Roan Mountain State Park
Guide

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Introduction

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.

With 87 RV sites 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. 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

RV Rentals in Roan Mountain State Park

Transportation in Roan Mountain State Park

Driving

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 speed bumps.

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

Parking is available at each RV site, and overflow parking is available near the campground check-in station 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. If you need additional supplies, the town of Roan Mountain is about 3 miles north of the park along TN-143, and has several restaurants and stores.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Roan Mountain State Park

Campsites in Roan Mountain State Park

Reservations camping

Roan Mountain State Park Campground

Roan Mountain State Park offers 87 RV sites with water and electric hookups. There are no sewer hookups in the campground, so you will have to make use of the single dump station. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance. Campsites 1-20 are premium campsites in the lower loop, and sites 41-90 are located on an incline above the river, which may be difficult for backing up with a big rig or trailer. Sites vary in length and are up to 64 feet long. All of the sites have a grill and picnic table, and the park offers free Wi-Fi. The two and a half mile Fred Behrend Trail is easily accessible from the upper or lower loop. Sites are available year-round, for up to 14 days at a time.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Roan Mountain State Park

In-Season

Miller Farmstead

Built 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 smoke house, chicken house, barn, root cellar, and 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.

Swimming

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.

Hiking

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, ranging from easy to difficult. For an easy hike, check out the 0.35 mile Peg Leg Mine Trail. For the most difficult hike, take on the two mile Chestnut Ridge Trail. Two of the trails in the park are multi-use—Blue 2 Trail and Moonshiner’s Run Trail—and offer about three miles of trails for mountain bikers.

Off-Season

Birding

Home to 174 distinct species of birds, Roan Mountain State Park is a bird-lover’s paradise in any season. If you’re visiting in 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.

Cross-Country Skiing

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 in winter, offering skiers fresh snow that is safe from vehicles.

Fishing

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.

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