elopement couple holding hands running on top of roan mountain

Trying to figure out where to elope? Consider Roan Mountain in Eastern Tennessee! The spot that most people hike to for their elopement is technically called Round Bald, but most still refer to it as Roan Mountain. This location is a “bald” which is a type of mountain that has 360 degree unobstructed views. That makes this spot perfect for both sunset & sunrise ceremonies. There are so many pros to eloping here!

The Hike

The hike to “Round Bald” is only about two thirds of a mile one way. It is uphill the entire way, but not too steep. If you want to elope on the actual Roan Mountain, your hike will be more like four miles round trip. You’ll park at Carver’s Gap & cross through an opening in a fence and start the trek upwards. Almost immediately you’ll pass through a pine forest which makes for the perfect spot to get dressed into your wedding attire or touch up before your first look or ceremony. (Don’t worry, I have a popup changing tent exactly for these situations) After hiking through the forest you’ll pop out and get your first panoramic views. Continue upwards until you reach the top of the bald where there is plenty of room to have an intimate ceremony.

wedding couple embracing smiling at each other on top of Roan mountain for their elopement

Travel to Roan Mountain

Carver’s Gap is about an hour and a half drive from Asheville, 2.5 hours from Knoxville, & about an hour from Boone.


The weather on Roan Mountain can be iffy! The bald sits at about 5800ft above sea level which makes it colder than down below in town. That means you can still get snow up here in May. When planning a Tennessee Elopement in the mountains it’s extremely important to have a few backup plans. Generally the roads are fairly well maintained, but just after a snow storm they can be very scary.


Make sure to bring adequate clothing & to warn guests to wear layers. Because of the lack of trees, on a sunny day it can feel very hot even when the temperature isn’t that warm. But also because of the lack of trees, if there’s any wind, it can feel very cold even on a warm day. Hand warmers are also super helpful fall through spring.

Best Time of Year for your Roan Mountain Elopement

The best time of year for an elopement ceremony at Roan Mountain depends on what you’re looking for! If you like the look of frozen trees & snow, winter & early spring is perfect. For autumn leaves on the mountains in the backdrop, then October is your best bet. If you want to see the Rhododendron Blooms on the neighboring mountains after your ceremony, then June is when you’ll want to elope there.

Permits for Roan Mountain Elopements

The best part about this location is that it is part of the National Forest land. That means that no permit is required for elopements with guests under 75 people. (Although I highly suggest keeping the guest count to a minimum because parking can get full during busy weekends). The only exception for this is if you are using a wedding planner. That would require a special use authorization since the wedding planner would be liable in case of an emergency due to their involvement in helping choose your location.

Some important notes on eloping on National Forest Land:

  • Birdseed, petals, rice, etc., CANNOT BE USED. They are detrimental to the environment & wildlife.
  • Chairs, arbors, or other large items are prohibited
  • You cannot ask other visitors to move for your ceremony or photos. The mountain is public land & is meant for everyone to enjoy
roan mountain elopement couple in wedding attire sitting on rock with panoramic mountain view

Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips & tricks to have the best Roan Mountain Elopement ever!

  • Dogs are allowed, so bring your pupper!
  • Carpool with family & friends. Parking can get difficult on the weekends because the location is a very popular spot for backpacking.
  • There are NO restrooms, so make sure to go before starting the drive & remind your guests!
  • The road to Carver’s Gap goes up the mountain on both sides. Generally the NC side is maintained well in the winter while the TN side is not.
  • Wear comfy shoes for the hike & bring your nicer shoes in a backpack to wear for your ceremony
  • Bring a headlamp for the hike down the mountain if you plan on doing a sunset elopement


The perfect timeline for a Roan Mountain sunset elopement would be:

1pm-2pm: Hair & Makeup/Getting Ready at airbnb

2pm – 3:30pm: Drive from Asheville to Carver’s Gap

3:30pm – 4pm: Put on your wedding attire in the tree covered area

4:30pm: First Look

5pm: Ceremony

5:30pm – 6pm: Family & guest photos

6pm-6:30pm: Couple’s photos

6:30pm – 7pm: Hike back to cars

7:30pm: Dinner in Bakersville or other nearby town

couple holding hands and walking away on top of mountain at sunset


Here are some of my favorite vendors (some seen in these photos) for your Roan Mountain Elopement!

Dresses: Lillian Ruth Bride

Tuxes: Prestige Tuxedo

Officiant: Happily Ever Asheville

Cake: Layered By Lex

Final Notes

Roan Mountain makes for the best elopement location for couples wanting to add a little bit of adventure to their day – with stunning views – but still being close enough to town to celebrate after. It’s accessible for anyone able to hike very short distances, which means you can have family & friends join you. Roan is an affordable option & a beautiful spot all year long. For more elopement tips, checkout my planning resources. If you’re wanting to book my photography services for you Roan Mountain Elopement, click here.



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  1. Haley says:

    Hello! I’m curious you mentioned no permit needed to elope here, what about photography?

    • As far as I know, you only need a permit if you plan on using the photos for advertising, if the photos are part of a styled shoot, you are planning the elopement as well as taking the photos, or if you plan on guiding clients onto the land.

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Amanda & Joe

"Kirsten was so sweet and fun to hang out with - it felt like we brought a friend along with us! She captured everything I wanted and gave us the perfect photos for us to remember our special day.
We received a mix of candid photos and portraits.

I thought I would feel awkward taking portraits. but she gave great prompts that made it fun and had us laughing. When I received my photos. I was blown away at how natural we looked and how much of our love was captured in the photos. I am literally obsessed with how our pictures came out!"

Payton & Kristen

"Kirsten produced lovely photos from our very dreamy and memorable mountain photo shoot. We display the engagement photos proudly all around our house. She knows the area well and can suggest areas if you are not.

She's non-judgmental if you're nervous about being in front of a camera and LGBTQ+ friendly! We highly recommend Kirsten to anyone looking to get engaged or elope in the Asheville area."

Caroline & Cameron

"😭😭 These are amazing. Thank you so so much for making this chaotic day look so peaceful and magical. I know we were rushed but you'd never know from these pictures. We couldn't have asked for more! and thank you for getting us our gallery and sneak peaks so quickly!!"

Amythest & Sara

"Kirsten was delightful and really allowed us to be ourselves and enjoy the time together. The photos from this session are warm. intimate. and really showcase the love that my wife and I hold in our relationship. I am forever thankful for that afternoon Kirsten spent with us. if you are considering booking a session. this is a business you want to do it with <3"

Sarah & Alex

"Kirsten was absolutely amazing to work with! While visiting the States on our honeymoon, we arranged to have photos taken to commemorate our elopement, and Kirsten took our vision and ran with it! Kirsten made the the entire experience so easy for us - from helping us plan and pick a venue, to bringing her pop-up tent for a wardrobe change at the top of the mountain.

Kirsten went above and beyond The photos themselves are more beautiful than we could have hoped for. and we are so grateful. Could not recommend Kirsten enough!"






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