Brushy Mountains

The Brushy Mountains are an isolated eastern spur of the Blue Ridge. These low mountains include large tim – ber tracts and have headwaters of several streams feeding the Yadkin River, one of the longest rivers in North Carolina. Stretching for 45 miles from east to west, the Brushy Mountains remain the only section of the Foothill Range without a State Park. The stunning views and uniquely comfortable climate make the Brushy Mountains a tremendous target for development – a great motivator for its protection.

Attractive Working Farmlands and Biologically Rich Natural Areas

The Brushy Mountains contain the North Carolina Natural Heritage Brushy Mountains Macrosite, critical for protection of the federally threatened bog turtle and federal species of concern Torrey’s mountain-mint. Less than 1% of this large 18,000+ acre Macrosite is under permanent protection. The Brushy Mountains contain thousands of acres of economically productive and scenically attractive working farmlands including many biologically rich natural areas.

Biological Diversity

The Brushy Mountains are home to the federal threatened species bog turtle and federal species of concern Torrey’s mountain-mint; state endangered species Keever’s bristle-moss and state threatened species bog turtle. The North Carolina Division of Water Quality has designated Hunting Creek a Water Supply III, the South Yadkin River a Walter Supply II, and the Yadkin River a Water supply IV. A thermal inversion occurs in the Brushy Mountains and provides the unique climate (sometimes 5-15 degrees warmer than nearby lower elevations at night) that accommodates nearly 1000 acres of orchard crops.

Cultural Heritage

The Brushy Mountains are rich with a combination of generations-deep land owners and newcomers seeking refuge from city life. Many seasonal residents become permanent residents due to the quiet, pristine surrounds and the inherent kindness of this mountain culture. These attributes can contribute to greater development pressures, which may pose a threat to the very qualities that attract visitors in the first place, the area’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and outstanding habitat.

Economic Significance

The numerous apple orchards of the Brushy Mountains give rise to the annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, attended by over 160,000 people every October. The festival is supported by over 100 civic, church and non-profit organizations. The Brushy Mountain apple industry has its own eponymous heirloom variety, Brushy Mountain Limbertwig. The unspoiled beauty of the Brushy Mountains attracts mountain bikers, motorcyclists, and other travelers seeking refuge from life in the city.

The Brushy Mountains rise north of the Catawba River, and run parallel to the northeast-flowing Yadkin River. The Brushy Mountains contain great mineral wealth including various types of precious gems and some of the world’s finest emeralds. Accessible to populated areas, the seemly rugged and remote Brushy Mountains have long attracted those seeking environmental refuge. The proximity of these beautiful mountains to metropolitan Charlotte and nearby Wilkesboro make the Brushy Mountains ideal for second homes resulting in development pressures for the region. The economic, cultural, and biological significance of this Blue Ridge Forever Focus Area becomes greater each day, as does its need for protection from development.

Leave Your Legacy

There are few ways that you can leave a greater legacy than through land conservation. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to preserve the magnificent landscape of the Brushy Mountains. Each donation brings us one step closer to conserving this veritable Noah’s Ark for our great-grandchildren and beyond. Whatever your ability to give, we welcome your gift and thank you for caring about North Carolina’s invaluable and fragile mountain landscape.

Land Trusts Serving The Brushy Mountains


Blue Ridge Conservancy
P.O. Box 568
Boone, NC 28607