Standing stately at 4,665 feet elevation, 1,600 feet above the town of West Jefferson and surrounding highlands is a well-known landmark, Mt Jefferson State Natural Area.
Beginning as state park in 1956, Mount Jefferson is appealing for all ages because it features several walking/hiking trails, overlooks, picnic areas, interactive workshops with the Park rangers throughout the year and plenty of photo opportunities with its panoramic views of the entire region. Mount Jefferson, now a State Natural Area, contains many unique and diverse trees, shrubs and wildflowers as well as many interesting and unique plants giving the mountain a national natural landmark designation from the National Park Service.
The mountain known as a botanical utopia contains a variety of wildlife. At higher elevations, rare birds live that only survive above the surrounding landscape.
From Amphibolite Peaks, large rock outcroppings and overlooks provide panoramic views of the surrounding landscape below with magnificent long-range views of Blue Ridge Mountains as far as Tennessee and Virginia. These views are ever changing with each season.
For hiking, the most popular is the Rhododendron Trail. The trail is 1.10 miles and gorgeous in early June when the magnificent purple-flowered Catawba rhododendron is in bloom.
At the top of the mountain is a covered picnic area with a large fireplace and several tables. Numerous events are held on the mountain during the year.
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area with its natural and cultural history is an important landmark for West Jefferson and plays an important role in the community. The two-mile road to the top of the mountain is paved and just a stone’s throw from the town. It is a drive you may want to take while visiting our town.