Hiking the trails… Round Bald welcomes hikers of all skill levels

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2022

BY GRACIE FIELDS
STAR CORRESPONDENT
* Editor’s Note: Gracie Fields is an avid hiker and today continues a series looking at the many trail opportunities available to outdoor enthusiast here in Carter County. She will be providing photos of her hikes with each article.
Round Bald, the first bald on Carvers Gap, located in Roan Mountain, is friendly for all skill levels of hikers.
There is an informational sign that allows visitors to learn about the trail and surrounding nature. The trail begins on an open path that gives a clear view of the surrounding mountains.
Ascending the trail leads to dense rhododendron, native to East Tennessee. The trail consists of wooden steps that can sometimes be tricky to navigate.
Although the trail is sightful at all times of the year, April through October are prime times to visit. “I love hiking here during April when the rhododendrons bloom, it’s just a beautiful sight,” said one hiker.
From the first bald, the view of local mountain ranges fills the sky. Many hikers prefer to hike the first bald in the morning or evening, simply because of the stunning sunrise and sunset views.
A round-trip to Round Bald is 1.5 miles, with a total elevation gain of 334 feet. The trail length makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the surrounding nature, regardless of skill level.
Since the trail connects to the Appalachian Trail, beginner and advanced hikers often cross paths. The trail however can pose a few difficulties if not properly prepared.
The mountain’s overall elevation of 5,522 can make for a range of weather. Packing layers, rain gear, and a change of clothes can always be handy when hiking Round Bald.
Snow and rain affect the trail greatly since it is only partially covered by trees, leaving many parts icy. Being aware of the conditions before hiking can make the trip more enjoyable and safe for everyone included.
The trail is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. However, pets are welcomed but they must stay on a leash when around other hikers.
Overall, Round Bald is a scenic and easy hike for everyone to enjoy.
All photos are by Gracie Fields.

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