Round Bald, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge Bald on the Appalachian Trail
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
The Appalachian Trail is such a dreamy place for mountain lovers. This particular section of the AT has intrigued me for quite a while now because of one key word... bald.
Yes, y'all, the same word that may have your dad researching Bosley is one that, to me, screams of a good hike. The 360 degree views from a mountain bald never fail to make my heart flutter and jaw drop, and the great thing about this hike is that there are three consecutive balds, so the views are nearly endless!
So, without further ado, let's get into this hike.
Length: 4.7 miles
Why it's cool: Views the WHOLE time!
I've listed this hike as moderate/strenuous because there are definitely a couple of spots that will get your heart racing, however, much of this is relatively flat, so you can enjoy the views without wondering if your thighs are going to give out.
To begin this hike, I parked at Carver's Gap near the Tennessee/North Carolina line. Be sure to get here early to begin your hike, as the parking lot fills up very quickly throughout the day.
The first bald along this hike is Round Bald. From here, you'll have spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain and the Linville Gorge looking towards the Southeast. This was an interesting view for me personally, as I'm used to looking at these iconic peaks from the south looking north. Geography is a crazy thing, y'all.
If all you want for the day is a quick walk up a hill and magnificent views, or if you have tiny humans with you along your journey, then you may just want to stop here. If you do, no worries, you're still getting some of the best views along the trail from Round Bald.
However, if you are a hiking fiend and just can't be stopped from traversing that long, sexy trail before you, then Jane Bald is the next peak that you'll encounter, and she is a BEAUT. Much of what you can see is the same, but from here, you get an even better view of the Roan Valley below.
Last, but certainly not least, Grassy Ridge Bald is the final peak on this short hike along the AT. Unlike the other peaks, the trail to Grassy Ridge is a spur off of the actual trail, but there is plenty of good signage to point you in the right direction.
In one spot, the spur trail is incredibly narrow and weaves you through the thicket of some rhododendron, so you'll have to pull some interesting maneuvers if you see hikers coming from the other direction.
At the top of Grassy Ridge, there's a neat plaque that honors Cornelious Rex Peake that's worth the read when you get to the top.
And, of course, there is an abundance of views that you can't pass up when you make it to the top! This hike is one of the most scenic I've ever done, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is interested.
Be sure that when you're discovering new places to practice Leave No Trace principles. Take only pictures, and leave only footprints. Happy wandering, y'all!
SHOP MOUNTAIN INSPIRED GOODS HERE: