Mount Jefferson is a great rocky prominence that juts 1600 feet above the surrounding area. Used as a landmark for people that travel in the area, Mount Jefferson is not only an amazing physical feature on the outskirts of the new River area but it is a remarkable container for countless species of plants and animals. In modern times, this has become a State Natural Area, that is designed to tell people about the mountain, the history of the area and protect some of the species that live in its shadow.
Mount Jefferson has gone by many names in its long history. For a number of years before the American Revolution, the mountain was called Panther Mountain. This was due to the legend that a child was killed by a panther on the mountain itself. In 1952, the mountain was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. This was due to a 1749 visit by Thomas Jefferson and his father as they surveyed what would become the border of North Carolina and Virginia. Now, Mount Jefferson is a tribute to the man and a landmark state park that allows people to come and play outside in the great wide open spaces.
Due to the extreme nature of the mountain itself, the activities are built around the exploring the mountain and teaching about the mountain. The Park rangers that manage the land provide education talks about the area and interpretive programs to allow you to learn more about Mount Jefferson and the part that it plays in the ecosystem. In fact, if you call and schedule it ahead of time, they will supply a park ranger or a local historian to give you a private tour of the mountain.
Besides the history that surrounds the name and nature of the mountain, Mount Jefferson is home to thousands of species of plants and animals. Due to the diversity in the altitude, the forests and the animals are broken up by the elevations. The hardwood forest at the top of the mountain contain a much different set of animals and shrubs then you will find at the lower levels of Mount Jefferson.
Mount Jefferson, one of the most majestic mountains in the Southern Appalachians, is a North Carolina State Park. Beautiful scenery brought Thomas Jefferson and his father to the area to establish the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Now the Mountain and the state park bear his name. Bring the family and your friends to the slopes of Mount Jefferson State Park. Enjoy the scenery, enjoy the activities and learn about the ecology of this steep environment.