Southern Appalachian Mountains


The Southern Appalachian Mountains blanket the western third of North Carolina, part of a chain of ancient peaks and valleys stretching more than 1,500 miles from Canada to central Alabama. TNC has worked to protect the tremendous natural diversity of this special place for more than 30 years. 

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Why so Special?

Towering mountain peaks, rock outcrops and waterfalls dot the landscape, creating specialized habitats and unique natural communities. This is a region of extremes, featuring the oldest river in North America (the New River) and the highest peak east of the Rockies (Mount Mitchell).

From bog turtles to black bears, peregrine falcons to ruffed grouse, the Southern Appalachians are home to a vast array of species. Steep mountainsides nurture a profusion of wildflowers, fissure caves provide habitat for endangered bats and rare salamanders and dense forests host vast numbers of migrating songbirds. 

The Conservancy has helped preserve some of the most iconic natural landmarks in the Southern Appalachians, places like Grandfather Mountain, the Joccassee Gorges and the Roan Highlands. Conservancy preserves at Bluff Mountain and Bat Cave are among our oldest projects in the state, and efforts continue to safeguard our state's most special natural places.

We work with a number of partners in the Southern Blue Ridge. Our newest partnership is with the NP Forest Partnership, a collaborative partnership formed to foster civic engagement and positive guidance in creating the best possible management plan revision for Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest.


Places to Visit

Conservation Landscapes

New River Headwaters

Bluff Mountain Preserve
Elk Knob State Park 
Three Top Mountain Game Land
Stone Mountain State Park
Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest

Greater Roan Highlands
Big Yellow Mountain Preserve
Grandfather Mountain
Mount Mitchell State Park
Plott Balsams Preserve

Nantahala National Forest
Panthertown Valley

Blue Ridge Escarpment Gorges

Green River Game Land
Gorges State Park
Silver Run Preserve

Hickory Nut Gorge
Bat Cave Preserve
Rumbling Bald Preserve
Chimney Rock State Park

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