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. The Conservancy preserve at Bluff Mountain is 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

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

Blue Ridge Escarpment Gorges

Gorges State Park

Hickory Nut Gorge
Rumbling Bald Preserve
Chimney Rock State Park


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