Wildlife Viewing Areas
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Hanging Rock State Park
Isolated group of low mountains with exceptional diversity of forest communities. Impressive quartzite-capped ridges and cliffs. Mixture of piedmont and montane flora. Cascading streams and waterfalls in narrow ravines. Extension of park reaches nearby Dan River.
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Roan Mountain
Description: 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.

Wildlife to Watch: Northern flying squirrel. New England cottontail and saw-whet owl are near southern extent of ranges. Also present are least weasel, spotted skunk, black bear, bobcat, mice, and salamanders. Ravens, hawks, and occasional golden eagles seen over balds and cliffs.

Other viewing opportunities at the Nolichucky River gorge and Big Bald mountain on nearby national forest lands.

Special Tips: Best means of viewing grass and heath balds by walking segments of Appalachian Trail east from Carvers Gap.

Other Activities: Auto access to massive “garden” of purple rhododendron and flame azalea, with short trails to spruce-fir forest and clifftops on Roan High Knob.

Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Nature Conservancy & Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy 
Size: 10,000 acres 
Closest Town: Bakersville in NC, Roan Mountain in TN

Facilities:
RestroomsParkingCross Country SkiingHikingPicnic tables

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:
SpringSummerFallWinter

Saw-whet Owl - photo by USFWS
Map
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Driving Directions:
Sixteen miles north of Bakersville on Tennessee state line; reached via NC261 or TN 143 (upslope from TN Roan Mountain State Park). At Carvers gap follow two-mile spur road (SR 1348) to Roan summit and parking for trailhead.

For more information call USFS (704) 682-6146, TNC (919) 967-7007, or Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (615) 434-2555.

Map Link

 
Roan Mountain : Wildlife Viewing Area