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.
1481 Mount Jefferson State Park Road
West Jefferson, NC 28694
GPS: 36.393564, -81.468012
8am - sunset
Closed Christmas Day
8am - 5pm weekdays
Closed state holidays