View – this is one of our favorite hikes and features 360 degree panoramic views of the North Carolina/Tennessee border area from a ridge of several balds. This area is well-known for its flame azalea and rhododendron blooms in the spring and abundant blueberries in the summer.
Hike Profile – this out and back hike follows the Appalachian Trail and Grassy Ridge Bald Trail to the summit of Grassy Ridge Bald at 6160 feet and continues over the summit out to a view spot at the end of a ridge. The hike has a series of rolling ascents and descents as it crosses over the summits of Round Bald and Jane Bald before branching off the AT to follow the Grassy Ridge Bald trail to the summit of Grassy Ridge Bald.
Trail Surface – easy walking on dirt/grass trails with some eroded and wet areas.
Environment – grassy and low shrub hillsides with large areas of rhododendron, flame azalea and blueberry at the higher elevation on the balds.
Navigation – the trail starts on the AT at Carver’s Gap and proceeds over Round Bald and Jane Bald. After reaching the summit of Jane Bald, the trail will then pass over another small knob. At this point, the trail forks with the AT going left and the Grassy Ridge Bald trail going right. Take the right onto the Grassy Ridge Bald trail.
After reaching the summit of Grassy Ridge Bald (where the large rocks and a plaque are located) continue past the summit meadow area into a low forest area. The trail is unmarked at this point but is well-used and easy to follow. Continue on this trail along the top of a ridge line until you come to the end. There are a couple of view spots at the end of the ridge.
Directions to Trailhead – the trailhead for the AT is located at Carver’s Gap near the base of Roan Mountain on the NC, TN border. There is a large, paved parking area with a restroom facility on the west side of Carver’s Gap. The road through Carver’s Gap is NC 261 on the NC side and TN 143 on the TN side.