Buzzard Roost

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North Carolina, United States, North America
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
2980 ft / 908 m
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Buzzard Roost
Created On: Nov 7, 2011
Last Edited On: Nov 11, 2011


From the SummitFrom the top.
Buzzard Roost is the highest point in the South Mountains. This range is considered to be the southeasternmost outlier of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is separated from the bulk of that great range by some distance and stands seemingly alone in the Piedmont leading up toward the high country of North Carolina.

Much of the South Mountains is protected as either state park lands or as wildlife refuge. Of course the refuge lands are merely for wildlife management and there are no protections there at all for the forests that clothe the slopes within those boundaries (or which formerly clothed those peaks).

Currently, Buzzard Roost lies safely within North Carolina's South Mountains State Park. It is within the newly acquired and largely undeveloped half of the park to the north. It replaces Benn Knob as the highest peak in the park boundaries and will now, I assume, become a popular destination for hikers.


Currently, there are no trails at all leading to the top of Buzzard Roost. Any attempt to reach it are via various bushwhacks from other sections of the South Mountains State Park. The peak can be climbed with a lot of elevation gain from the north or less from other directions. However one achieves the goal, there is a lot of off-trail hiking to be done, so knowledge of the route is a must. Carry a good map and compass and GPS device if possible.

The new section of the park, which contains Buzzard Roost, is home to some impressive forests. Some of these forest are probably old growth, so there is lots of opportunity to view some truly impressive groves of big trees, mainly on the very steep slopes that must have been either difficult or impossible to reach for those wishing to exploit the timber.

Getting There

Fallen Giant and Carolina hemlocksWandering.
From NC 64 take Jenkins Road. Drive down Jenkins Road for .3 miles to Branstrom Orchard Street. See State Park lot on left and pull into parking area. Don't drive any farther, or find yourself on posted private property.

From the parking area, hike up the dam then see trail/road on the far left of the dam. Hike around lake and bear steadily right until you reach the slopes of the South Mountains. Soon leave the trace of the old logging road and from then on look to your map and compass for bearings to the summit of Buzzard Roost.

Huge poplarsGreat forests.

Red Tape

None. Free admission. No fires.


Plenty of back country camping at sites within the park. See the South Mountains State Park website for details.

View from the TopGreat Cliff Top View.

External Links

Official South Mountains State Park website.

Bushwhack Route MapOur route to the top and back down.