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

Terrapin Mountain

6,651acres NCMT

Recommendation: This entire Mountain Treasure Area should be placed in Special Biological Area management or Backcountry Management Area

Naturalness: This rock-sided haystack is one of the most prominent features of the area between the resort towns of Highlands and Cashiers, NC. Precipitous rock faces rising 500 to 800 feet encompass both the south and west sides of Terrapin. Fowler Creek has its origin in the southeast part of this area. Its headwaters gather in a U-shaped amphitheater of rock cliffs, difficult of access, and isolated and remote in feeling.

The Chattooga Wild and Scenic River flows along the western boundary of this Mountain Treasure through the rugged, remote and biologically important Chattooga Cliffs reach.

From the top of Terrapin’s western cliffs, hikers have a direct and unimpeded view of Whiteside Mountain, looking directly across the river valley and the vale of Grimshawes.

To the north is Little Terrapin, which repeats the cliffs of the main peak. If anything, Little Terrapin is steeper, and demands considerable technical ability from climbers.

To the northwest is Bear Pen Mountain. The rounded top of this high point is clothed in old-growth hardwood forest.

Opportunities for Solitude/Backcountry Recreation: There are no trails in the Terrapin Mountain Treasure. The hiker here needs either local knowledge or well developed map navigation skills. An old logging road approaches the base of Bear Pen Mountain.

Ecological and other values: The biological values present in the Terrapin Mountain Treasure equal the scenic and recreational values. Rare plants include numerous bryophytes, like Plagiochila shapii, and vascular plants like granite dome goldenrod. Many rare animals and the high quality water of the Chattooga River are attractions for those inclined to wildlife watching and fishing. 2916 acres of SNHAs Chattooga River Gorge/Ellicott Rock (currently recognized as SIA) MTA not PWA not IRA

This area contains the following State Natural Heritage Area:Terrapin Mountain

Manageability: The rugged nature of the area and the presence of the Wild and Scenic River Corridor make the area best suited to management as a backcountry area. As a single mountain, this area could effectively be managed for the special values described above.

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