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Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

Luther Rock
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area is a park in Ashe County in the northwestern part of the state.  It is located between the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson and is about 30 minutes northeast of Boone.

Mount Jefferson lies between the north and south forks of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world.  It was once a mighty mountain long ago, but millions of years of erosion have worn down the mountain.  What remains are the erosion-resistant amphibolite and metagraywacke rocks that make up Mount Jefferson.  The mountain has had several names throughout history, but was formally named Mount Jefferson in 1952 in honor of Thomas Jefferson and his father Peter who owned and surveyed the land in the 18th century.  In the 1930s, interest in giving the mountain public access was generated.  Initially, the Works Progress Administration constructed a short road leading to the summit.  Efforts were made to create a state park, but the area was initially below the 400-acre minimum.  In the 1950s, additional land was donated and Mount Jefferson joined the state park system in 1956.

Contact Information:
1481 Mt Jefferson State Park Rd
West Jefferson, NC 28694

Phone: (336) 246-965

Email: mount.jefferson@ncdenr.gov

GPS Coordinates: 36.397660, -81.473466

Directions:

From areas east, take US-421 west from I-40 or I-77 and continue west past the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Take US-221 north and after crossing the intersection with NC-163, turn right on SR-1152, which leads into the park.  From areas west and south, take US-221 north through Boone and past NC-163, turn right on SR-1152.  Use the map below to generate customized directions to the park.

Activities:

Hiking:

There about 3 miles of trails in Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, taking little over an hour to complete.  See the Trails Section below for information on individual trails.

Trails:

Lost Province Trail:

Length: 0.75 miles (loop)
Difficulty: Moderate

The Lost Province Trail forms a short loop along a southeastern-facing slope of Mount Jefferson.  It is located at the southeastern end of the Rhododendron Trail near the trail to Luther Rock.

Rhododendron Trail:

Length: 1.1 miles (loop)
Difficulty: Strenuous

The Rhododenron Trail starts near the summit of Mount Jefferson and travels along a ridge to Luther Rock, then loops back around along the south side of the mountain.

Summit Trail:

Length: 0.3 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Easy

The Summit Trail starts at the summit parking lot and makes a gentle ascent to the summit of Mount Jefferson.

External Links:

NC State Parks website: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/moje/main.php

Map:

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area


Photos:

Mount Jefferson SNA