Boasting over 2,000 acres of mostly hardwood forest and a winding river that hosts trout year-round, Roan Mountain State Park is the gem of Tennessee’s state park system. Nestled in northeastern Tennessee at the base of the 6,285-foot Roan Mountain, this park has something to offer every type of visitor, making it the perfect pick for your next RV adventure. Hikers can take advantage of the park’s 12 miles of hiking trails, mountain bikers can ride along the nearly three miles of mountain bike trails, anglers can try their luck at catching trout in the Doe River, and history buffs can revel in the century-old Miller Farmstead.
Visitors to Roan Mountain State Park will find themselves surrounded by wildlife of all sorts, with everything from black bears to box turtles, white-tailed deer to wild turkeys, and ospreys to owls roaming the park. The park is home to a similarly rich cultural history; in 1780, the Overmountain Men hiked through what is now Roan Mountain State Park on their way to the Battle of King’s Mountain, a key battle in the Revolutionary War. A quick eight-mile drive from the park will take you to Carver’s Gap, where visitors can access the Appalachian Trail and check out the famous Catawba Rhododendron Gardens of Roan Mountain. The warm summer season stretches from Memorial Day to Labor Day and offers the Rhododendron Festival, a swimming pool, and Miller Farmstead events, while the cold, wet winter offers great cross-country skiing and birding, as well as smaller crowds.
With 87 RV sites suitable for beginner and veteran RV travelers alike and a well-maintained state highway running through the length of the park, Roan Mountain State Park is the ideal destination for your next RV vacation. Along with great RV sites, you can also stay in one of the 30 cabins, four group camp areas, or the 20 tent-only sites.
Getting to and around Roan Mountain State Park by RV is a breeze since Tennessee Highway 143 runs directly through the park. While the road is in good condition, it is quite curvy, so adjust your speed accordingly. The campground is located right off the highway, making it is easy to access; just be wary of the speed bumps that have caused some campers grief.
If you need to get any supplies before your journey there are plenty of places that you can visit, including Roan Mountain (around 1.5 miles away), Newland (about 14 miles away), and Linville (around 18.5 miles away). The closest city to the park is Johnson City, which is around 26 miles to the northwest.
Within the campground, the lower loop offers flat and level RV sites that are easy to access, while the upper loop is on a hillside with tight turns and difficult back-ins. Big rigs should plan to use the lower loop sites.
Parking is available at each RV site, and overflow parking is available near the campground check-in station, which is a short walk from the lower loop. Throughout the park, there is parking at the Recreation Area, the Park Headquarters & Conference Center, and the Gristmill Visitor Center.
Roan Mountain State Park features one campground that is perfect for RVs up to 64 feet in length to enjoy. The campground is very well regarded and is known to be kept in immaculate condition with friendly staff available to solve any issues you may have very promptly.
There are 87 sites suitable for RVs across the two loops, some of which are equipped with water and electric hookups for a little added luxury. There are no sewer hookups in the campground, so you will have to make use of the single dump station. All of the sites have a grill and picnic table, and the park offers free Wi-Fi to offset the lack of cell phone service. Pets are also allowed, and there are six bathhouses with showers to choose from.
One thing to note about the Roan Mountain State Park Campground is that the loops vary greatly in incline. Campsites 1 through 20 are in the lower loop, which are perfect for bigger rigs. Sites 41-90 are located on an incline above the river, which may be difficult for backing up with a big rig or trailer. The campground is open all year round and is a very popular destination, so reservations must be made in advance if you want to secure your chosen site.
If you are interested in group camping during your visit to Roan Mountain State Park you will be pleased to know that there are four group sites located to the south of the tent camping area. Each site is suitable for accommodating up to 25 people, and they all feature the same amenities. These include a gravel pad to camp on with your tent, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, and water collection points.
None of the group campsites have power available so you should be prepared for an off-grid camping experience. The group camping area is also around a quarter of a mile away from the campground bathhouse so keep that in mind. All sites are available via reservation and can be booked 12 months prior to your arrival. Please note that camping on the grass is not allowed.
Another great accommodation option for visitors looking to kick back and relax in a more luxurious environment is to spend your stay in one of the cabins. There are 30 cabins available for you to choose from, all of which are nestled in the forest.
There are two cabin layouts to pick from with 20 suitable for up to six guests and 10 that are suitable for up to eight. Each cabin has its own bathroom, cooking facilities, a full kitchen and a porch with rocking chairs to kick back and relax. The gorgeous rustic cabins are also equipped with fans that will come in handy during the warm summer months.
Your pets are allowed to join you if you choose to stay in one of the many pet-friendly cabins; however, there is an extra fee. The cabins can be used all year round but there is a two-night minimum stay no matter what time of year that you decide to visit. You can't drive your RV to the cabin, so you will have to park it at the campground check-in station.
If you are leaving the RV at home for your trip to Roan Mountain State Park but still want to do some camping you are in luck. All of the sites within the campground are suitable for tent camping, along with 20 sites that are specifically designated as tent-only sites.
All of the tent-only sites can still be reserved like normal prior to your arrival, and some are even located on the banks of the Doe River. Since there are a small number of tent-only sites they do tend to be reserved first, so if you are sure you won't be in an RV you should book your site prior to your arrival.
Home to 174 distinct species of birds, Roan Mountain State Park is a bird-lover’s paradise in any season. If you’re visiting during the off-season, look out for great blue herons, barred owls, red-tailed hawks, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, cedar waxwings, red-bellied woodpeckers, and winter wrens. If you visit in autumn, keep an eye out for raptors. The state park frequently hosts birding workshops and feeding programs led by rangers in the off-season, so be sure to visit their website for relevant events before your visit.
With northeastern Tennessee’s cold, wet winters, Roan Mountain State Park becomes a winter wonderland in the off-season — an ideal spot for winter adventurers eager for snow-dusted views and minimal crowds. Roan Mountain State Park and its trails become a perfect spot for cross-country skiing in the winter, while nearby Roan Mountain is a must-try for serious, experienced Nordic skiers. The Forest Service access road that takes visitors up to the rhododendron gardens from Carver’s Gap in summer months is closed during the winter, offering skiers fresh snow that is safe from vehicles.
Roan Mountain State Park may be best known for its legendary trout fishing. The Doe River, which stretches through the center of the park, is one of the most productive trout streams in Tennessee and is home to a healthy population of trout year-round, thanks to its clear, cool water. Native brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout are all stocked regularly. Fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout in the streams is especially popular among anglers.
Built way back in 1908 and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the Miller Farmstead is any history buff’s dream. This century-old house has been preserved to showcase how Appalachian settlers used to live in the Roan Mountain area and is surrounded by a smokehouse, chicken house, barn, root cellar, and an outhouse. The Miller Farmstead is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, and during this time, visitors can check out performances put on by local musicians and storytellers.
If you’re visiting in the summer, escape the Tennessee heat by cooling off in the outdoor pool. With a lifeguard on duty, a wading pool for young children, a big pool for swimming laps, plenty of lounge chairs, and Wi-Fi available, the swimming pool is a perfect family-friendly way to relax while enjoying the stunning scenery. The pool is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, so if swimming is a must-have for you, make sure to visit in the summer months.
Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll to stretch your legs or a challenging trek through rhododendron thickets, Roan Mountain State Park has a hiking trail for you. The park offers approximately 12 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to difficult. For an easy hike, check out the short Peg Leg Mine Trail that is less than a mile long. For the most difficult hike, take on the two-mile Chestnut Ridge Trail. Two of the trails in the park are multi-use (Blue Two Trail and Moonshiner’s Run) and offer around three miles of trails for mountain bikers.