Watauga River Bluffs is a 50-acre natural area located in Carter County along the Watauga River. Its most conspicuous feature is the steep slope that drops more than 200 feet to the river's edge. The slope and the narrow bluffs make up most of the 50 acres. It is ecology noteworthy because Watauga River Bluff supports the largest known population of the state listed Carolina pink (Silene caroliniana). This population is mostly concentrated in an open dry chestnut oak forest occurring on the west to south facing upper slopes. This community has white ash as an associate canopy species and a sub-canopy comprised of bitternut hickory, eastern red cedar, and serviceberry. This community has a spare herbaceous layer. This is an early succession forest that is estimated to be approximately 60 or more years old.
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No access has been developed, but the public can visit the area by-way-of the "Park 'n Fish" area, where a neighboring landowner allows one vehicle at a time to park. From State Route 400 (Watauga Road), on the west side of the village of Watauga, turn onto the Steam Plant Road. Cross the railroad tracks and continue past the little church. Make a hard right toward the end of this stretch past the church and go to the end of the road, to the "Park 'n Fish" sign. From there, a social trail to the river will be evident.