Once winter settles over the Appalachians, the higher you go, the less people you see. This spot at the top of Roan Mountain is no exception. Where summer finds it brimming with hikers, winter brings stillness.

The 5-mile round trip can be a bit slippery after a snowstorm, but traction devices and hiking poles will give you the stability to climb beyond the trees to the 6,189-foot summit. There, frost often rimes the grass and rhododendrons and the views stretch for miles over the snowy Blue Ridge Mountains. Roan Mountain is actually a series of five distinct summits—Round Bald, Jane Bald, Grassy Ridge Bald, Roan High Knob, and Roan High Bluff.

You can walk the Appalachian Trail along almost the entire ridgetop, which is accessed from the trailhead at Carver’s Gap. 

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