Roan Mountain / Carver's Gap Elopement Guide

The perfect location for running off to the mountains to elope! With 360 degrees panoramic views, grassy "balds", green forests on the way up, this place is so unique and stunning! Typically, referred to as Roan Mountain, this place is a beautiful bald that starts at the trailhead of Carver's Gap--a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Late spring to fall, this is a popular destination for hikers , backpackers, and nature enthusiasts.
If you've been here, you know the magic about it! If you elope here, you will know you made the right decision!


1.5 Mile out-and-back moderate hike

330 Elevation Gain

Are guests welcome?

This is an ideal location to have guests accompany you on your big day! See notes at the end for who it is best suitable for.

Best Times to Elope

April - October

-Mid-June the Rhododendrons are in bloom

Travel Fee

I do not charge a travel fee for shooting elopements at this location!

Location of Roan Mountain

The trail and top of the hike is literally on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, weaving in and out of both states! To get this location, there is a winding mountain road that can be driven from either the Tennessee or North Carolina side. This is about 20 minutes from either the town of Roan Mountain, TN or Bakersville, NC.

1.5 hours from Asheville, North Carolina
2.5 hours from Knoxville, Tennessee
1 hour from Johnson City, Tennessee
20 minutes from Roan Mountain, Tennessee
20 minutes from Bakersville, North Carolina

Why I Love

Roan Mountain

-Epic Views
-In my opinion, this is one of the most scenic mountains in the Eastern US. Roan mountain is a grass bald on the top which looks more like the highlands of Scotland, instead of the wooded and vegetated Eastern US and Appalachia Mountains. You get the best of both worlds with the grass bald and still being able to see 360 degrees views of the mountains stretching far into the horizon. Not to mention, you get to go through a fir-filled forest at the beginning of the hike.
Roan Mountain is known for their wild Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Actually, it happens to be the world's largest natural Rhododendron garden. How cool and beautiful! They also have Rhododendron Festivals in the towns on both sides of the mountain.
-Mid-June to July is usually the peak of the blooms!

How to Elope at Roan Mountain

- As long as you are not having more than 75 people at the wedding, NO permit is needed! One exception to that is if you hire a wedding planner or elopement planner, you would need a special use permit. However, my job as an elopement photographer is to serve you and help plan your day (not as an official planner) and there is no need for additional services.

-Officiant. You will need an ordained minister to marry you.

-The use of birdseed, rose petals, rice, live/dried plant/flower material is not allowed on the national forest. This is to protect the precious lands and resources. Opt for silk flowers or lanterns to embrace the Leave No Trace. Also, be sure to clean up and debris after the ceremony.

-Choose a ceremony spot on top of the bald. Keep in mind this is public land and enjoyed by all. You are not allowed to block a trail or an area for a ceremony. Good news is that the bald has many areas that go off the main trail that can feel secluded and away from many. Also, this is not a super crowded area, especially in comparison to many National Parks.

-Parking is only usually a problem on weekends and most popular times of the flowers blooming as there is a parking lot near the vault toilets and over flow parking past this.

-The U.S. Forestry Service works hard to preserve this area for us and for visitors in years to come. Being respectful of this land and all public land is so important as I am sure you understand. I am here to help you navigate and help you with this!

-U.S. Forestry link for Pisgah National Forest Weddings -

What to Pack

The hike is only .75 mile up and in total 1.5 miles round-trip but it is best to be prepared to have a few things in a pack.

Layered Clothing- Temperature can vary significantly on the mountain. Sometimes, the trailhead can seem cooler than the top of the mountain, either way this area will be cooler than the towns below. Bring layers you can add or remove easily.

Raincoat- We will more than likely be able to predict the weather and see if we need the raincoat. The raincoat may be handy for the heavy fog that occurs here often.

Hiking Shoes/Boots- The trail is very well-maintained and not extremely steep, but it is a good idea to have good grip and support.

Snacks and Water- It is so important to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up for your big day.

First-Aid Kit- This is something to keep in case of something unexpected

Weather at Roan Mountain

The weather can be somewhat unpredictable at Roan Mountain. Fog and clouds are something that needs to be considered because it affects this area all times of year due to the high elevation.

Snow may be present in April and May and early Fall.

Things to Think About

-An easy to moderate hike. 0.75 miles up and 0.75 miles down. Plenty of areas to stop and rest, take at your own pace.

-This is an elopement spot in which guests are welcome.

-The majority of hikers that I have seen have been active older couples 60+ to give reference of who may be able to hike this trail. This has elevation gain so not a trail for somebody with knee problems.

-There are many AirBnb's, cabin rentals (including Roan Mountain State Park) close by for accommodations.

-Flowers may not be allowed at this location, as many other elopement locations located in National Forests and National Parks. However, quality silk flowers look very nice. As mentioned earlier, lanterns and other items can be used. If wanting live flowers for an elopement, having a reception at a rental would allow for the flowers and other decorations.

Where to Elope Instead of the Great Smoky Mountains

The great Smoky mountains are beautiful! They are the most visited national park for a reason. However, eloping at Roan mountain, allows for more
-panoramic views
-less crowds
-and no permits!
If you are in the process of choosing a location to elope, reach out and I can help you in the process.

Howdy! I'm Heather

There is nothing more special in this world than the love you have for you and your partner. I am committed to helping and photographing couples who want to live life to the fullest, a life full of love, and have a wedding day reflect that!