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Rhododendron Trail

The view from Mount Jefferson State Natural Area
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Current status of park facilities   

All park facilities are open as of September 11. 

A properly worn mask or face covering, covering both the nose and the mouth, is required to enter the park office.

Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines throughout the park, regardless of the behavior of others. Bring a mask or face covering even if you are planning to only be outside; they are required to be worn when you cannot stay 6 feet away from park staff or other visitors. Wash or sanitize your hands before, during, and after your visit. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home.

 Last updated on: Friday, September 11, 2020

Rhododendron Trail

Rhododendron Trail Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

The self-guided Rhododendron Trail follows a ridge southeast along the crest of the mountain from the summit to Luther Rock, an outcrop of metamorphosed amphibolite. This black volcanic rock is what gives Mount Jefferson its dark appearance. Here, hikers may look back along the horseshoe-shaped ridge to the summit and tower. Beyond, is a spectacular view of neighboring valleys and peaks. On clear days the New River is visible to the east. Bluffs extend along the ridge below the trail where outcrops of amphibolite are visible in winter.

The return segment of Rhododendron Trail descends the south side of the mountain. As this area is less exposed to the frigid winds of winter, the trees are somewhat larger than those on the ridge. The trail returns to the picnic area parking lot through a rare virgin forest of large northern red oaks and skeletons of American chestnuts.

Trail Location: 
The trailhead is near the terminus of the Summit Trail.
Trail Point of Interest: 
The trail is most beautiful in early June when the magnificent purple-flowered Catawba rhododendron is in bloom.
Trail Length: 
1.10 miles
Trail Difficulty: 
moderate hike
Trail Use: 
Discovery/Interpretive Trail
TRACK Trail
Trail Surface: 
natural surface
Trail Blaze: 
Red circle

Map of North Carolina – Mount Jefferson State Natural Area


Contact the park
 

336-246-9653

mount.jefferson@ncparks.gov
 

Address
 

Park office

1481 Mount Jefferson State Park Road
West Jefferson, NC 28694

GPS: 36.3936, -81.4680
 

Hours
 

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  • Year-round:
    8:00am to sunset
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

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  • Open Monday to Friday:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
     
  • Closed state holidays