Appalachian Ranger District


This page was last updated 11/21/2022

Current Notes of Interest:

The office will be closed 11/24/2022 and 11/25/2022

Forest Product Permits (galax, firewood, herbs, etc) are unavailable during the following dates due to end of fiscal year updates:

  • September 30-October 4
  • October 31-November 3
  • December 31-January 1

All developed recreation areas are closed for the 2022 season. 

Seasonal road closures will begin Jan 2, 2023 and will last until April 2, 2023.

2/24/2022 Temporary Rock Cliff Closures to Protect Peregrine Falcons

11/9/2021- NC Department of Transportation state road closure in Haywood County Click for the detour Map.

8/28/2021- FOREST CLOSURE ORDER- BIG IVY AND SOUTH TOE AREAS: ORDER NO. 08-11-08-21-119

A formal closure order was signed 8/28/2021 prohibiting use of select roads on the Appalachian District.
These roads are closed to all uses, including camping. Hikers, runners, cyclists, and equestrian trail users are prohibited from being on these closed roads,except when using an open trail that intersects with a closed road, as stated in the closure order. Due to underlying road structure damage from Tropical Storm Fred,the remaining road closures do not have reopening dates at this time. 

  1. FSR 63 - Stony Fork Road (Barnardsville)
  2. FSR 74 - Big Ivy Road (Coleman Boundary- Barnardsville)
  3. FSR 274- South Toe (Reopened 10/2022- Seasonal closure from Jan-April)

 

At a Glance

Current Conditions:
Unless already closed, these seasonal road closures begin closing on 1/1/2023

Big Ivy FS #74, Buncombe (Closed due to storm damage)
Stony Fork FS #63, Buncombe (Closed due to storm damage)
South Toe River FS #472, Yancey (reopened 10/2022- will re-close 1/1/2023 for seasonal closure)
Cataloochee FS #3549,Haywood
Hickey Fork FS #465, Madison
Neals Creek FS #2074, Yancey
Flat Top FS #278, Yancey
Mill Ridge FS # 113, Madison
Hurricane Gap FS # 467, Madison
Longarm FS # 287, Haywood
Operational Hours: The Appalachian Ranger District consists of Pisgah National Forest lands that stretch westward from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park's eastern boundary to Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Roan Mountain near Tennessee. Elevations range from 1,900 feet at Max Patch to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell.   

Please call 828-689-9694 or email appalachianrd@usda.gov 
The district office door is secured and there is no face-to-face service at this time.
 
Reservations: Campground Reservations must be made in advance. There are no first come,first serve sites available at Harmon Den or Rocky Bluff. First Come/First Serve Sites: The only way to know whether one is available is by visiting the location.

Reservation Portals:
Rocky Bluff - Closed
Harmon Den - Will close for the year on Oct 30, 2022
Black Mountain- Closed
Carolina Hemlocks- Closed
Briar Bottom- Closed
Permit Info: Forest Product Permits (Non-Timber) will only be sold through mail.

Please Provide:
*Name
*Address
*Mailing Address for the permit
*Phone Number
*Non-expired Driver's License Number or National ID Number
*Payment(Money Order or check in exact amount (below) )
*Description of your purchase request
Money Order or Personal Check addressed to USFS:
$20- Firewood
$35 Galax-2 Weeks
$70 Galax-1 Month
Mail all required information and payment to:

Appalachian Ranger District
632 Manor Road Mars Hill, NC 28754


Please email appalachianrd@usda.gov
to request a form by email or USPS.
Restrictions: Routine and public access to our facilities are temporarily suspended to help protect the public from the spread of COVID-19.

Critical mission operations are being conducted online, through USPS mail, by email, and telephone. 

Please call 828-689-9694 or email appalachianrd@usda.gov. 

The district office door is secured and there is no face-to-face service at this time.
Closest Towns: The Appalachian Ranger District is located in Mars Hill, NC. The closest towns this district serves are Mars Hill, Barnardsville, Marshall, Burnsville, and the very northern area of Asheville. This district serves the following counties: Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Haywood, Yancey. The district is separated from the Grandfather Ranger District by the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Link to the other Ranger Districts of the NFsNC: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/nfsnc/about-forest/districts
Passes: America The Beautiful passes are available through the following website: https://www.store.usgs.gov/ 

If you encounter any problems or have questions please call:

1-888-ASK-USGS
(1-888-275-8747) Option 2
8:00 am -4:00 pm (MDT)
or email at: usgsstore@usgs.gov.  
Information Center:

General Information

Directions:

Driving Directions from Burnsville:

Go West on Highway 19E toward Asheville, NC (16 mi.)

Just before the intersection of future I-26 turn left onto Crossroads Parkway (.8 mi.)

Turn right onto Parkway View Road (.2 mi)

Take the next right onto Manor Drive. The Appalachian Ranger Station is located at the end of the road (.4 mi)

Driving Directions from Hot Springs:

Take Highway 25/70 to intersection with Highway 213 (16 mi.)

Turn onto Highway 213 going towards Mars Hill, NC (7 mi.)

At the intersection of Highway 213 and Main Street turn left onto North Main Street (1 mi.)

Turn right onto Parkway View Road (.9 mi.)

Turn left onto Manor Drive. The Appalachian Ranger Station is located at the end of the road (.4 mi.)


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Reservations can be found at

www.recreation.gov

or by calling 877-444-6777


Rocky Bluff
Harmon Den
Black Mountain 
Carolina Hemlocks
Briar Bottom

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

Reservation Portals:
Rocky Bluff
Harmon Den
Black Mountain 
Carolina Hemlocks
Briar Bottom

Group Camping

Recreation areas with activity Group Camping:

Reservation Portals:
Rocky Bluff
Harmon Den
Black Mountain 
Carolina Hemlocks
Briar Bottom

Dispersed Camping

Recreation areas with activity Dispersed Camping:

Backcountry/Dispersed/Primitive Camping

If you are seeking to disperse/primitive camp other places, there are no permits nor costs required. This is also referred to as “dispersed” and “primitive”. It is “first come, first serve” basis. The rules and policies are as follows:

  • Hike ¼ mile from trailhead
  • 100 ft from the trail itself
  • 200 ft from a water source
  • ¼ mile away from any developed rec area
  • Keep campfires small, confined, and never unattended. Do not bring in outside wood. Be sure to completely and safely extinguish flames and coals before departure.

Roadside/Dispersed Camping

On the following USFS Roads, you may ONLY park in designated spots – these are denoted by a small brown wooden sign with a white triangle (representing a tent)

  • 148 Cold Springs Creek Road- Hot Springs
  • 74 Big Ivy- Barnardsville (Closed due to Tropical Storm Damage)
  • 2074 Neals Creek- Burnsville
  • 472- South Toe River Road – Burnsville

 

Roadside camping is allowed along any other FS road as long as:

  • The vehicle is completely off of the road
  • You are not imposing any natural resource or archaeological area
  • You do not stay longer than 14 days
  • You are at least 200 ft from any water source

 

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

River and Stream Fishing

Recreation areas with activity River and Stream Fishing:

Outside of developed recreation areas, fishing and hunting are permitted throughout the national forests in North Carolina. While the Forest Service manages the habitat and protects water quality in the national forests, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission regulates fishing. Anglers should have a fishing license. For information on licenses and more, contact the Wildlife Resources Commission at www.ncwildlife.org or call 888-248-6834.

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Backpacking

Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Backpacking trails on the Appalachian Ranger District

 

Big Game Hunting

Recreation areas with activity Big Game Hunting:

 

For all rules, regulations, and permitting- visit www.ncwildlife.org or call (888) 248-6824

 

Accessible Hunting Locations: 

Appalachian Ranger District 

Bowling Green (Mitchell Co., near Poplar);  Access road: Hwy 197

Moye Tract (Madison Co., near Hot Springs); Access road: SR 1304 River Road past Hot Springs 

One accessible hunting blind off Cold Springs (Haywood Co., Waynesville). FSR 148 Cold Springs

Two accessible hunting blinds are available at Victor Fields   7 mile ridge or victor field rd.

off of Forest Service road (FS) 5511. 


Accessible piers on rivers and streams include the French Broad River at Murray Branch Day Use Area. 

Last Updated 3/17/2022

Please call 828-689-9694 or email appalachianrd@usda.gov for the most recent updates regarding these areas. 

 

Species Deer, Bear

Small Game Hunting

Recreation areas with activity Small Game Hunting:

For all rules, regulations, and permitting- visit www.ncwildlife.org or call (888) 248-6824

 

Accessible Hunting Locations: 

Appalachian Ranger District 

Bowling Green (Mitchell Co., near Poplar);  Access road: Hwy 197

Moye Tract (Madison Co., near Hot Springs); Access road: SR 1304 River Road past Hot Springs 

One accessible hunting blind off Cold Springs (Haywood Co., Waynesville). FSR 148 Cold Springs

Two accessible hunting blinds are available at Victor Fields   7 mile ridge or victor field rd.

off of Forest Service road (FS) 5511. 


Accessible piers on rivers and streams include the French Broad River at Murray Branch Day Use Area. 

Last Updated 3/17/2022

Please call 828-689-9694 or email appalachianrd@usda.gov for the most recent updates regarding these areas. 

Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

Viewing Plants

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Plants:

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

Target Shooting

Recreation areas with activity Target Shooting:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go/shooting

Target shooting is allowed on national forest or grassland unless restricted. Check your local ranger district for more information about local restriction. It is prohibited to shoot:    

  • In or within 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area.
  • Across or on a national forest or grassland road or body of water.
  • In any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.
  • Into or within a cave.
  • Firing tracer bullets or incendiary ammunition.
  • Disturbing, injuring, destroying, or in any way damaging any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resource, structure, site, artifact, property.
  • Abandoning any personal property or failing to dispose of all garbage, including targets, paper, cans, bottles, appliances.

In general, you should target shoot only if you:

  • Use approved targets. Certain forests may have specific restrictions, such as the type of targets used (i.e. cardboard targets, paper targets, clay pigeons).
    • Exploding targets are not recommended and are restricted on many forests or grasslands for safety and fire concerns.
  • Use approved targets along with a safe, ”bullet-proof” backstop. Do not to attach your targets to vegetation or structures, such as; trees, log decks, slash piles, fences, or water tanks.
  • Practice safe gun handling by:
    • Treating every gun as if it is loaded.
    • Never letting the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you do not intend to shoot.
    • Keeping your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
    • Making sure of your target and what is beyond.
  • Are not in possession of alcoholic beverages while discharging a firearm.

The Appalachian Ranger District does not have specific target shooting ranges, however, other NFsNC do have ranges available: 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/nfsnc/recreation/otheractivities/?recid=48112&actid=106

Interpretive Areas

Recreation areas with activity Interpretive Areas:

Visitor Centers

Recreation areas with activity Visitor Centers:

Metal Detecting

Recreation areas with activity Metal Detecting:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd529573.pdf

Rockhounding

Recreation areas with activity Rockhounding:

Gold Panning and Rockhounding

Some visitors to the national forest like to try their hands at finding minerals or panning for gold. Visitors are asked to following these guidelines when rockhounding or gold panning in the National Forests in North Carolina.

  • Rockhounding and gold panning may take place on most national forest lands – provided only small quantities of material are removed for personal, non-commercial purposes.
  • Recreational rockhounding and gold panning are not allowed in Congressionally-designated wilderness areas or in the corridors of designated wild and scenic rivers.
  • Recreational rockhounding and gold panning are not allowed in forest areas where mineral rights are owned by a private party, or in an area that is under mineral lease to a private party.
  • Permits are required for removal of mineral materials for scientific and research purposes.
  • Commercial removal of minerals requires a prospecting permit from the Bureau of Land Management.
  • On the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests materials must be removed using small hand tools without mechanical means or motorized equipment. You cannot remove mineral materials with a pick, shovel, sluice box or similar large tools.
  • On the Uwharrie National Forest mineral materials can be removed using small hand tools along with hand-held sluice boxes, rocker panels and shovels. However, suction-dredging and the use of any motorized equipment to remove materials is prohibited.  
  • Gold pans may be used for gold panning in the beds of streams, but the banks of streams cannot be disturbed by digging or removing materials.
  • Any disturbance to or removal of historical or archaeological artifacts is prohibited by federal law

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:

Swimming

Recreation areas with activity Swimming:

The South Toe River area is on the Appalachian Ranger District near Burnsville, NC. This area includes the Black Mountains, the Blue Ridge, and the headwaters of the South Toe River. The Black Mountains, capped with a forest of red spruce and Fraser fir, are named for the resulting dark color. Along the South Toe River, you can camp, picnic, fish, swim, tube, bike, and horseback ride.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recreation/wateractivities/recarea/?recid=49216&actid=82

Tubing

Recreation areas with activity Tubing:

The South Toe River area is on the Appalachian Ranger District near Burnsville, NC. This area includes the Black Mountains, the Blue Ridge, and the headwaters of the South Toe River. The Black Mountains, capped with a forest of red spruce and Fraser fir, are named for the resulting dark color. Along the South Toe River, you can camp, picnic, fish, swim, tube, bike, and horseback ride.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recreation/wateractivities/recarea/?recid=49216&actid=82