A splendid weekend hiking along an open ridge in the Roan Mountain, TN area of the Appalachian Mountains. We hiked 14 miles hike along the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap to Highway 19E, and here are the trip details so you can too.
By the way, if you’re looking for a great weekend coastal kayak trip, I recommend kayaking around Lea Island, NC.
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The best place to get started with this hike is at the Mountain Harbour B&B at highway 19E, just adjacent to the trail. It’s advised not to leave your car overnight at the 19E trailhead for risk of vandalism, so pay the $5/day to the B&B to park your car on their lawn. Also, the B&B offers shuttles ($10/person) to the Carver’s Gap AT trailhead. Call in advance. Our strategy was to park our car at the B&B, have them drop us at Carver’s gap, and then walk the 14 miles of trail back to our car.
HIKER HACK: Need to gear up for this hike? Consider shopping for gear online at REI.com. Not only can you get a 10% rebate if you join the co-op, you will support the humble author of this article.
The shuttle dropped us at Carvers Gap early on Saturday morning…
When starting at Carvers Gap, it takes about 20 minutes to get to the first summit on the exposed ridge. Here we are at the summit.
Yeah, 360 degree views to be had all along the hike…
The 14 miles travels through a saddle along the ridge. You walk along the ridge line for a while, then hike down into the trees, and then back up to the open ridge. If you look really closely, you can make out the trail as it follows the spine of this ridgeline…
You dip below treeline in the bottom of the saddle, but as you can see the trail is quite pleasant through this stretch. In the bottom of the saddle, about 3.3 miles from the start, you’ll find the Stan Murray shelter – which usually has water.
We got really lucky and stumbled upon an AT maintainer that was out with a bucket of white paint touching up the white blazes along the trail. We helped for about a mile to refresh white blazes on trees.
The OverMoutain Shelter, about 5.3 miles from the start, is one of the most notable shelters along the Appalachian Trail. It’s basically a giant red barn that will sleep scores of people. We ate lunch there. You can see it in the valley behind my wife in the picture. Oh yeah, obviously it’s a steep and tiring climb out of Overmountain shelter.
We got back above the tree line to find great views yet again…
And found some horses…
And the biggest steer I’ve ever seen…
The night was pleasant and the forecast clear, so we took a chance to tent above the treeline on Hump Mountain where we had spectacular views. We carried all of our water up to this campsite from a spring that the AT crosses about a mile before the summit of Hump Mountain. (Special side note: This weekend hike was Fourth of July weekend, and we sat on these rocks to watch fireworks in the cities below the mountain. Definitely worth adding to the bucket list.)
The trail is all downhill to Hwy 19E…and beware there are many boulders and staircases on the way down. This section is definitely the most challenging couple miles of this particular hike.
We finished the hike on Sunday early morning. Once the trail delivered us to HWY 19E, we walked about a 1/4 mile down 19E to the B&B where we left our car. We paid a few bucks to grab a shower before driving home.
Water advice: Take plenty of it and check with the B&B managers and other locals about how the water source is on the mountain – the springs can run low/dry.
This is a solid overnight hike with views that won’t disappoint. Let us know in the comments if you have questions or want details about the weekend hike. I’m happy to provide answers or further details.
Backpacking Gear Checklist for Overnight Hike
For this hike, here’s the gear we recommend. Depending on your needs and season, you may need to augment this list.
- Backpack – Weekend packs are typically 35-50 Liter packs like these.
- Backpack cover
- Backpack liner – Don’t buy a fancy one. A heavy trashbag will do.
- Trekking poles – The rock scrambles down to 19E are gnarly. The economical Leki Corklites can help you get down them.
- Tent – Don’t recommend hammock if you want to camp above treeline.
- Tent ground tarp
- Sleeping bag – In summer, a 20 sleeping bag would work well.
- Sleeping pad / Z-Rest
- Cooking stove (with fuel)
- Cooking pot
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Flashlight / headlamp
- Water bottles / hydration system – A CamelBak will help if you are carrying water to camp on the bald.
- Water purification / treatment
- Dry bags / heavy trash bags
- First Aid Kit
- Bug spray
- Bear spray / other protection
- Hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Hiking shorts
- Hiking shirt
- Camp shorts
- Camp shirt
- Camp shoes
- Rain coat / poncho
- Warm jacket / fleece
- Hat / beanie – Even in July, morning can be quite cool
- Maps / Guidebooks – Such as the Appalachian Trail Data Book.
Appalachian Trail Video – Carvers Gap to HWY 19E Weekend Hike TN/NC Border
Other Useful Information
Carver’s Gap Location:
Mountain Harbour Bed & Breakfast
Phone: (423) 772-9494