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

Dobson Knob

Dobson Knob

Roadless acreage: 6,128 acres

Old growth acreage: 5,002 acres

Location: Burke and McDowell Counties, NC, 15 miles north of Marion; Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest

USGS Topographic Maps: Ashford, Little Switzerland

Dobson Knob is a massif with a double top at 3680 feet, from which ridges and valleys fall off in all directions. It is a key connector between Woods Mountain and the Linville Gorge Wilderness. A road separates Dobson Knob from the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

A majority of this area is inaccessible and likely to remain so. The hollows drained by Black Fork and Yellow Fork, and below their confluence, Paddy Creek, are laurel and rhododendron “hells.”

Hemlock infested with woolly adelgids.

Anyone seeking to traverse them should be prepared to crawl for much of the way. Because of this dense undergrowth, most of this Mountain Treasure is in old growth forest. A recently constructed portion of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail that climbs the western slope of the area gives access to it for the first time. Consisting of boulder fields and stands of never-harvested Virginia pine, this slope forms a rare, dry habitat in this part of the state. In addition to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, we find here a segment of the Overmountain Victory Trail.

Tennessee Volunteers used this historic trail to reach the Revolutionary War battlegrounds at Kings Mountain and at Cowpens. Dobson Knob has several high-quality Carolina Hemlock Bluffs that are excellent rattlesnake habitat. At the writing of this document, the Carolina hemlock, a species endemic to the Southern Appalachians, is in precipitous decline because of hemlock wooly adelgid. The Carolina hemlocks at Dobson Knob remain some of the healthiest in the region and are prime candidates for preservation.

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