Most extensive heath and grassy balds on Roan Mountain ridgecrest. Beautiful vistas and flowers along ten-mile segment of Appalachian Trail, often called most scenic segment of the trail.
Mount Mitchell and Black Mountains
|Description: Highest mountain in eastern America at 6,684 feet. Spruce-fir trees here are dying; acid rain, disease, and insect infestation are blamed. Numerous boreal plants and animals uncommon to region survive on high-elevations islands of Canadian life zones as remnants of Ice Age.|
Wildlife to Watch: Habitat for northern flying squirrel and New England cottontail, and other more typical Southern Appalachian wildlife like deer, black bear, striped and spotted skunks, woodchuck, bobcat, and gray fox. Also view chipmunks, shrews, mice, voles, and salamanders. Breeding birds typical of northern conifer forests; saw-whet owl, red-breasted nuthatches, brown creepers, winter wrens, and golden-crowned kinglets. Excellent viewing of migratory hawks and monarch butterflies.
Special Tips: Nearby national forest sites offering wildlife resources include Carolina Hemlocks and South Toe River recreation area. Crabtree Meadows park and waterfall on BR Parkway at milepost 339.
Other Activities: State park on Mount Mitchell. Observation tower on summit. Interpretive center exhibits and summer programs. Rugged hiking trail from Mount Mitchell eight miles to Celo Knob. Shorter loop trails within state park. Strenuous hiking trails from summit to Black Mountain Recreation Area in Toe River valley; trail is six miles downslope.
Ownership: NCDPR, USFS, NPS
Size: 1677 acres in park, 3240 acres in natural area
Closest Town: Celo
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: