One of the most beautiful and ecologically significant natural heritage sites in the southeast, Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve, near Warrensville, North Carolina, offers visitors scenic beauty, unusual landforms, and an amazing botanical variety. Within mere steps in the preserve lie a Carolina hemlock forest, a dwarf red oak/white oak forest, and a rare flat rock plant community. A southern Appalachian fen-a broad, high plateau containing an unusual wetland-adds to the intrigue.
Wildflower lovers will appreciate the changing floral show on Bluff Mountain between April and October that includes many rare plant species. Among the 400+ species of plants on the mountain are Indian paintbrush, Gray’s lily, fringed gentian, spreading avens, and sundew.
A Birder’s Paradise
Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve is a birder’s paradise as well. The high-elevation hardwood forests of Bluff Mountain provide ideal nesting habitat for many neo-tropical migratory bird species such as black-throated green warbler, veery, rose-breasted grosbeak, scarlet tanager, and blue-headed vireo. During field trips to Bluff Mountain in the spring, visitors may hear the distinctive drumming of ruffed grouse. Elusive bobcats den in the shelter of rocky outcrops, while ravens are often seen soaring over the cliffs.
The Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy.
Hours of Operation
The preserve is accessible by joining a scheduled hike ($15/person) or by arranging a private hike ($150/hike; 10-person limit). Hikes are organized by the local Ashe County Steward Kelly Clampitt. To make reservations, or if you have questions, please contact Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hikes are led by knowledgeable local Ashe County hike leaders. Among other talents, the hike leaders have expertise in photography and wildflower identification (wildflowers best seen in May, June, July).
Cost is $15/person to participate in one of the schedule hikes listed on the Bluff Mountain Preserve website, or $150/hike for a private hike. Please contact Kelly Clampitt (email listed above) to arrange your hike.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve
West Jefferson, NC