10 Natural Wonders in North Carolina
North Carolina is the 28th largest state in the United States and has a beautiful landscape that varies from the Outer Banks beaches along the Atlantic Ocean to Mount Mitchell which is the highest mountain east of the Rocky Mountains in the western part of the state. North Carolina is the 6th most visited state in the United States and throughout the state there are many natural wonders in North Carolina and these are ten of the best that visitors, vacationers and tourists love to visit every year.
Pilot Mountain is a distinctive landmark and natural wonder in northwestern North Carolina that is known for having a cool looking 200 foot high bare rock walled Big Pinnacle on top of it. On top of the Big Pinnacle itself is vegetation creating a unique look of bare exposed rock sandwiched between thick vegetation on top of a mountain. Pilot Mountain is located in Pilot Mountain State Park just south of the town of Pilot Mountain and a little further south from Mount Airy, North Carolina which is famous as the home of Andy Griffith. Both Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain where the basis for the fictional towns of Mayberry and Mount Pilot from the TV classic Andy Griffith Show.
Located along the North Carolina coast on the Atlantic Ocean is the 200 mile long string of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks. Due to the open expanse of beaches available here the Outer Banks is a major tourist destination in North Carolina as well as a great natural scenic wonder. At Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in the Outer Banks the Wright Brothers made aviation history with the first sustained powered flight and located on Cape Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in the United States the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at 208 feet. At Jockey's Ridge along the Outer Banks is the largest sand dune on the east coast. The are plenty of places to camp and also seaside resort towns full of hotels and motels along the Outer Banks.
Located in northwestern North Carolina is the distinctive landmark natural wonder Stone Mountain. This huge dome of exposed granite rises some 600 feet above the forest below and can be seen for miles and is a popular place to hike and rock climb in North Carolina. Stone Mountain is located in Stone Mountain State Park in Traphill, North Carolina.
Chimney Rock is 315 foot high rock granite monolith that is a great natural wonder and huge tourist attraction located in western North Carolina about 30 miles southeast of Asheville. Tourists and visitors can ride to the top of Chimney Rock by elevator for fantastic views of the surrounding countryside and also to view the 404 foot high Hickory Nut Falls. Chimney Rock is located in Chimney Rock State Park in the town of Chimney Rock and the park offers great hiking trails and camping or visitors can stay in the many hotels and motels located in the area. Scenes from the Last of the Mohicans movie where filmed at Chimney Rock.
Sliding Rock is a gentle sloping 60 foot long natural water slide that ends in a 7 foot plunge over a waterfall into a large deep pool of water that is located off Highway 276 about 8 miles north of Brevard in southwestern North Carolina. The natural wonder water slide is very popular in the summer with tourists, vacationers and locals looking to cool off from the summer heat.
Merchants Millpond State Park
Merchants Millpond State Park is scenic natural wonder located in northeastern North Carolina just northeast of Gatesville. There is a large beautiful cypress swamp in Merchants Millpond State Park where alligators live and the park marks the northern boundary of the American alligator. Activities in the park include canoeing, fishing, hiking and camping.
Linville Gorge the Grand Canyon of North Carolina
Located in the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina is the natural wonder Linville Gorge which is often called the Grand Canyon of North Carolina. The gorge was carved out by the Linville River and the area offers great hiking, camping, hunting and fishing opportunities to outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers and mountain and rock climbing opportunities for more adventurous vacationers. Located inside the Linville Gorge is the beautiful Linville Falls which drops over a series of falls culminating in a spectacular 45 foot drop into the gorge. There are plenty of rustic motels, hotels, cabins and lodges in the area to accommodate tourists and vacationers.
Located in northern North Carolina about 30 miles north of Winston-Salem is the beautiful high rock outcropping natural wonder Hanging Rock. With an elevation of around 2,500 feet Hanging Rock offers fantastic views of the surrounding North Carolina countryside to visitors and vacationers who hike the trails to the outcropping. Hanging Rock is located in Hanging Rock State Park which offers camping and there are also plenty of motels in the area to accommodate tourists and vacationers.
Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the eastern United States at an elevation of 6,684 feet and this natural wonder is located in western North Carolina just south of Burnsville and about 40 miles northeast of Asheville. Mount Mitchell is named for Professor Elisha Mitchell who correctly measured the height of the mountain in 1835. In 1857 one of Mitchell's students challenged his measurement of the mountain and Mitchell fell to his death on the mountain while trying to verify his earlier measurements which were later verified by the United States Geological Survey. Mount Mitchell is located in Mount Mitchell State Park which offers hiking and camping and there are plenty of motels and cabins in the area for visitors, tourists and vacationers.
Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls is beautiful 60 foot high single plunge waterfall that is located off Highway 276 north of Brevard in Pisgah National Forest not far from Sliding Rock in southwestern North Carolina. Looking Glass Falls is one of the best known and most visited waterfalls in the state and is a great natural wonder in North Carolina.
For more see 10 Natural Wonders in New York State