The Hickory Nut Gorge - Its History & Lore featured in Local Novels
"THERE ARE PLACES ON THIS EARTH that touch the soul with the sheer power of their magnitude. The Hickory Nut Gorge in Western North Carolina is such a place. Evident in its people is a distinctive characteristic that has resurfaced over and over throughout generations and echoes within the whole community, for it is the very thing that brought them together in the first place. And even now, this monolithic gorge still has the power to siphon out, from the thousands of people who come each year, those with a certain cast of mind, and draw them close to its bosom." In the Shadows of Chimney Rock by Rose Senehi
THE HICKORY NUT GORGE starts at the Eastern Continental Divide in Gerton, NC...about 20 minutes from Asheville, and runs through the communities of Gerton, Bat Cave, and Chimney Rock, and ends 10 miles later at Lake Lure--dropping about 1800 feet. Route 74 runs along it with 14 hairpin curves.

This spectacular gorge is located on the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, with exfoliated granite dome outcrops and sheer cliffs on either side with the Rocky Broad River running most of the way through it. It was formed by the action of high-gradient streams cutting through the escarpment, probably assisted by local geologic faults, to reach the North Carolina Piedmont below.

Breathtaking topographic features include peaks, broad ridgetops and narrow spur ridges, smooth dome-shaped rock outcrops and uneven, irregular summit rock outcrops, sheer bluffs and cliffs, steep slopes and coves, waterslides and waterfalls, and boulder-strewn streambeds.

The Hickory Nut Gorge is home
to 37 rare species of plant life
important for general biodiversity,
including the federally endangered
white irisette and the granite dome
goldenrod. It also is home to 14 rare
animal species including the fed-
erally endangered green salamander
and the Indiana Bat.

This beautiful gorge is under threat
from overdevelopment. All the dedicated professionals at
the conservancies and land trusts, their cadre of volunteers, and the State of North Carolina will go down in history for what they are doing and have done to save the extraordinary beauty of the Hickory Nut Gorge. Some of their outstanding feats are described on the "Conservancies" page of this site.

Novel that takes place in
Gorge awarded Gold IPPY
as Best Novel written in the
Southeast for 2012