About and How to Visit:
Straddling the border of Tennessee’s Carter County and North Carolina’s Mitchell and Avery Counties, the Roan Mountain massif rises above the farms and villages of the valley below. Known as the Highlands of Roan, these mountain peaks and ridges, for the most part above 4,000 feet in elevation, are renowned for their exceptional biological diversity and magnificent beauty.
The Highlands of Roan form a showcase of biological diversity, punctuated by grassy balds, rhododendron gardens, high-elevation rock outcrops, southern Appalachian bogs, and rich spruce-fir forests. The Roan’s ecosystem is one of the richest repositories of temperate zone biodiversity on earth, including more federally listed plant species than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
An abundance of hiking trails, local festivals, hunting opportunities, trout fishing, and scenic vistas for sightseeing make the Highlands of Roan a recreational hotspot of the Southern Appalachians. This area encompasses sections of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Cherokee National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and several state parks and natural areas — including Roan Mountain State Park.
SAHC’s involvement in conservation:
The Roan Highlands are SAHC’s flagship conservation focus area. Here, our founders fell in love with incredible scenic views from the Appalachian Trail and the rare, globally important ecosystems. For more almost half a century, we have worked to protect land in the Roan, including tracts that have been incorporated into Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, Yellow Mountain State Natural area, and more. Each year, we lead a June Jamboree in the Roan — a day of free, guided hikes of varying difficulties — to introduce people to this majestic landscape.
Through our Roan Stewardship Committee, we provide consistent and informed leadership for the guardianship of the Roan Highlands. The Roan Stewardship Committee consists of members from federal, state and private partners. SAHC staff convenes the committee to address the stewardship and management of the grassy balds, Hampton Creek Cove Natural Area, and priority species habitat.
Roan in Pisgah National Forest
Roan in Cherokee National Forest