Approximate size: 5,954 acres
Roadless acreage: 5,954 acres
Old growth acreage: 1,098 acres
Location: Avery County, NC, 5 miles southeast of Linville; Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest
USGS Topographic Maps: Chestnut Mountain, Grandfather Mountain
Lost Cove lies south of adjacent Upper Wilson Creek and its northwest boundary also reaches to the Blue Ridge Parkway along its Grandfather Mountain section. Lost Cove is a wilderness study area, meaning the Forest Service is required to man-age it to protect its wilderness values until Congress acts.
The 1994 Forest Plan recommends it for wilderness designation. The area is also a black bear sanctuary. Peregrine falcons nest in the Big Lost Cove Cliffs, a place that rewards hikers to Beacon Heights with stunning views. There is a good and well-used trail system in the area, also served by a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Geologically, Lost Cove is within the Grandfather Mountain Window, an erosion feature that exposes ancient rocks where the once-overlying Blue Ridge Thrust Sheet has eroded away. Erosion has been at work here for over 300 million years, since the
Appalachian Mountains were thrust up by the closing of the proto-Atlantic Ocean in the late Devonian Period.
The land has never been covered by glaciers or oceans, so evolution has operated without interruption to provide the stunning biological diversity for which the Southern Appalachians are so well known.