Roan Mountain has been merged as part of the Southern Blue Ridge IBA.
Roan Mountain is one of a series of peaks rising out of the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains in northeast Tennessee. From around 2,700' at Roan Mountain village to its summit at 6,285', the habitat transverses from forests of hardwoods to spruce-fir, natural rhododendron gardens, and grassy balds. The origin of the name is a mystery, with theories it was named for the roan color when the rhododendrons are in bloom, to the roan horse of Daniel Boone when he was here, to the ash trees known as rowans, to the botanist Andre Michaux who explored the area in 1794 and named if after the Rhone River from his native France. Roan Mountain State Park, 2,006 acres, is situated at the base of Roan Mountain at elevations from 3,000 feet in the valley to around 3,700 feet on the surrounding ridges. Habitat is hardwood forests. Tennessee Highway 143, from the intersection of US 19E in Road Mountain village, winds up the mountain 13 miles through the Cherokee National Forest to Carver's Gap at 5,512', a low point in the ridgeline of Roan Mountain. Here the Appalachian Trail crosses and spruce-fir forests, rhododendrons, and grassy balds compose the habitat.
Elevation changes create distinctive breeding habitats for species assemblages limited within the state. The elevated ridgelines provide passage for a large number of neotropical migrants. Several listed species occur in the site, including Common Raven, Golden-winged Warbler, and Northern Saw-whet Owl.
Elevation changes from 2,700' to 6,285' create habitat changes equivalent to 1,000 miles to the north. These distinctive habitats contain specific species assemblages that are limited in the state especially at middle and high elevations. At lower elevations, below 3,000', hardwood forests, openings, and edges provide breeding habitat for Broad-winged Hawk, Black-billed Cuckoo (rare), Acadian Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, Golden-winged Warbler (a Tennessee In Need of Management species), Yellow Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Indigo Bunting. At middle elevations, 3,000'-5,000', northern hardwood forests and edges attract breeding Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Veery, Golden-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, American Redstart, Canada Warbler, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. At high elevations, above 5,000', northern hardwood forest, spruce-fir forest, grassy balds, and heath/shrub balds contain breeding Northern Saw-whet Owl, Alder Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Red Crossbill (sporadic).
In the fall, many migrants pass through Carver's Gap (5,512') as it is the low point to cross the mountain. The flocks can be impressive. A high elevation fall banding station is located at Carver's Gap (5,512').