south of Roan, but he does.

Another idea.

I ain't worried about you Stick. You could do any of these ideas.

I would hazard to say your wife would have a lot more fun starting at RHK and walking to 19E. That's the eye-candy section -take some time and enjoy it with her. You'll have more opportunity to wing it staying north of RHK. It will be cold up there at least once the sun goes down -plus wind. I'll bet MS hasn't offered many opportunities to acclimate to sleeping in 20 weather here lately either, so think about what she'll need to be comfortable.

If she's really into pushing her limits, I still wouldn't go further south than than Iron Mt Gap. From there, just do 5 miles the first day, then you can still wing it if 7 miles per day keeps both of you happy. Remind her that the walk getting a little easier as you go. Or aim for Grass Ridge the second day and Doll Flats the third night. The climb down from Doll Flats in technical for a ways and both of you may be sore so be careful. Have fun I hope the weather favors your trip. Slow and easy make that your mantra -that section can be tough for time of year and getting you're trail legs under you.

Post some pictures. :)

Gray Blazer
09-28-2012, 07:42
Beauty Spot to 19E should be a fairly easy 3 day trip. Remember, if you keep moving you'll make it to the top of Unaka and even Roan. This Florida boy started at Beauty Spot and made it to Greasy Creek Gap easily in one day. We were the only ones who camped there. Greasy Creek Friendly (hostel) is fun. Nice bunk House and some food. Easy day from GC to top of Roan. Once there you have it made.

09-28-2012, 10:53
Bottom line you've got Unaka, Roan, and the humps - all lined up.

There is no easy in that scenario either way. The only easy is from carvers gap to 19E

09-28-2012, 10:55
And like bigcranky said, 19E to Carvers Gap is basically a long climb.

09-28-2012, 12:04
The folks at Mountain Harbour are great. The hostel is clean and comfortable, the B&B is very nice. I've used them for shuttles, left my vehicle there for two weeks, and stayed in the big house when they inadvertently over-booked the hostel - same price as the hostel would have been. If you can swing the timing to take advantage of their breakfast, by all means do so. It is one of the best breakfasts I've ever had.

Friendly, helpful, honest people.

09-28-2012, 12:09
Also, out of all my AT hikes (Springer to Bear Mountain bridge), Hump and Little Hump Mountains have been my favorite. Absolutely beautiful hikes with tremendous views the entire time. May have had something to do with the weather, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Gray Blazer
09-28-2012, 12:17
Roan Mt on a March day from Round Bald. You can see Carver's Gap.

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/6/2/1/7/mar-05_002.jpg (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showimage.php?i=53173&original=1&catid=member&imageuser=6217)

09-28-2012, 12:18
Hostel -- spring for the big room upstairs with the Jacuzzi tub. It's one great way to make one's spouse happy after a trip, trust me on this one. Breakfast is awesome, too.

Shorter hike: Start at Hughes Gap and make the very tough climb up Roan to the shelter. It's not going to be easy, but it will be short. Short-ish, anyway. Figure several hours. Then hike from RHKS to the Barn, then down to 19-E for a 2-night hike with the best possible scenery.

09-28-2012, 12:20
Oh, and here's the Barn from the AT near Little Hump.

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/2/6/6/roan_mountain0305_web_thumb.jpg (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=27410)

09-28-2012, 15:42
That's a good plan BC. The climb up Roan from the south is a bit easier thanks to the reroutes that there's no way to get out of the climb. Doing this hike the worst part would be over in the first three hours.

09-28-2012, 19:28
Thanks Gray Blazer and Big Cranky for the pics.

I am now thinking about just getting a shuttle to Iron Mountain Gap. This way we can hike slow and easy. We can stop at Greasy Crk Gap for some lunch and then stay at Clyde Smith Shelter for the night. I watched a YT video on this hike and it looks like there is a great spot right near the shelter to pitch the tent.

The second night we can take our time and hike up to Roan Mountain and find a spot in this area, or just stay at the shelter. Then the last night we can stay at Overmountain Shelter. We will hike out the next day to Mountain Harbour and spend the night in a king bed in the hostel.

I think that this will be the best for her. It will have us hiking quite low mileages each day, so that should give us time to take it easy.

Gray Blazer
09-28-2012, 21:24
The mice in Roan shelter are pretty bold. You might as well take all your food and leave it out for them so they don't chew holes in your pack (or bring a cat or black snake).

09-28-2012, 22:44
You will have a good hike any way you do it.
Catching a sunrise, or sunset from Grassy Bald or Hump would be spectacular.

Gray Blazer
09-28-2012, 22:52
You will have a good hike any way you do it.
Catching a sunrise, or sunset from Grassy Bald or Hump would be spectacular.

That's what I'm talkin' about!

09-30-2012, 12:10
Thanks for the tip on the mice Gray Blazer! I will be sure to take all precautions when hanging my food bag...

As well, I will see what I can do about catching a sun rise/set on one of the balds/humps...

Thanks for all the help!

So, will anyone else be out here in about 2 weeks from now? Maybe I will get to run into someone...

09-30-2012, 14:45
I just camped at Bradley gap a few days ago. About 100' above the cleared area. Beautiful sunset and woke up to 30 mph winds in the clouds.

No water that I saw from a small stream on the AT about 2 miles north of 19e to Overmountain shelter.

Overmountain is much prettier from 1/2 mile away.

09-30-2012, 21:47
There's some nice camping in front of Roan HK Shelter with good wind block in the pines, I'd go for that, this shelter tends to be a little dirt because it's only 1.5 miles from the LAREG Carvers Gap parking lot. It's a great hike & I'm planning on heading back that way later thsi month to introduce my little brother to the AT over the Humps in hopes to get him hooked : O D

09-30-2012, 22:32
I wouldnt camp on top of the balds this time of year. Just above Overmountain (N) there is a campsite in the woods next to the trail. Its on the climb out of the gap where Overmtn is.

10-08-2012, 09:44
I'm planning on starting a hike soon, for 3-4 days from US19E heading South to Erwin TN.
I understand that there is a place nearby to US19E where I can leave my car safely for a fee, can I also use that same place as a shuttle to pick me up in Erwin?

If so, a name and number would be handy - I'm hoping to head out this weekend!

Thanks gang!


10-08-2012, 15:17

You can park your car at Mountain Harbour B&B and Hostel (http://www.mountainharbour.net/) for a fee, and they can also provide a shuttle. I have exchanged a few emails with Mary and/or Terry from the hostel to make our arrangements for our hike this weekend.

I would also suggest to get a shuttle first so that you can hike back to your car.

Enjoy your hike!

10-08-2012, 16:05
So then I should have them pick me up in Erwin.... So where would I park the car in Erwin?

10-08-2012, 16:07
So, will anyone else be out here in about 2 weeks from now? Maybe I will get to run into someone...

I will be hiking this section Thursday Oct 11 Nobo from Carver's Gap.

10-08-2012, 18:09

There is Uncle Johnny's in Erwin, but I am not sure about all of the services offered there. Check out this previous post I started before this one...


If I get shuttles, I tend to prefer to get the shuttle out of the way first so that I can hike back to my car rather than trying to make sure I am somewhere at a certain time and possibly miss my ride.

Seatbelt, we will be starting at Iron Mtn Gap on Saturday morning and hiking in to 19E on Tuesday afternoon. Taking our time for sure, but my wife will appreciate that... It sounds like you will be a little ways ahead of us, but maybe we will see you out there!

10-08-2012, 20:42
I contacted Uncle Johnny's today. Your point about hiking back to the car is well taken.

Not Sunshine
10-08-2012, 22:31
That section was my first section hike: we started at 19E and went southbound. We stayed at Overmountain night 1, then High Knob night 2, then night 3 was in an old abandoned apple orchard on the other side of Iron Mountain. I believe the name of the road where we got a friend to pick us up was 226. Was probably 24 miles total. Was great.