Appalachian Trail (Carvers Gap to U.S. Highway 19E)
Difficult 2-day backpacking trip along the North Carolina/Tennessee border
This trail is best hiked from south to north; several local businesses provide a shuttle.
The trail begins at the base of Round Bald, with stunning views of what lies ahead waiting at the summit. The trail descends to Engine Gap, then climbs Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge Bald, all in the first two miles. A small, dry tent site is located at 2.7 miles, and the Roan Highlands AT Shelter (which can sleep up to six) is just up the trail at 3.1 miles. The trail winds through the woods for the next mile and a half or so past the shelter, arriving at another small, dry campsite at 4.8 miles. At about 5 miles a barn-like building (not visible from the trail) known as the Yellow Mountain Barn or Overmountain Shelter can be found just to the southwest of the trail. It can sleep 20+ hikers. From there, the trail makes a gradual climb to the top of Little Hump Mountain, which is one of the most beautiful places to camp if the weather isn't too bad (a more sheltered area is located around the southern side of the bald). A trail to water is located along the treeline on the south side of the bald. Continuing along the trail, the descent from the bald is steep, but the trail levels out and arrives at Bradley Gap at 7.4 miles. The trail then begins the steep climb up Big Hump Mountain, with loads of stunning views all the way up. The trail makes a pretty sharp right-hand turn towards the top of the mountain, so keep an eye on the blazes. After following the ridge for a time, the trail begins a rocky crossing of the northeastern side of Big Hump Mountain. A spring is conveniently located at 10.1 miles, so keep an eye out for it. From there the trail crosses a meadow to reach Doll Flats, which is a great place to stop for lunch. Then trail crosses a fence line, then bears right to head down a slippery slope, reaching a set of steep switchbacks at 11.2 miles. After a few well-marked turns, the trail arrives at the Apple House AT Shelter at the 12.8-mile mark, with just a little over half a mile left to go. The trail then crosses a field and a small bridge, reaching the ending trailhead at 13.4 miles.
Length: 13.4 miles