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

Laurel Mountain

13,368 acres NCMT; 5,000 acres PWA; 5,683 acres IRA

Recommendation: Backcountry Management Area/Special Biological Area within the Pisgah National Recreation Area

Naturalness: Forests in the Laurel Mountain Area are recovering and mostly mature forest. The area contains 245 acres of existing old growth.

Opportunities for Solitude: The Laurel Mountain Area shares much with the South Mills Area to its south, from which it is separated only by the dirt Yellow Gap Road as noted above providing ample opportunities for solitude. Despite its popularity with mountain bikers and hikers, encounters with other users are infrequent.

Opportunity for Recreation: Extensive trail systems, including part of the Mountains- to- Sea Trail, Big Creek, Laurel Mountain, and Pilot Rock serve both areas and are popular with hikers, campers, mountain bikers, horse riders, and hunters. Both areas were part of the Biltmore Forest.

Ecological and other values: Two of the outstanding features of the Laurel Mountain area are the granite domes on the Pilot Cove and Pilot Rock trails. Natural communities found here are incredibly scenic and biologically unique to the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The area includes three Significant Natural Heritage Areas:

Pilot Rock/Pilot Cove

Mt Pisgah

Frying Pan Gap (NCNHP proposed for new priority SIA)

Manageability: The Laurel Mountain Area shares much with the South Mills Area to its south, from which it is separated only by the dirt Yellow Gap Road as noted above providing ample opportunities for solitude. These areas and others are extremely suitable for recommendation within the Pisgah NRA.

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