The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

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Gorges State Forest

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    Located near Sapphire, Gorges State Park contains spectacular waterfalls, sheer rock walls, rugged river gorges, and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unusual plat species in the Eastern United States. An elevation that rises over 2,000 feet in only three to five miles and an annual rainfall in excess of 80 inches creates a unique temperate rain forest. Gorges’ 7,484 acres were designated a state park in April of 1999 to protect these nationally significant natural resources, and it is the newest state park in North Carolina.
    Park highlights are Horsepasture River (a National Wild and Scenic River), Toxaway River, Bearwallow Creek, Thompson River, Bearcamp Creek, Windy Falls, Lower Bearwallow Falls, Toxaway Creek Falls, Chestnut Mountain, Grindstone Mountain, Misery Mountain, many major trout streams, and numerous wildflowers including rare species.

Website: Gorges State Park
Location: Sapphire, North Carolina
Distance: Approximately 2 hours from Asheville
Address: NC Highway 281 South, Sapphire NC 28774
Telephone: 828-966-9099
Hours: November-February 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; March & October 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; April, May, & September 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; June-August 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; closed Christmas Day. Gates are locked, except in emergency situations, after hours.
Fees: None
Allow: 2 hours minimum
Tips: Be sure to stay on designated trails. Many of the park’s rare plants live on thin soils or wet rocks and are very vulnerable to damage from climbing, scrambling, or scraping. Do not attempt to climb on rocks near or above the waterfalls. Every year people are killed in WNC attempting to climb the rocks near waterfalls.
Nearby: Waterfalls in Western North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Cherokee Indian Reservation, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala National Forest
Directions: From Asheville, take the I-26 Airport Rd. Exit (US 280 South) past the airport to Brevard where it will turn into US 64. Continue on Hwy. 64 to Sapphire. Gorges State Park is located in Transylvania County and overlaps the North Carolina/South Carolina state lines. It is approximately 45 miles west of Asheville.

  Wild & Furry Animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, by Lee James Pantas








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