North Carolina's 14 National Park Service locations

WTVD logo
Thursday, August 25, 2016
President Franklin D. Roosevelt is standing before a crowd in Newfound Gap on the Tennessee-North Carolina border on Sept. 2, 1940 as he dedicated the GSMNP.

The National Park Service is now 100 years old and the state of North Carolina has 14 unique locations managed by the agency.

Among the sites on the list, the first English colony in the New World, two Revolutionary War sites that played a major role in America's victory over the British, the most popular national park in the country, the home of a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, two unique cultural areas preserving heritages not found anywhere else on the planet and the birthplace of aviation.

Western North Carolina

This June 3, 2011 photo shows a hiker traversing a rhododendron forest along a stretch of the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail near the tiny ttown of Hot Springs, N.C.
AP Photo/Lindsey Tanner

Appalachian Trail

Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the National Park Service (along with the US Forest Service, North Carolina officials and private groups) maintains 95.5 miles of the 2,185 mile long Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. Work on the trail began in 1921 by private citizens and was completed in 1937. Don't actually feel like climbing a mountain to enjoy the trail? North Carolina is home to Hot Springs, the only town the Appalachian Trail travels directly through.

The Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway is shown near Linville, N.C. Sept. 16, 2006. The viaduct was the last section of the scenic roadway to be built.
AP Photo/Nathan W. Armes

Blue Ridge Parkway

Tracing the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina for 469 miles, the National Park Service helps to maintain the 253 mile North Carolina portion. Among the highlights in North Carolina, access to Grandfather Mountain and to Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 384, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is dedicated to the unique culture found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. The heritage area was established by President George W. Bush and Congress in 2003 and its mission is to "protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western North Carolina for the benefit of present and future generations, and in so doing to sustain our heritage and stimulate improved economic opportunity in our region."

Carl Sandburg and his wife are pictured with their grandson as they look out over the vast Blue Ridge Mountain range from the high point at their home, July 14, 1951 in Flat Rock.
AP Photo/Rudolph Faircloth

Carl Sandburg Home

Born in 1878 in Illinois, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet, writer, and editor Carl Sandburg moved to a 264 acre estate in Flat Rock, N.C. in 1945. The Carl Sandburg National Historic Site was officially authorized in 1968, a little more than a year after his death, and opened in 1974. The property today contains a museum that houses 325,298 items that include letters, telegrams, maps, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings and 12,000 volumes of the Sandburg's books.

In this Sept. 2002, file photo ridge after ridge of the Great Smoky Mountains is seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Bryson City, N.C.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina is home to the country's most popular national park-- the Great Smoky Mountains. Located in North Carolina and Tennessee, the 522,419 acre park (that's 816 square miles) is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chartered by Congress in 1934, more than 10 million people visit the park annually. In 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt standing before a crowd in Newfound Gap on the Tennessee-North Carolina border dedicated the park to the "free people of America."

National Park Service

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

The 330 mile long Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail stretches through North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The trail traces the route taken by the Revolutionary War Overmountain Men patriot militia during their campaign of 1780 that took them over the Great Smoky Mountains to the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina. The Overmountain Men decisively defeated the the loyalist militia garrisoned in the town.

A welcome sign near the entrance of the Cherokee Visitor Information center in Cherokee, N.C.
AP Photo/Alex Sanz

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

Starting in North Carolina, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail traces the steps of the Cherokee people who were forcefully relocated to Oklahoma. There are three main locations in North Carolina long the trail: the Cherokee County Historical Museum in Murphy, the Junaluska Memorial and Museum in Robbinsville and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee.

Central North Carolina

Joachim Niemoller, a first time living history re-enactor, pours a warm cup of coffee Sunday March 15, 2009 at their campsite in Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.
AP Photo/News & Record, Lynn Hey

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro is the location of largest battle of the Revolutionary War in the South. Fought on March 15, 1781, historians say the battle opened up the Revolutionary War for the Americans leading to the victory at Yorktown despite a resounding defeat by the American forces. Historians say the heavy losses suffered by the British in the battle resulted in a strategic victory later in the war.

Coastal North Carolina

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on the East Coast, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the village of Buxton, N.C.,
Joshua Corsa - file photo

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Established in 1937, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is the nation's first national seashore and stretches more than 70 miles along the Outer Banks from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island. The world famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on the East Coast, is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse.
Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commons

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Located three miles off the coast of North Carolina on Harkers Island, Cape Lookout National Seashore is only reachable by ferry. Cape Lookout protects a 56-mile long section of the southern Outer Banks known as the Crystal Coast running from Ocracoke Inlet to Beaufort Inlet.

A marker notes the site of the national historic site, Fort Raleigh, built in 1585 by colonists sent out from England by Sir Walter Raleigh, in Manteo, N.C.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site dates back to 1584 and was home to the first known English settlers in the New World. Located on Roanoke Island in Manteo, Fort Raleigh was settled by an expedition by Sir Walter Raleigh from 1584 to 1590 and is commonly referred to as the Lost Colony.

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor in North Carolina.
National Park Service

Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

Designated by Congress in 2006, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor extends from Wilmington, North Carolina through South Carolina and Georgia and ends north of Jacksonville, Florida. Gullah/Geechee is a culture that stems back to enslaved Africans brought to the United States from West Africa. The North Carolina counties of Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender fall in the protected area. The National Park Service assists in identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah Geechee for the benefit and education of the public in the protected areas.

National Park Service

Moores Creek National Battlefield

The battle of Moores Creek was fought along the Moores Creek Bridge in present day Currie, North Carolina, on February 27, 1776. British Loyalists charged the bridge to find more than 1,000 North Carolina patriots on the other side. The battle ended British rule in the Carolina colony forever.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

There's a reason why we call North Carolina "First in Flight." That historic day of December 17, 1903 is memorialized at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.