North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures
Help Protect the Vulnerable Wildlands of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests

Woods Mountain

Woods Mountain

Approximate size: 12,676 acres

Roadless acreage: 9,606 acres

Old growth acreage: 1,726 acres

Location: McDowell County, NC, 10 miles northwest of Marion; Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest

USGS Topographic Maps: Celo, Little Switzerland, Marion West, Old Fort

This is a major roadless area, giving protection to a long segment of the Blue Ridge Parkway and its viewshed. Many of the steep, narrow valleys contain old-growth forest. The high percentage of untouched forest makes hikes here a pleasant experience. The rare turkey beard and the unusual chinquapin are common in the area.

Woods Mountain has the only population of mountain golden heather outside of Linville Gorge. This species is islanded on treeless, rocky summits that are maintained by fire. Other areas of botanical interest include the rich cove forests at Bee Rock Creek and “Nettle Patch.”

Numerous historical accounts describe the great trees of the Southern Appalachians. This is a tulip poplar on Reems Creek in 1932. Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

The main trail through the area is a segment of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail. It follows a high ridge to a point near the top of Woods Mountain itself, from which there is a side trail to an old tower site. The trail then descends to a crossing of U.S. 221 near the Woodlawn Work Center.

As in so many other areas, the Forest Service has abandoned a large percentage of the trails here. Hikers have lost the Armstrong Creek Trail and a return trail to the ridge, the Singecat Creek Trail. Neglect has claimed many other significant trails. Woods Mountain provides high quality black bear habitat and is prized by local hunters.

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