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  1. #1
    Registered User kbstock's Avatar
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    Default How tough are the Roan Highlands?

    I know its all relative....
    But the section of the Roan Highlands from like Carver Gap northbound to Dennis Cove Road...
    My previous experience has only been in the wonderfully groomed Shenandoah NP sections.
    Is this area really rocky and tough to negotiate?
    I have the Guthook app, so I have a good feel for elevation etc.
    Also, I'm considering doing this section solo. Is it fairly well traveled toward the end of May?

    Thanks for all your help!

  2. #2

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    If you think you can handle the elevation you will be fine. Trail is in decent shape and heavily used year round, especially weekends.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbstock View Post
    I know its all relative....
    But the section of the Roan Highlands from like Carver Gap northbound to Dennis Cove Road...
    My previous experience has only been in the wonderfully groomed Shenandoah NP sections.
    Is this area really rocky and tough to negotiate?
    I have the Guthook app, so I have a good feel for elevation etc.
    Also, I'm considering doing this section solo. Is it fairly well traveled toward the end of May?

    Thanks for all your help!
    Carver's Gap to Round Bald or Grassy Ridge is an extremely popular day hike. Carver's Gap to Round Bald is essentially the trail version of an Interstate - wide, graveled in many places. Most climbs are less than a mile, with the climb from Yellow Mountain Gap to Little Hump being a mile and a half or so.

    Once you are off of Hump Mountain, and back into the trees, there is a rocky section, and the Google Maps plot for the trail is inaccurate for about a half mile (?).

    There are more rocks after the Doll Flats.

    I saw lots of people on my most recent Tue-Wed overnight through there.

  4. #4

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    They arent

  5. #5
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    Cake walk with switch backs

  6. #6

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    If you are in average or better shape they will be just fine. Sometimes being able to see the entirety of a long climb on the balds make it feel worse than it is but you should be fine.

    The descent from hump mountain down to 19E has a few extended sections of rock steps so taking your time and using poles can help the knees. After 19E its a series of rolling climbs and descents into Hampton- pretty typical trail. Its fairly scenic with some rivers and waterfalls along the way. Lots of water and camping opportunities. Its a nice section.

    Carvers gap to 19E will be very busy that time of year. 19E to Hampton less so but with the thru-hikers coming you'll see many people per day and won't be alone in any shelters.

  7. #7

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    Not bad. We did a 20 miler in pouring rain, at age 60 without any problems.

  8. #8
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    If you are new to hiking with a full pack, Roan can be a little intimidating but its doable. Roan only has rocks on the northside of Hump Mtn. There are only a few places where it is steep for 0.5 mile climbs. I only gripe at the big step downs with a heavy pack between Grassy Ridge and the Barn. Other that, the balds can be muck after a rain. On a good day its a great hike.

    After 19E to Dennis Cove is fairly easy. Switchbacks and good tread for the rest of the way.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 03-27-2018 at 15:59.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  9. #9
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    Its a really great hike with tons of great views, and not all that difficult. Have fun!

  10. #10

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    It is a great section, FYI after Doll Flats...(Leaving NC sign) the balds are over. But once past 19e you get into rivers, waterfalls and from I recall very little elevation change. Have a great trip

  11. #11
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    Little bit of slightly rutted trail with some roots. Other parts wide nicely graveled tread. The gravel being brought in to address previous erosion.

  12. #12

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    Carver gap to Jane's Bald is a reasonably modest and scenic climb. Jane's bald to Overmountain shelter is average. Another modest climb from Overmountain shelter to the Humps where the views start again. This bit is weather dependent. Your exposed for a few miles going across the humps so it's great on a nice day and a real struggle in a sideways blowing heavy rain.

    Now if you were starting at Hughes Gap and going over Roan, that is a good climb. The new switchbacks ruined it though. The switchbacks added half a mile to the climb and make it much less interesting. Going straight up the fall line of the ridge through the pines made me fell like I was back home in NH for a little bit.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  13. #13

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    My biggest problem through the section you are talking about in the fall was not blowing over. The only climb real tough near there was up Roan Mountain, but you aren't doing that one.

  14. #14
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    hump mt.jpgThis is the view from between Little Hump and Hump Mt. It is great fun but the wind can be brutal at times. It's pretty much all down hill through the woods from Hump Mt to the highway. That was my least favorite part. My suggestion would be to camp at Doll Flats and do the rest of the decent on fresh legs.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  15. #15

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    devoidapop,

    I agree. I didn't enjoy that part at all. Seemed to take forever and I was on a long 18 mile day, starting halfway up Roan. Barely made it in before dark. I thought Doll Flats was the small camping spot at the end of the open space. I figured I had 3 miles to go. About 2 miles later, when I thought I was done, I arrived at Doll Flats and almost fell over from the combination of exhaustion and disappointment. I was cursing the whole final 3 miles, especially the long switchbacks that seemed to only drop 10 feet at a time.

  16. #16
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    Ditto the exposure in a heavy wind driven rain or in wind driven heavy snowfall. It too reminded me of some of the NH AT.

  17. #17

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    Yeah. Wind can be rough but that's part of the fun. It's been a long time since I have had to deal with really bad wind up there however I have crossed it doing one step forward and one step to the left. Lol that brought back some good memories.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burrhead View Post
    Yeah. Wind can be rough but that's part of the fun. It's been a long time since I have had to deal with really bad wind up there however I have crossed it doing one step forward and one step to the left. Lol that brought back some good memories.
    Isn't it often easier recalling those memories as fun when in front of a keyboard in a warm location gulping coffee and eating a burger compared to experiencing it real time. LOL.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Little bit of slightly rutted trail with some roots. Other parts wide nicely graveled tread. The gravel being brought in to address previous erosion.
    Spot on....just did a quick trip from IMG to 19e....did this same section four years previously and was bad then and worse now...besides the icy trail going up and down Roan, lots of rutted up trail and mud itís great section. Fortunately the ice had some snow on top so wasnít terrible. Iíd say the bubble must be close as there were lots of thrus at over mountain shelter last night...the hammock was perfect strung up between some 2x4 in the full shelter as the temps were below freezing with heavy wind 30+ mph...sounded like the roof was about to blow off!


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  20. #20
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    Itís tough when ya got short legs!!!


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