CLIMB INTO THE CLOUDS

ROAN HIGH KNOB SHEL­TER CHERO­KEE NA­TIONAL FOR­EST, TEN­NESSEE

Backpacker - - VIEW WITH A ROOM -

Thru-hik­ers are hard-pressed to find any­thing more than a three-sided, bunker-style lean-to along the en­tire 2,180-mile length of the Ap­palachian Trail. So when the climb up to Roan High Knob lands the weary at the foot of a four-walled 1933 log cabin, it might as well be a five-star ho­tel.

Com­pared to the rest of the AT hut sys­tem, ameni­ties in this old fire war­den’s hut are far from spar­tan: It’s got easy ac­cess to a year-round stream, a fire pit, a cook prep shelf on the front porch, a sec­ond-story loft (with an ac­tual win­dow­pane), plus enough room to sleep 15. But those aren’t the only things that give this hut an air of the high life: At 6,285 feet, it also sits at the high­est el­e­va­tion of any shel­ter along the AT.

Ac­cess the hut on a .6-mile hike through rhodo­den­dron tun­nels from the epony­mous park­ing area. Next day, con­tinue north­bound on the AT to check off one of its best bite-size sec­tions: De­scend 1.5 miles through mist-drenched spruce-fir for­est to Carver’s Gap be­fore strolling as many as 7 miles over Roan’s fa­mous balds for views down the val­leys that drop off ei­ther side of the mas­sif. Re­turn the way you came.

Trail­head Roan High Knob Sea­son Year-round Ameni­ties Wooden plat­form (bring a pad) Reser­va­tion Free; first-come, first-serve Con­tact tehcc.org

The rhodo­den­drons on Roan’s Grassy Ridge bloom in June.

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