Hiking the trails… Raven Rock provides challenge for hikers of any level

Published 11:10 pm Thursday, March 31, 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 enthusiasts here in Carter County. She will be providing photos of her hikes with each article.
One of the many hiking trails in Roan Mountain State Park, Raven Rock Trail is one of the more advanced skill-level trails.
The beginning of the trail is located directly across from the road leading to the campsites. Although the trail is somewhat difficult to locate, the Park Headquarters offer free park maps. The maps show the hiking trails and other sites in the park.
Raven Rock is one of the eleven hiking trails located in Roan Mountain State Park. This trail is considered one of the most difficult trails but many hikers consider it their favorite.
“Anytime I want to go on a good hike, this is the trail I would pick,” said one hiker.
The trail is a 1.5-mile loop that is steep both ways. With an elevation of 515 feet, the trail can be classified as moderate to difficult. The trail is not wheelchair accessible but children and dogs are welcome. Dogs must be on a leash during the duration of the hike.
Raven Rock trail is sometimes difficult to navigate, it is not carefully marked and not often well-traveled. There are many rocky surfaces that can become a threat when wet or to hikers with balance problems.
The trail is surrounded by the local rhododendrons, which provide beautiful scenery during the spring and summer.
There are a few switch-backs that can be confusing if not careful. The trail becomes extremely narrow and unbalanced towards the end. At the end of the trail, however, the overlook is well worth the hike.
“It’s a wonderful place to view the surrounding mountains, the park, and even sunsets,” said another hiker.
The hike is just as steep on the way down as it is on the way up.  Many hikers recommend anyone who isn’t experienced with steep trails bring hiking poles, for balance.
Overall, Raven Rock is a moderate to difficult trail that offers a challenge and beautiful views.

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