There are approximately 12 miles of day-use hiking trails in Roan Mountain State Park and approximately three miles of mountain bike trails. Difficulty levels range from easy to strenuous. The Appalachian Trail is accessible by an 8-mile drive from the park.
Roan Mountain State Park’s terrain can be steep and challenging, but rewarding. Know the local weather conditions prior to hiking and plan accordingly.
Caution: Foot traction devices are recommended when the park has snow and ice on roads, parking areas, walkways, and trails.
Peg Leg Mine Loop Trail (1.3 Miles) - EASY TO MODERATE – LIGHT BLUE
The loop trail begins behind the visitor center and highlights how habitat types differ with changing elevation and moisture conditions. The effects of invasive species on indigenous plants and trees, like the Eastern Hemlock, are also noticeable on the trail. About halfway along your hike, a side trail will lead to the ruins of an iron ore mine that was operational in the late 1800s, during a time when iron ore mining was a prominent industry in the area. Most of the mine shaft has caved in over the years, so entry is prohibited for safety reasons. As you near the mine site, you will notice the scarred landscape containing mine test holes and rail cart pathways. Upon arriving at the mine site, you will find steps that lead down to the entrance where miners and carts, loaded with iron-rich rock, once came and went.
Upon returning to the main trail, hikers can see diverse wildlife as they move through the Appalachian forest past unique rock formations, hiking down and over small ridges, and meandering along the Doe River before returning to the visitor center.
Turkey Trot Trail (.25 miles) - MODERATE TO STRENUOUS – PINK
This trail begins at the cabin overflow parking lot and ends at the top of the ridge. It serves as an access point from the cabin area to the Forest Road Trail and Moonshiners Run Trail.
Tom Gray Trail (.4 miles) - EASY – WHITE
This self-guided nature hike mostly follows the Doe River. Informational brochures are available at the Campground Check-In Station.
Riverside Trail (.5 miles) - EASY – WHITE
The Riverside Trail provides access from the cabin area to the amphitheater and picnic Shelter 2 by way of a boardwalk over a restored wetland. At Shelter 2, the trail enters the woods and leads hikers alongside the peaceful Doe River. The trail passes the group camp area to connect the Fred Behrend Trail. Hikers along the Riverside Trail can stop for a break along the water or find a spot to cast a line in the Doe River. The river is home to several types of trout and sustains a number of unique species. If you are lucky, you might even see an Eastern Hellbender salamander.
Raven Rock Trail (1.0 miles) - DIFFICULT – RED
Access to the trail is available at two junctions along the Forest Road Trail. Although the trail is rated difficult, it is considered by many hikers to be one of the favorite trails in the park. The trail is steep from either direction and ascends quickly to the crest of Heaton Ridge. The Raven Rock Overlook is located approximately halfway from either end of the trail. In addition to spring wildflowers, the trail offers stunning views of the Roan Valley and surrounding mountain ranges and is a great place to watch a Roan Mountain Sunset.
Blue 2 Bike Trail (1.35 Miles) - HIKING - EASY TO MODERATE – BIKING - MODERATE TO DIFFICULT - BLUE
Mountain bike trail standards would rate this single-track loop as moderate, but it does require some experience. It climbs and descends steeply in short sections, and makes some narrow switchback turns. With careful observation, hikers and bikers will see evidence of old homes and farm sites that are located throughout this hollow. The mountain bike trails should not be ridden when they are muddy, as riding in wet conditions damages the trails. Mountain bikers should wear helmets while riding. The mountain bike trails are always open to hikers. Please be courteous to fellow trail users and call out before passing.
Moonshiners Run Bike Trail (1.85 miles) - HIKING - EASY TO MODERATE – BIKING - MODERATE TO DIFFICULT -YELLOW
This linear trail mostly follows the Doe River from the southwestern Turkey Trot trailhead to Hwy 143 at Cates Hole. The trail is wide and level in sections but narrows to a more technical single-track in the last mile. The trail consists of mostly rolling hills and a few steep climbs. Trail users will find many places to stop and take a break next to the Doe River while enjoying riverside views and spring wildflowers. Bike trails should not be ridden when muddy and are always open to hikers. Mountain bikers should be courteous to fellow trail users and should always wear helmets when riding.
Fred Behrend Trail (2.35 Miles) - MODERATE TO DIFFICULT - GREEN
This loop trail travels through a typical Southern Appalachian forest. Two spur trails allow hikers to enter or exit the loop from access points in the campground. This trail climbs and descends steeply in places, making its loop around the entire campground. The trail leads hikers alongside the Doe River before ascending a moderate hike into lush thickets of rhododendron. Hikers on the Fred Behrend Trail can expect to traverse a rich Appalachian ecosystem consisting of mountain hollows and stream crossings. The trail ends at the junction to the Riverside Trail where hikers can continue back to the campground.
Chestnut Ridge Trail (1.95 Miles) - DIFFICULT – ORANGE
This trail is very strenuous, the most challenging trail in the park. Hikers can access the Chestnut Ridge Trail from the Forest Road Trail. The Chestnut Ridge climbs very steeply through deciduous forest and rhododendron thickets. The trail quickly gains elevation on its way to the Miller Farmstead on Strawberry Mountain. Views from the trail are especially nice in winter when the leaves have fallen from the trees. At the top of the trail, hikers are rewarded with a stunning view of the Roan Highlands from an overlook platform. Black bears frequent this remote section of the park. Hikers are encouraged to make noise and hike in pairs.
Forest Road Trail (2.75 Miles) - EASY TO DIFFICULT - PURPLE
The longest trail in the park connects the visitor center and the campground and acts as a link to several other trails. The southern section of the trail is rated easy from the campground to the cabin area. From the cabin area to the north, the trail ranges from moderately difficult to difficult. The section from the Turkey Trot junction to Hwy 143 is very steep, but worth the effort, especially in spring when the forest floor is carpeted in wildflowers. Hikers on the Forest Road Trail can expect rhododendron tunnels, bridge crossings over the Doe River, and beautiful views of Roan Mountain during the winter months.