Click the links below to view information about activities for this park.
Hiking: An investment of little more than an hour's time offers a high return as the beauty and diversity of the park are best seen while hiking along its trails. Spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and a closer look at the park's vegetation are just a small part of the rewards reaped from a walk in this mountain forest.
Lost Province Trail: The Lost Province Trail branches off of the Rhododendron Trail near Luther Rock. Traveling 0.75 miles along the southeast-facing slope of Mount Jefferson, this moderate trail explores a virgin oak/chestnut forest, providing views of False Solomon's seal and other understory species.
Summit Trail: Beginning at the parking lot, this strenuous trail ascends 0.3 miles to the highest point on Mount Jefferson at 4,683 feet.
Rhododendron Trail: Traversing the ridge top of Mount Jefferson, this strenuous 1.1-mile loop trail is known for its beautiful views and spring flowers of the Catawba rhododendron. The self-guided trail follows a ridge southeast, along the crest of the mountain from the summit to Luther Rock, an outcrop of metamorphosed amphibolites.
Track Trail: The Mount Jefferson Track Trail is the actual Rhododendron Trail loop, 1.1 miles. The Activity Brochure Kiosk is located in front of the bathhouse on the Summit Trail.
Mountain Ridge Trail: This trail offers the hikers beautiful views and an intimate trip through diverse plant communities, while enjoying the craftsmanship of native stone steps. As you enter the strenuous 2-mile trail from the park office, it ascends the mountain through each overlook, to the upper parking area.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. Click the Events link on the Park Menu to the left to search our database of park events.
To arrange a special exploration of Mount Jefferson State Natural Area for your group or class, contact the park office. Mount Jefferson has a rich natural and cultural history, and the area has played an important role in the community. By special request, park rangers and/or local historians can guide you through the natural and cultural history of Mount Jefferson.
Educational materials about Mount Jefferson State Natural Area have been developed for grades 5-7 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Mount Jefferson program introduces students to basic geologic processes, rocks and minerals of the area. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education or to search our database of upcoming workshops, please click the Education tab, above.
Picnicking: The picnic area is located in a beautiful wooded location near the summit of Mount Jefferson. Facilities include 19 tables and eight grills. Also included is an eight-table handicapped-accessible picnic shelter with a fireplace, large grill and drinking fountain. The shelter may be reserved. Restrooms (not handicapped accessible) are located nearby.
Northern red and chestnut oaks provide a shady spot for picnicking. Chipmunks, woodchucks, squirrels and ravens are often seen nearby. Trailheads are located at the picnic area.
Special Events: To hold a special event in the park, such as a wedding, a bicycle race or an event that does not fall within normal park activities, event organizers must complete a special activity permit. Click here to download the park's Special Activity Permit application.