Ascent of Roan High Knob on 2000-05-26

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Friday, May 26, 2000
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Roan High Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina/Tennessee
    Elevation:6285 ft / 1915 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove in from the Tennessee side through the towns of Johnson City and Elizabethton, following the signs to Roan Mountain State Park. The Appalachian Trail is the principal hiking route through the park, and would be the trail I would follow to the summit. I parked at Carver's Gap, north of the peaks, and a let-in point for the Appalachian Trail.

From the parking area, the trail starts steeply and is eroded in places, then moderates through a series of switchbacks before leveling. Soon, the trail bends left and starts a slow descent. The highpoint is here somewhere, but I missed the lesser side trail that leaves the main trail to the top. I knew something wasn't right, but I hiked onward, coming to another parking area and a fee station. I asked the ladies in the booth where Roan High Knob was and they pointed it to me: right where I had come up from. I overshot the side trail by over half a mile. I retraced my steps, hiked back the way I came, and found the turn-off to the summit. It's poorly marked and only visible for the northbound hikers, not for southbound hikers like I was. That's my excuse and I'm sticking by it.

It was an easy uphill stroll to the summit, marked by rock outcroppings, dense forest, and a nearby shelter (apparently, the highest one along the Appalachian Trail). I had added an extra mile and a half to the hike. I drove down beautiful local highways on the North Carolina side of the boundary, and got myself onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading toward Mount Mitchell.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:700 ft / 213 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Trailhead:5585 ft / 1702 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack

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