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Rumbling Bald Preserve

1,100 acres in Buncombe & Rutherford Counties

Rumbling Bald is distinctive for its series of three mounds and towering cliffs.


Southern Appalachian Mountains, Hickory Nut Gorge


"Lake Lure" available by contacting:
NC Geographical Survey
(919) 715-9718


NC State Parks
(919) 707-9300
Mailing address: 1615 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699


One of the most prominent features in Hickory Nut Gorge, Rumbling Bald is a long mountain located on the north side of the gorge that extends from about one mile northwest of Lake Lure and links up with Shumont Mountain.

The mountain gradually rises in elevation to about 2,800 feet and is characterized by sheer cliffs and granite domes. Mature chestnut oak forest and oak-hickory forest cover much of the mountain's slopes and crest. Rare plants, including the federally endangered white irisette, grow in these forests. A rocky outcrop on the north side of the mountain's crest supports roundleaf serviceberry, Biltmore sedge and eastern shooting star. 

Rumbling Bald is home to a wealth of unusual animals. The common raven nests in these rocky exposed cliffs. The uncommon Bat Cave form of the Yonahlossee salamander, which was formerly known as the crevice salamander, also inhabits this preserve.  Several large fissure caves on the preserve serve as hibernation spot for many bats, including the eastern small-footed myotis.


The Nature Conservancy purchased 788 acres at Rumbling Bald in 2001 from Camp Lurecrest Ministries and later purchased two additional tracts protecting 312 acres. Rumbling Bald was transferred to NC State Parks in 2012 and became part of Chimney Rock State Park.


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