Approximate size: 12,982 acres
Old growth acreage: 2,149 acres
Location: Transylvania County, NC, 10 miles northwest of Brevard; Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest
USGS Topographic Maps: Shining Rock, Sam’s Knob
Daniel Ridge lies along the Blue Ridge Parkway and east of NC Route 215. It consists of the ridges and streams that drop from the Parkway elevations down to the valley drainage of the Davidson River. Much-visited Devil’s Courthouse, a nesting site of the endangered peregrine falcon, sits on the north, and just across the Parkway to the north are Graveyard Fields, Sam’s Knob and the very popular blueberry/laurel balds of Tennant and Black Mountains, which are really extensions of the Shining Rock Wilderness.
The U.S. Forest Service manages Daniel Ridge as a large patch of old growth restoration area, acknowledging the possibly virgin tracts in the higher elevation spruce/fir forest near the Parkway. There is an extensive trail system, including the Art Loeb Trail, (which runs from Cold Mountain in the Shining Rock Wilderness to the Davidson River Campground on US 276), and a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Daniel Ridge is prime territory for camping, hiking and nature study. It has much to offer history buffs as well, with interesting remnants from the logging days of the early 1900s, including moldering corduroy roads and old railroad trestles at creek crossings, plus the rare railroad spike and occasional logging cables.
Courthouse Falls, where Courthouse Creek plunges 45 feet, is a popular destination in the southwest corner of the Daniel Ridge conservation area.