How to Visit View All
Running northeast to southwest for 34 miles throughout Grant and Pendleton Counties, North Fork Mountain is the driest high mountain in the Appalachians. Storm systems arriving from the Midwest have dropped most of their precipitation immediately to the west, leaving the mountaintop susceptible to drought and fire. Here, atop this dry crest, visitors encounter natural communities and species seldom seen elsewhere.
The mountain supports the largest fire-maintained dwarf pine Woodland in the Central Appalachians, the southernmost native red pine forests, the region's highest-quality yellow birch-mountain-ash-mountain holly elfin woodland, the highest quality natural grass bald remaining in West Virginia, a block of acidic oak forest, and virgin red spruce forest. Additionally, visitors to the mountain will find it rich in its mixture of Eastern, Appalachian, and cold-loving plants and animals: It supports the largest global population of the fire-dependent variable sedge, a large population of the globally rare white alumroot – which is known only from a few counties in West Virginia and Virginia – multiple populations of the globally uncommon Appalachian oak fern and Allegheny onion, several northern species at the southern limit of their ranges, and many other rare species.
The Conservancy is working to protect North Fork Mountain through land acquisition, education and restoration efforts. The Conservancy:
The following activities are NOT permitted at Pike Knob Preserve:
- Driving an ATV or off-road vehicle
- Cooking or camp fires
- Horseback riding
- Removing any part of the landscape
Download the Pike Knob fact sheet before your visit.