My 7 Favorite Travel Photos of Roan Mountain in Tennessee & North Carolina

Written by
Jason Barnette
Posted on
June 19th, 2015
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I had always wanted to visit Roan Mountain, but it seemed every time I made it as far as Carver’s Gap it was late in the evening or the wrong season, so the gate was already closed across the road. When I finally made it to the top it was mid-June and the perfect time of year: the rhododendron bushes were in full bloom! It was quite a treat for my first time on this towering mountain peak!

I thought I would only be here for an hour, but I spent half a day. The mountain features a few hiking trails, some stunning scenic overlooks, the Appalachian Trail runs right across the mountain, and of course there are the Rhododendron Gardens. I don’t think I set my camera down the entire day!

Here are some of my favorite photos from my half day on Roan Mountain. Click the photo to purchase a print, or send me an email to license for publication.
The view from the scenic overlook at Roan High Bluff on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

Stunning view from the scenic overlook at Roan High Bluff, several hundred feet above the surrounding valleys.

The view from the scenic overlook at Roan High Bluff on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

Clouds move across the mountain ridges, making for an interesting day to stand on Roan High Bluff.

With very little soil, a tree has grown atop a large boulder along the Cloudland Trail leading to Roan High Bluff on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

With very little top soil, some trees have grown right on top of boulders like this one!

The view of windswept trees and the continuing mountain range from the scenic overlook on Roan High Bluff on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

Wind swept trees on top of the mountain.

People enjoy a walk along concrete paths in the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

Dozens of people enjoy the concrete paths through the Rhododendron Gardens.

People enjoy a walk along concrete paths in the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

Bumblebees were busy at work in the full blooms on the rhododendron bushes.

Blooming rhododendron along the concrete path at the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain near the town of Roan Mountain, TN on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette Roan Mountain straddles the border between the towns of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and Bakersville, North Carolina. The top of the mountain is known for having the largest natural rhododendron gardens in the country, maintained and operated by the National Forest Service. The recreation area includes hiking trails, the gardens, scenic overlooks, and the Appalachian Trail.

The full blooms were everywhere on the mountain, just a week before the annual Rhododendron Festival at Roan Mountain State Park.

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