While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old!
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world; some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls, and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684’), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds, and over 50 species of amphibians. The huge number of tree and plant life is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. As plants breathe, they exhale and put the ‘blue’ into the atmosphere, thereby contributing the the characteristic blue haze on these distinctive mountains.
Temperatures in this area range from 50 - 85 degrees in the summer, 30 - 65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10 - 50 degrees in the winter.
These regions are the ancestral lands of the ᎠᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi), Catawba, Moneton and Keyauwee nations.