Apr
23
2009
0

Blue Ridge Mountains

  Ashe County North Carolina
 
This area of the Blue Ridge Mountains is viewed from Mount Jefferson State Park in Ashe County North Carolina. Mount Jefferson rises over 1,600 feet with amazing views of the surrounding countryside below and beyond the mountain.  It is located along the drainage divide between the north and south fork of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in North America and in the world.    
Before the revolution Mount Jefferson was known as “Panther Mountain” due to a legend that was told about a panther attacking and killing a child and through the years the mountain had several other names.  But in 1952 it was given its present name to honor Thomas Jefferson and his father, Peter, who owned land in the area and also surveyed along the North Carolina - Virginia border in 1749.  Due to major efforts on the part of the local residents it became a state park in 1956.
 It is said during the Civil War the caves beneath the mountain ledges were used as hideouts for escaped slaves as they traveled to freedom on the Underground Railway.
This is one of our favorite spots to visit, picnic and hike.  They have two trails that take a little more than an hour –one that takes you to the highest point of the mountain and the other that follows along the ridge of the mountain down the south side.  The views from the overlooks are spectacular, the trees, wildflowers and other plants are beautiful as you make your way through this mountain forest.  In fact the National Park Service designated this area as a natural landmark because of the unusual plant life found here.
If you are traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway stop at the Mount Jefferson Overlook and you will be able to see the mountain peak from a great distance.  Better yet take the exit to West Jefferson and experience this unique mountain park.
Kay

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