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

Cedar Rock Mountain

8,694 acres NCMT; 5,784 acres PWA

Recommendation: Backcountry Management Area/Special Biological Area

Naturalness: Cedar Rock Mountain itself is a massif with spectacular bare rock faces, much used by climbers. It offers wonderful views of the Blue Ridge, the Davidson River Valley and its companion mountains, Looking Glass Rock and the John Rock Scenic Area. Visitors standing here on these billion-year-old granite rock faces, rounded by exfoliation from millions of years of weathering can appreciate that these are but the stubs of ancient mountains worn down after being thrust up by massive tectonic plate collisions some 300 million years ago.

Opportunities for Solitude: The Cedar Rock Area provides ample opportunity for solitude. Trails travel around the steep terrain through dense forest providing innumerable sites that are remote and away from any sites and sounds.

Opportunities for Primitive Recreation: This area, and the mountain of the same name lie on the south side of the Davidson River, south of the Daniel Ridge area. It is part of a very popular hiking and camping complex. The major trail terminus for the complex is at the Davidson River Fish Hatchery and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Education Center on FR 475 just west of the very popular Looking Glass Falls on US 276.

An extensive trail system includes the Art Loeb Trail which winds completely around the base of Cedar Rock, with connections to the Fish Hatchery area, to Cathey’s Creek and the Kuykendahl Group Campground, and to Brevard via the Bracken Mountain trail.

There is a shelter near Butter Gap. The Art Loeb National Recreation Trail is a memorial to a Carolina Mountain Club activist and runs from Cold Mountain at the north end of Shining Rock Wilderness south over the balds, crossing the Parkway and then easterly to Brevard, for a distance of about 30 miles.

Ecological and other values: The Cedar Rock Area hosts unique geologic features (high elevation granitic domes) that are also habitat for rare species. It also has excellent examples of chestnut oak forest in good ecological condition. The area includes 123 acres of existing old growth.

The area includes a Significant Natural Heritage Area:

John Rock/Cedar Rock Mountain (portion is currently recognized as SIA)

Manageability: The Cedar Rock Area stands by itself as an isolated pluton so it has manageable boundaries and approaches as a backcountry area.

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