Roan Mountain State Park looks ahead to 2015 events

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks Kaylee and Payton Long enjoy a bowl of chili at the Roan Mountian State Park chili cookoff.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Kaylee and Payton Long enjoy a bowl of chili at the Roan Mountian State Park chili cookoff.

As residents prepare to ring in the new year, the staff at Roan Mountain State Park is preparing to kick off a busy year full of fun and activities for all ages.
Throughout the year, Roan Mountain State Park hosts a variety of events and celebrations. Some of the park’s more popular annual events have already been scheduled for 2015.
Be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on the fun.
• First Day Hike – Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Thursday, Jan. 1
Start 2015 on a high point with Roan Mountain State Park’s first hike. What better way to celebrate the New Year than to climb to the summit of beautiful Roan Mountain? Join Park Ranger Meg Guy for a challenging yet invigorating winter adventure on Thursday, January 1, 2015 along the world-famous Appalachian Trail.
The hike will be very strenuous and approximately three miles round trip, climbing 800 feet in 1.5 miles as we travel southbound from Carver’s Gap to the summit of Roan High Knob. After a break for lunch at the AT’s highest trail shelter, we will make the return descent of 1.5 miles back to Carver’s Gap.
Meet at Park Headquarters at 11 a.m. to drive as a caravan eight miles to the trailhead at Carver’s Gap. You must be prepared for cold, windy and snowy conditions — the temperature is often in the teens and the wind is high at 6,285 feet! Also, the trail is steep and may be slick in sections, so bring your hiking poles. Dress in several insulated layers, wear sturdy, waterproof hiking boots, a windproof outer shell, thermal hat and gloves. Please pack lunch, snacks and drinking water (a warm beverage thermos is highly recommended!)
Following the hike, we’ll drive back down to the Park Conference Center to shake off the chill and enjoy hot cocoa by the hearth. Call Roan Mountain State Park for more information, 423-772-0190, or email * Route of hike may be subject to change due to weather, road, and trail conditions. Hike will be canceled in the event of severe weather.
• Winter Naturalists’ Rally
Saturday, Feb. 14
Join us for the 7th annual winter exploration of the Roan Highlands and its unique grassy balds, scenic trails, trees, shrubs and geology. Led by Friends of Roan Mountain. For more information please call 423-772-3500 or visit:
• Spring Hike – Clean-Up Hike at Roan Mountain
Saturday, March 21
Join park staff for a trail maintenance work day to clean up winter deadfall. Shake the dust off those boots and come prepared to hike far and work hard! Work project time and details for our Spring Hike 2015 are to be announced. Please call Park Headquarters for more information.
• Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, March 28
Celebrate Spring with this Easter tradition for children ages 10 and younger. 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Meet at the Amphitheater.
• Spring Naturalists’ Rally
Friday, April 24 – Sunday, April 26; activities going on all day during all three days
For 57 years, lovers of Roan Mountain and its natural wonders have been gathering for this annual event. Sign up for dinner, lectures, hikes, bird watching, viewing the night sky and more! Led by Friends of Roan Mountain. For complete details please call 423-543-5805 or visit
• Jr. Trout Tournament
Saturday, May 9
Kids ages 6-15 get a chance to catch “The Big One” and win prizes. The Doe River is stocked with tagged fish prior to the event. Registration begins at the Park Amphitheater at 8 a.m. and fishing starts at 9 a.m. Sponsored by the Elizabethton Elks Lodge and Roan Mountain State Park.
• National Trails Day – Diamond Dash Trail Run at Roan Mountain
Saturday, June 6
Meet at Campground Check-In for an adventurous 5K+ run that celebrates our love of trails. Registration at 8:30 a.m. race starts at 9 a.m. Prizes are awarded to the top finishers. Contact park office for more information and advance registration.
• Rhododendron Festival
Saturday, June 20 – Sunday, June 21
The Rhododendron Festival is a long-standing springtime tradition that hails the blooming of the world-famous Rhododendron Gardens atop Roan Mountain. The festival features crafters, folkway demonstrators, musicians, and tasty food! Held at the Park Amphitheater, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day. Sponsored by the Roan Mountain Citizens Club. Additional information can be found at
• Independence Day Celebration
Saturday, June 27
All Day
Roan Mountain State Park commemorates the 4th of July the old-fashioned way with a bicycle parade, traditional field games, checkers tournament, watermelon eating contest and more. Family fun for all ages! Events begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue all day!
• Junior Ranger Camp
Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 10
Kids ages 8-12 learn about the fascinating natural world around them and acquire valuable outdoor skills from experienced park rangers at this award-winning day camp… and earn their own Junior Ranger badges! Registration opens May 18.
• Xtreme Roan Adventures Youth Rally
Saturday, July 25
Children ages four and older enjoy a fun-filled day of nature talks, hikes, live animal exhibits, and lunch. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Led by Friends of Roan Mountain. For more information please
• 53rd Annual Fall Naturalists’ Rally
Friday, Sept. 11 – Sunday, Sept. 13
The 53rd annual fall gathering of nature enthusiasts of all stripes! Fellowship over dinner, enjoy informative lectures, explore trails on guided hikes and bird watching excursions and more. Led by Friends of Roan Mountain. For more information please call 423-543-7576 or visit
• National Public Lands Day – Roan Mountain
Saturday, Sept. 26
Participate in this national day of service by volunteering to give back to the public lands you love… namely, Roan Mountain State Park! Work project time and details TBA, call Park Headquarters for more information.
• Chili Cook-off
Saturday, Oct. 3
Cook up a pot of your secret recipe and compete for prizes, or just come sample the chefs’ creations! Everyone is welcome to kick-off the fall season with food, fun, and fellowship. Register at Park Headquarters or Campground.
• Autumn Harvest
Saturday, Oct. 10
Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage at the Miller Farmstead and celebrate Autumn at the park’s annual harvest festival with traditional crafts, food, and entertainment.
• Halloween in the Campground
Saturday, Oct. 24
The Campground is transformed into a spooky scene as campers vie for best decorated campsite and kids trick or treat from site to site. Haunted hayrides, kids’ games, food vendors, and a bonfire add to the fun! Activities run from 6-9 p.m.
• Old Time Yule
Saturday, Nov. 14
Roan Mountain State Park ends the year’s events with an old-fashioned holiday celebration at the Miller Farmstead. Step back in time and experience how Christmas was celebrated years ago, with traditional music and tasty treats. This event is from noon to 4 p.m.

Photo by Brandon Hicks Local group Thistle Dew performs during the 2014 Old Time Yule celebration.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Local group Thistle Dew performs during the 2014 Old Time Yule celebration.

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