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Ecology

Waterfall on Jacob Fork River at South Mountains State Park
SOMO TRAILS ALERT   

Due to recent storm and wind events, many of SOMOs trails have sustained damage that will take some time and effort to repair. Staff will be working on trails, but visitors need to use extreme caution or plan ahead and choose another route.

Shinny Trail: Shinny trail has multiple stream crossings and foot bridges that were damaged by recent flooding. 2 out of the 3 foot bridges have been displaced. Hikers/backpackers should choose another route or plan for at least 3-4 stream crossings shin deep without clear rock-hopping paths. Also, there are multiple places where the trail has washed out and trees with trail blazes have fallen, making route-finding challenging. 

Fox: Unknown status as of 11/17. Waiting assessment.

Saddleback: Saddleback stream crossing rocks have all shifted and hikers should plan on knee deep water or avoid this trail.

Please contact park office for more information and updates. Thanks.

 Last updated on: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Current status of park facilities   

The park is open daily from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

The visitor center is open. A properly worn mask or face covering, covering both the nose and the mouth, is required to enter.

Picnic areas are open with tables spread out for social distancing and grills are open. Picnic shelters and the amphitheater are not available to reserve.

The family campground, equestrian campground, and backcountry campsites are open but may be FULL. There is no group camping permitted at South Mountains. Only six people or less per site.

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL CAMPSITES. All campers, including backpackers, must make a reservation through the system online or by phone (1-877-722-6762). There are no walk-ins. Campers can make same-day reservations up until 9:00pm on the day of your arrival. You must make a reservation before setting up camp on a campsite. You cannot place your personal belongings on a site to "reserve" the site for you. When you arrive for your reservation, use the free Wi-Fi near the visitor center to self-check-in using the Reserve America Camping App. FALL is very busy, and most campsites are already reserved in advance.

Weekend delays: Visitors should expect park entrance delays from 9:30am to 4:00pm on weekends. You may encounter a 30-minute to 1-hour wait time to get into Jacob Fork access. Visitors will be directed to other parking areas once the High Shoals Falls trailhead parking is full. Traffic into the park will be controlled by park rangers for visitor safety and for emergency access. Plan ahead and limit the number of vehicles you take to the park. Maps are available at the visitor center and trailhead kiosks.

Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. Generally, state parks are following the phased reopening statewide. As of October 3, we are following modified Phase 3.

 Last updated on: Monday, November 2, 2020

Be safe-be seen! Wear Blaze Orange on Benn Knob Trail   

Hikers, mountain-bikers and equestrian riders who plan to ride any portion of Benn Knob Trail should wear an item that is blaze orange. This trail is along boundary and runs through portions of South Mountains Game Lands. Hunting season is in progress. Be safe. Be seen. Now through Jan. 1, 2021.

 Last updated on: Friday, October 23, 2020

Bridle trails:

OPEN TODAY

Bike trails:

OPEN TODAY


3001 South Mountain Park Ave.
Connelly Springs, NC 28612

828-433-4772
south.mountains@ncparks.gov

 

Map of North Carolina

GPS: 35.5963, -81.600

 

Open Daily (except Christmas Day) 7am
Closing Hours
December, January and February 7pm
November 8pm
March, April and October 9pm
May - September 10pm
Closed Christmas Day

Park Office
8am - 5pm weekdays and weekends
Closed Christmas Day

Natural resources

Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.

Observe different forest types in the beautiful woodlands of South Mountains State Park, including pure conifer, mixed conifer, hardwood and climax hardwood forests. This relatively undeveloped area is a splendid example of ecologies from the upper piedmont to the mountains. Oak, hickory and a variety of pines are the predominant species in the park.

Walk along the park's numerous streams and enjoy a variety of beautiful wildflowers, including Jack-in-the-pulpit, lady slipper and foam flowers. Mountain laurel and rhododendron are also present.

Wildlife is abundant in the forests of South Mountains, though many of the animals go unseen by the casual visitor. Salamanders, frogs and toads reside in the moist areas of the park. Common reptiles include eastern fence lizards, skinks and a variety of small snakes. Though most of the snakes in the park are harmless and rarely encountered, the venomous copperhead and timber rattlesnake are present, and hikers should exercise caution.

The park comes alive with a symphony of chirping during the spring and summer months. More than 60 species of birds are known to nest at South Mountains. While most species found in the park are typical of the western piedmont, other common species include the ruffed grouse, black-throated green warbler and rose-breasted grosbeak. You may also find Acadian flycatchers, common crows, Carolina chickadees, wood thrushes, red-eyed vireos, oven birds, hooded warblers, indigo buntings and Eastern towhees. Common ravens have also nested on rock ledges near High Shoals Falls.

White-tailed deer, black bears and many smaller mammals also call the park home. Woodchucks may be seen along grassy roadsides, and chipmunks inhabit the forests along with their larger cousin, the gray squirrel. Raccoons and Virginia opossums forage along the streams. Also, several species of small rodents, shrews and eastern moles are South Mountains forest inhabitants seldom encountered by park visitors.