Shut-in Ridge Trail to Ferrin Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway

The Shut-in Ridge Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail are one as they traverse the Blue Ridge from the North Carolina Arboretum to Mt. Pisgah. Along the way, there are several jumping on and off points where you can access this trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway, enabling short day hikes. One of these short sub-sections is along Bent Creek Gap Road at BRP milepost 400....

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Changes in the works for congested Pisgah Forest entrance

Several modifications could be on the way to help alleviate traffic congestion at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, improve the intersection of Highways 276 and 64, and bring more pedestrian access to the area. The N.C. Department of Transportation has submitted several projects for funding, one that would widen Highway 276 at the entrance to the forest, one to...

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TOTAL FIRE BAN in effect for Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina are implementing a TOTAL FIRE BAN due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Beginning on November 10, 2016, the following restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining,...

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Buck Spring to Pilot Rock, Pisgah National Forest

Starting at the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah, this hike crosses the summit of Little Bald Mountain before dropping down the watershed to Pilot Rock, one of the many plutons found within the Pisgah Ranger District. The high country is home to thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron, while various maples, oaks and...

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Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Fire Restrictions

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will implement fire restrictions due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Effective October 28, 2016, the following fire restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire,...

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New District Ranger Selected for the Pisgah Ranger District

The National Forests in North Carolina announced that Dave Casey will oversee management and operations as the new District Ranger of the Pisgah Ranger District starting October 31, 2016. “Dave has an excellent record with partnerships and collaborative experience and a tremendous background in natural resource management,” said Allen Nicholas, Forest...

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Fall Foliage Time on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

There aren’t many places in Western North Carolina better for Autumn leaf peeping than the Blue Ridge Parkway. On Monday, October 17, 2016 I set out to demonstrate that by taking a little tour between mileposts 410 and 420. But first I had to get there. I went up the Pisgah Ridge on Scenic Hwy 276, passing the Cradle of Forestry along the way. I arrived at the Cold...

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Cradle of Forestry Invites Nature Enthusiasts to Pink Beds Bioblitz

The Cradle of Forestry in America invites nature enthusiasts of all ages and knowledge levels to the first Pink Beds Bioblitz. Join naturalists and scientists Friday, September 23, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 24 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to discover the diversity of life in this special part of Pisgah National Forest. This free fun event in...

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Forest Service to Hold Open Houses at WNC District Offices

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses at district offices on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in September and October, 2016 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with forest staff about local issues, district projects, and forest plan revision. The open houses will have a flexible format allowing the public to come at any time during the...

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Mega Work Day Planned for Pisgah Ranger District

The Pisgah Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, and a host of supporting organizations have announced a broad based volunteer work day in the Pisgah Ranger District called “Pisgah Pride Day 2016,” which is being planned in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, September 24, 2016. Work crews will convene at different locations on Saturday, September 24, and...

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Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Confirmed in North Carolina

Forest health officials with the U.S. Forest Service have discovered declining ash trees due to infestation by the emerald ash borer (EAB) whose presence was confirmed on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest and on private lands along the French Broad River from the Tennessee state line to Marshall, NC. Decline and death of ash from EAB occurs in...

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Foggy Morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

Every couple weeks or so during the green seasons I travel up to milepost 413 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Friends of the BRP has a volunteer program called Adopt-an-Overlook that I have participated in for six years. I am responsible for keeping Pounding Mill Overlook clean and green, trash free, and desirable for the tourists. Saturday, August 13, 2016 was one of those...

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Key tract protected near Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway

For many visitors heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway via the twisting, mountainous ribbon of road known as N.C. 80, the rippling ride and scenic views might satisfy their appetite before ever reaching the national park. But the land surrounding the switchbacks of N.C. 80 have all been privately owned, leaving it vulnerable to development or timbering, and diminished...

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First Trail Bridge at North Carolina’s Catawba Falls Complete

The first of two trail bridges on the Catawba Falls Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District is complete. In partnership with McDowell County, North Carolina State Parks, and a federal Recreational Trails Program grant, the Pisgah National Forest has rerouted the Catawba Falls trail and installed a trail bridge crossing the Catawba River. The Forest Service will be...

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Summer Solstice on Sam Knob – A Photo Essay

The summer solstice occurs when a planet’s rotational axis, in either northern or southern hemispheres, is most inclined toward the Sun. Most cultures have marked this occasion in some ritualized manner and from time immemorial people have acknowledged the rising of the sun on the summer solstice. At Stonehenge, the heelstone marks the midsummer sunrise as seen...

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Appalachian Trail from Yellow Mountain Gap to Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains

You can see them from Roan Highlands. They appear when viewed from Linville Gorge and Grandfather Mountain too. The long, green balds that comprise Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains stick out like limes in a grapefruit basket. And, you can see all those other landmarks from the Hump Mountains. The iconic Appalachian Trail (AT) arrives from the Highlands of Roan to...

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Reopening of Courthouse Creek Road

Courthouse Creek Road (Forest Service Road 140), located in the Pisgah Ranger District off Highway 215 just north of Balsam Grove in Transylvania County, NC will reopen Friday, June 10, 2016 at 10 am. Other work in the area is ongoing so visitors should be aware of the potential for construction traffic. The road had been closed while the U.S. Forest Service replaced a...

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Cradle of Forestry to Host Woodsy Owl’s Curiosity Club

The Cradle of Forestry in America in the Pisgah Ranger District announced that it will hold a nature and educational series titled “Woodsy Owl’s Curiosity Club” every Thursday this summer, beginning June 9, 2016 and ending August 11. Programs are held from 10:30 am to noon and 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. “The Curiosity Club allows kids, ages 4 to 7, and...

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Point Lookout Trail Closing for Repairs

North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest will temporarily close the Point Lookout Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District for repairs starting May 31, 2016. Repairs to the paved walking and biking trail are expected to take 90 days, and the trail is anticipated to reopen by September 1. The Point Lookout Trail connects Mill Creek Road in Ridgecrest to Old U.S. 70...

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Grant awarded to expand Pisgah National Forest, enhance water quality

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy today was awarded $100,000 for its Sitton Creek Protection and Restoration project, which will enhance water quality in the Mills River watershed and expand public access by adding 178 acres to Pisgah National Forest. CMLC was one of Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund grant recipients. Duke Energy today announced grant awards...

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USFS to study 300,000+ WNC acres for potential wilderness additions

As part of the ongoing, multiyear revision process for the Forest Plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina, the U.S. Forest Service is evaluating more than 300,000 acres in the forest for potential wilderness designation. Wilderness areas are the nation’s highest form of land protection, designed to protect unspoiled areas for future...

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Asbury Trail at Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Historic Asbury Trail straddles the boundary between the Smokies national park and the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. It is named for Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury who, in the early 19th century, brought his traveling ministry to this area that would eventually become a national park more than a hundred years later. It was also formerly known as...

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Ranger Station Renamed in Honor of Fallen Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp

The U.S. Forest Service ranger station in the Pisgah National Forest within the Grandfather Ranger District in Nebo, North Carolina was renamed the Jason Crisp Forest Service Building during a ceremony on Nov. 10, 2015. U.S. Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp and his K-9 partner, Maros, lost their lives while on a manhunt in pursuit of a homicide suspect on March 12,...

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Black Balsam to Silvermine and Chestnut Balds on Mountains to Sea Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway

Looking for a short, easy, serene getaway in the high country that offers outstanding long distance views of the Blue Ridge Mountains? This is the trail for you. This little stretch of the famous Mountains to Sea Trail will take you from Black Balsam Road, through a dark and deep balsam spruce forest, across Silvermine Bald and on to Chestnut Bald to a splendid overlook...

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Groups unite to improve Pisgah National Forest trail

An unusual collaboration between two trail user groups has resulted in an improved trail in Pisgah National Forest. Mountain bikers and members of Back Country Horsemen volunteered their time recently to complete work on a reroute of a section of the Lower Trace Ridge Trail near North Mills River campground. “It is no secret that trail user groups around the nation have...

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Pisgah National Forest commemorative plaque restoration

As motorists take the curve on N.C. 151, heading up the mountain from Asheville toward the Blue Ridge Parkway, they should notice a large stone lovingly placed there 95 years ago to commemorate the area’s history. But they probably won’t. Eagle Scout hopeful Levi Smith is looking to change this by giving both the monument and the adjacent Stony Fork picnic area a...

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Crabtree Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls is a 70 foot cascade on Big Crabtree Creek, a short hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The creek drops over a black rock face with many small ledges, giving it a delicate web-like appearance. A trail descends 500 feet over the course of a mile as it leads to a footbridge crossing the creek at the base of the falls. In the Spring, an impressive array of...

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Black Balsam Knob and Sam Knob Summits, Pisgah National Forest

There is a notch between two wildernesses in the Pisgah National Forest high country. Shining Rock Wilderness is to the northeast, and Middle Prong Wilderness is to the west of this pie-shaped cut in the topology. In between are two bald mountaintops that exceed 6,000 feet elevation. To the locals the area is called simply… Black Balsam. The air is fresh (usually),...

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Ivestor Gap Trail to Shining Rock, Shining Rock Wilderness

Deep in the heart of Shining Rock Wilderness is the namesake, a mountain made of quartz, standing more than 6,000 feet. On bright sunny days you can see the white quartz “shining” from miles away. The Cherokee called it Datsu’nălâsgûñ’yĭ, “where their tracks are this way,” that refers to a white rock that is said to have tracks of Tsul...

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Appalachian Trail to Lover’s Leap, Pisgah National Forest

Hot Springs, NC is an Appalachian Trail Community that sits along the French Broad River in the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. The Appalachian Trail was built through Hot Springs more than seven decades ago, and today white blazes still mark the path through town and over the bridge across the river, before heading north up to the vista, Lover’s...

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