According to the Forest Service in Asheville, the main recreation area on Roan Mountain will be closed prior to June 6th this year, and again after July 7th, for road paving and trail work, as well as reconstruction of the restrooms in the Cloudland area. This narrow window of time for the area to be open does correspond with the best time for viewing the famous rhododendron blooms in the Rhododendron Gardens area. The $700,000 needed for this project is coming from the unpopular American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
But don’t hesitate to visit this beautiful area. As a short-term bonus, the $3 fee usually charged to access the area will be dropped (presumably because they’ll be in the middle of construction and it will be a mess). Also, the Appalachian trail will remain open across the mountain, and some of the best hiking is to be done away from the construction area across the balds to the west anyway. The balds themselves will be receiving some restoration work, but this won’t prevent the Appalachian Trail from being closed this summer.