Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Cool mountain adventures

Posted July 6, 2010

We'll spend the rest of this week talking about cool mountain adventures. We'll beat the heat by heading west.

My first recommendation is Roan Mountain 6,200 feet up in Mitchell County. You may be a little late for the spectacular rhododendron display but you will love the trails and panoramic views. There's a great state park on the Tennessee side of Roan Mountain or you can find a nice bed & breakfast in Bakersville on the NC side.

While you're on your Roan trip be sure to check out Jack Dellinger's historic gristmill along Cane Creek near Bakersville. Jack is my mountain cousin with a wonderful personality and wealth of stories. He restored a mill that has been in the Dellinger family for more than 150 years. Jack grinds the best cornmeal and grits this side of heaven. You may have seen Tar Heel Traveler Scott Mason’s story about Jack who restored the mill after helping put man on the moon as an engineer. The Carolina Photojournalism Workshop also featured Jack in a recent essay. Links are included.

The third prong of this mountain jewel of a trip is Bill Carson at Little Switzerland. Bill runs The Orchard at Altapass along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Be sure to take a hayride and listen to Bill's fabulous stories about mountain life. Bill was part of our recent special on the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What else would you recommend for this journey to the Roan Mountain area?

Tomorrow we will head to Grandfather Mountain for some cool and colorful fun.


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  • fgump Jul 12, 2010

    I was at Elk River Falls last week as well, and had never been there before. I think it's a neat place, but the litter and behavior of other parkgoers was a bit out of line. There were multiple people jumping off the top of the falls....that's a 60 foot freefall. Not advisable in the least.

  • bugsp1981 Jul 7, 2010

    I like Elk Knob State Park, North of Boone of 194, the views from the top of the mountain are good, the hike for the most part is easy, a nice screened rock path, the final 100 yards is rough. Great veiws and nice breezes

  • trungeto Jul 7, 2010

    Drive up Roaring Fork Valley just outside of Minneapolis NC. Park at the turn-out, and walk up the forest road to the Overmountain Barn Shelter. Breath taking views can be seen from the Barn. Then venture up to the Appalachian Trail and head northbound to the Hump Mountains and Bradley Gap.

  • Riverracer8 Jul 6, 2010

    Elk River Falls is not on Roan Mountain but is not too far, and a wonderful place to cool off in the summertime!

  • tonielam Jul 6, 2010

    We just got back on Monday from Buladean. We stayed at a friends place and when you walked out the back door, you could see Roan Mountain. I love it there. We also went to Mt. Mitchell. That too is a beautiful place to visit. We did some Rhododendrons still in bloom at the higher elevations. Like here, it is very dry there.
    Blueberries are in season there; lots of cobblers being made and served hot with vanilla ice cream.
    Have fun!!!!

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