Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The trip to Grassy Ridge Bald is 5 miles round trip and is absolutely filled with endless views and beauty.

You'll begin the adventure to Grassy Ridge Bald at the Carver’s Gap parking lot, located in the Pisgah-Cherokee National Forest on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Carver’s Gap is a very popular area, and parking can fill up quickly. Arrive early! Cross the road going northbound on the Appalachian Trail. Due to the number of balds and elevation, the weather can be very unpredictable—be prepared, then get on your way!

The first spot you'll hit is a conifer forest that will leave you wondering if you've lost your way and wandered into fairy tale. A foggy day makes the area even more magical. Once you exit the forest you'll make your way to the first of three balds on your hike, Round Bald.

Round Bald offers views and a few perfect spots for camping among the trees. After exploring Round Bald, continue north to Jane Bald. The rocky overlook area on Jane Bald is one of the most photographed spots in the area. Look back at Round Bald when you arrive there, and you'll see why! Have a snack and relax then continue on your journey.

You'll come to a junction where the Appalachian Trail continues left and the trail to Grassy Ridge goes right. Take the right to Grassy Ridge Bald. On your way up, you'll pass through a magnificent rhododendron tunnel. Past the tunnels are some of the best views in Tennessee and North Carolina. Take time to explore Grassy Ridge, continue down the trail to check out what the locals call the Saddle, set up camp, or just enjoy the day before returning to your vehicle at the Carver's Gap parking area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Endless views. Incredible campsites. Wildflowers. Longest stretch of balds in the Appalachian Mountains.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

5,512.00 ft (1,680.06 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,150.00 ft (350.52 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

Comments

I did this hike in late December - it was cold and windy; however, even with the lack of Rhododendrons it was absolutely beautiful.

Bring layers if you're doing this hike in winter. Once you reach the top of Grassy Bald you will notice a significant difference in both wind and temperature. Don't let that discourage you though - it's totally worth it!
I did a longer version of this hike - I started at Carver's Gap, went left down the AT to Hump Mountain (360 degree views with visibility into Virginia and across TN/NC when clear), returned and visited the Grassy Ridge Bald on my way back to my car in the parking lot. This was one of my favorite hikes I've ever done!
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