Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - 44
Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia.
viewing the dam.
Lost World Caverns, Lewisburg
Take a walk on the mild side with
a self-guided tour of the most accessible parts of this deep cavern...or
dial it up with a four-hour guided
"wild cave tour" into the farther
reaches. Even kids like the wild tour,
and protective clothing is supplied.
This cavern, discovered only in the
1940s, has yielded fossil remains of
big prehistoric beasts. Located close
to I-64 near Lewisburg.
Coopers Rock State Forest,
There's a sinuous canyon in
West Virginia, a 10-mile gorge on
the Cheat River where whitewater
rafters come for a challenge. But
if riding the rapids is not your
thing there's a lookout point on
Coopers Rock, and trail access
to bouldering and rock climbing
spots. These natural features illus44 BlueRidgeCountry.com
trate an ever-changing landscape
that's always subject to the weather's wear and tear.
Monongahela National Forest, Elkins
This sprawling national forest
encompasses miles of West Virginia wilderness, highlighting special
niche ecosystems where plant and
animal life has evolved to meet unusually harsh conditions. The forest
has a vertical range of nearly 3,800
feet elevation. Among favorite spots
for visitors are the Falls of Hills Creek
and the Cranberry Glades Botanical
Area, a rare upland peat bog.
Gray Fossil Site and General
Shale Natural History Museum,
How cool is this? Starting with
the accidental discovery of ancient
animal bones during road widening, the Gray Fossil Site has become
an active paleontological dig with a
fine museum and first-rate fossil lab.
A layer of animal skeletons 130 feet
deep at the onetime sinkhole awaits
gentle excavation for years to come;
specimens on display include a super-size bear, saber tooth cat, and
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg
To feel the sweep of time and
the power of nature, head to the
various stands of old growth trees,
those giants that were never harvested despite devastating logging
all around. One fifth of the 500,000
acres in this national park-the nation's most visited-consist of such
majestic survivors. The astounding
biodiversity within the Smokies,
coupled with the slow erosion by
the elements, makes this a mustvisit destination.
Roan High Knob & Roan
Mountain State Park, Roan
Straddling the North Carolina
border, Roan Mountain-called