Middle Prong Wilderness




The Middle Prong Wilderness lies west of the Shining Rock Wilderness. In this area, the Blue Ridge Parkway forms a big “U” and the Middle Prong wilderness occupies the western half of the U. The Shining Rock wilderness occupies the eastern half, and right down the middle runs NC route 215, which is the only thing that separates the two wilderness areas.

In light of this, NC 215 is where most access points for this wilderness area lie, starting with the Sunburst area in the north. Here the stream that drains most of the Middle Prong joins with the West Fork Pigeon River. Gravel forest service road 97 skirts the northern edge of the Wilderness and trails entering the heart of the area start here and generally travel south to the Parkway, which provides another possible access point for these trails.

The 7,900 acre wilderness was designated in 1984. Part of the reason of designating this area was to take some of the traffic away from the increasing visitation of the nearby, popular Shining Rock Wilderness. Next time you wish to take a hike into some spectacular, high-elevation terrain, or beside a crystal-clear, pristine mountain stream, consider a trip here – especially if you enjoy solitude.