Roan Mountain Blossoms

Roan Mountain Blossoms

Roan Mountain, TN, and the grassy balds for several miles to the north contain the biggest collection of native growing wildflowers of which I am aware in the Appalachian Mountains.  Each year in mid June is the peak season of the blossoms of rhododendron, flame azalea, mountain laurel, bluets and other flowers. The Roan Mountain State Park on the west side of the mountain hosts the annual Rhodendron Festival at this time, on the weekend calculated to be closest to the peak. When I have attended the festival I was put off by the jammed crowds and absence of parking.  This year I went on a Thursday and found the situation more comfortable. 

There are three parts to the festival.  First is the collection of food and craft booths at the park.  Next is the Cloudland Gardens at the top of the mouuntain which has the most intense collection of rhodendrons.  And last is the Appalachian Trail going north over the grassy balds which has the most variety of  wild flowers and the most expansive views.  Carvers Gap is the low area between Roan Mountain and the grassy balds.  It is on the line between NC and TN.  For this trip I skipped parts one and two, and hiked several miles on the A.T.  The weather was solid fog the whole trip. I got some nice flower photos but no long scale scenic pictures. 



GPS Coordinates: 36 6 22,-82 6 40

Bob Laney

Written by:

Bob is the site curator and writer of Blue Ridge Outing. Since starting the Blue Ridge Outing travel blog in 2002, Bob has written, recorded and documented countless expeditions in the US and around the world.