Hump Mountain is the northern pillar of the Roan Highlands, which straddle the Tennessee-North Carolina border. An exspansive, grassy bald, this peak commands a spectacular 360 degree view from its summit, which is traversed by the Appalachian Trail.
On Houston Ridge, near the summit, is a plaque dedicated to Stan Murray, who was influential in the development of the Appalachian Trail. He served as the Appalachian Trail Conference's chairman from 1961 to 1975. Without his hard work and leadership, the AT would not traverse the Roan Highlands or Hump Mountain. Hikers would not be able to enjoy the unique ecosystems of the Roan Highlands or break free of the woodlands for miles of open, grassy ridges, which allow for some of the most refreshing vistas on the entire trail.
The mountain's broad southern slopes.
The longer, more scenic hike is from Carvers Gap (5512'), located on the TN/NC border.
To get there:
Tennessee – From Interstate 26 in Johnson City exit US Highway 321 to Elizabethton. Follow 321 to 19E (in Elizabethton) and turn right. Take 19E southeast to Roan Mountain. Turn right on Highway 143 in Roan Mountain. Follow 143 south to Carvers Gap. A parking lot is located on your right.
North Carolina –
From Asheville take the Blue Ridge Parkway to 226 North (NE of Little Switzerland).
Take 226 to Bakersville and turn north on 261/143. Take 261/143 to Carvers Gap. A parking lot will be on your left.
Hump Mountain can also be climbed from the AT near Elk Park North Carolina.
To get there:
From Interstate 26 in Johnson City exit US Highway 321 to Elizabethton. Follow 321 to 19E (in Elizabethton) and turn right. Take 19E southeast toward Elk Park, North Carolina. Shortly before entering Elk Park, you will see a gravel pullout on the right side of the road just before an overpass. The Appalachian Trail crosses the road here. Begin hiking on the southwest side of the road.
You may want to consider obtaining permission to park in the driveway of a nearby residence, as car vandalism and theft can be probelmatic along Highway 19E. As such, the gravel pullout near the trail crossing may not be the safest place to park. In addition, I would warn against parking your car overnight at Carver's Gap.
RoutesElk Park Ascent
10.8 miles round trip.
Hump Mountain can be hiked from the Appalachian crossing at 19E in Elk Park (see above)
This route ascends the peak from an elevation of 3150' for a total elevation gain of 2437'.
Carvers Gap/Yellow Mountain Route
19.2 miles round trip
This route is often included in the 13 mile run from Carvers Gap to Elk Park. Although the net elevation gain is only 75', the trail drops and climbs continuously, reaching 6,000' on the slopes of Grassy Ride Bald and dropping to 4600' before passing through Yellow Mountain Gap. This route is highly recommended, as much of it traverses grassy balds and open fields between 5000' and 5500'.
Both routes follow the Appalachian trail.
Looking south to Roan High Knob.
Hikers and backpackers can camp at numerous sites and shelters along the trail. A shelter is located 1/4 mile SW of the pullout at 19E.
Camping is also located nearby at:
Roan Mountain State Park
1015 Hwy. 143
Roan Mountain, TN 37687
No permits required to hike Hump Mountain.
Thanks to Peter Larkins for the following links.
Stone Mtn. Weather Report
Stone Mtn. is along the western front of the High County (along the NC/TN border) like Hump, so the weather would be comparable, especially during frontal events.
Beech Mountain Weather
Beech Mtn. is closer to Hump and has about the same elevation. The weather would be comparable to Hump during a stable weather period.
External LinksSite dedicated to Stan Murray.