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17288
North Carolina

Nature Hiking in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Hike the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains with a local expert and learn about the region’s abundant wildflowers, natural history and distinctly Appalachian folklore.
Rating (5)
Program No. 17288RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
899
North Carolina

Nature Hiking in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Hike the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains with a local expert and learn about the region’s abundant wildflowers, natural history and distinctly Appalachian folklore.
Length
6 days
Starts at
899
Length
6 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
899
Program No. 17288RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2022
Starting at
899
Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
899
Oct 23 - Oct 28, 2022
Starting at
899
Apr 23 - Apr 28, 2023
Starting at
1,149
May 7 - May 12, 2023
Starting at
1,149
Jun 4 - Jun 9, 2023
Starting at
1,149
Jul 23 - Jul 28, 2023
Starting at
1,149
Aug 13 - Aug 18, 2023
Starting at
1,149
Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
1,149
Oct 15 - Oct 20, 2023
Starting at
1,149
Oct 22 - Oct 27, 2023
Starting at
1,149
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2022
Starting at
1,089
Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
1,089
Oct 23 - Oct 28, 2022
Starting at
1,089
Apr 23 - Apr 28, 2023
Starting at
1,289
May 7 - May 12, 2023
Starting at
1,289
Jun 4 - Jun 9, 2023
Starting at
1,289
Jul 23 - Jul 28, 2023
Starting at
1,289
Aug 13 - Aug 18, 2023
Starting at
1,289
Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
1,289
Oct 15 - Oct 20, 2023
Starting at
1,289
Oct 22 - Oct 27, 2023
Starting at
1,289

At a Glance

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the scenic trails and natural wonders of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains in a small group with a hiking naturalist who reveals the wonders of wildflowers and mountain life. Walk along the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail, through the Nantahala National Forest and spend your evenings immersed in tales of Appalachian folklore and natural history.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking 4-8 miles per day on varied terrain. Elevations up to 5,500 feet. There may be frequent stops to explore the flora and fauna of the Southern Appalachians.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Hike to spots above 5,000 feet like Standing Indian Mountain and take advantage of exquisite views.
  • Walk on sections of the famous Appalachian Trail, including the Rock Gap to Glassmine Gap portion, Winding Stair Gap and Siler Bald.
  • On sections of the "Chunky Gal" Trail study the natural history of the area with a local trail and nature expert.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. This program is coordinated by the Montreat Conference Center that operates under special use permit on the Nantahala National Forest and operates on a nondiscriminatory basis. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Tracy Bailey
Tracy has been on the program staff of Montreat Conference Center since 1986. She began working with Elderhostel programs in 1989, and in 1997 assumed the additional role of on-site coordinator. A native of the area, she graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Technical College in 1981. Her favorite hobbies are hiking, pottery and reading. Tracy married Sam in 2007, and added three daughters to her family. In addition to her own grown children, she and Sam have been foster parents since 2010. They have four grandchildren.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tracy Bailey
Tracy Bailey View biography
Tracy has been on the program staff of Montreat Conference Center since 1986. She began working with Elderhostel programs in 1989, and in 1997 assumed the additional role of on-site coordinator. A native of the area, she graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Technical College in 1981. Her favorite hobbies are hiking, pottery and reading. Tracy married Sam in 2007, and added three daughters to her family. In addition to her own grown children, she and Sam have been foster parents since 2010. They have four grandchildren.
Profile Image of Brent Martin
Brent Martin View biography
Brent and his wife Angela run Alarka Institute, a nature, literary and art based business that offers workshops and field trips. He is also the part-time director of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society. He has an MA and ABD in history from Georgia State University and worked for several years on a dissertation on historical land use patterns in the northwest Georgia mountains. In his spare time he writes poetry and essays; he is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry.
Profile Image of Bev and Rod Richardson
Bev and Rod Richardson View biography
Bev and Rod have been visiting the Western NC mountains for over three decades. They travel regularly to see their children and extended family, and enjoy hosting friends and family at home in Florida. Bev is a retired PCUSA minister and serves as parish associate at First Presbyterian New Smyrna Beach; she has been a volunteer police chaplain for over 15 years. Rod is an elder and deacon in the PCUSA church and is retired from Northrup Grumman as a financial planner.
Profile Image of Elizabeth Domingue
Elizabeth Domingue View biography
Elizabeth (Liz) Domingue is a professional naturalist, educator, nature photographer, and guide with extensive experience hiking, backpacking, photographing, and studying the natural world. Her interest in and study of natural history has been her lifelong pursuit and passion. As the originator and operator of Just Get Outdoors, she leads interpretive hikes, photography workshops, and Naturalist Adventure Tours regionally and throughout the US. In all of her programs, Liz encourages awareness, understanding, enjoyment, and stewardship of our natural world.
Profile Image of Bruce Thomason
Bruce Thomason View biography
Bruce Thomason was thrust into the natural world and hiking at an early age by conservation-minded parents. He served as a counselor in Asheville High School’s mountaineering summer camp, teaching technical climbing, rappelling, river rafting, caving, and backpacking. Bruce was a leader in the Boy Scouts of America and has sectioned-hiked many parts of the Appalachian Trail and other Western NC traces and tracks over the past 40 years. He has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering and was CTO of a technology firm.
Profile Image of Kris Medic
Kris Medic View biography
Kris Medic is an author and board-certified Master Arborist. She grew up in Pennsylvania, and in high school did wilderness search and rescue in the mountains with the Civil Air Patrol. As a horticulturist with BS and MS degrees, she curated the wildflower, holly, rhododendron, and azalea collections at Georgia’s Callaway Gardens, led whitewater canoe trips on the Flint River, hikes and workshops, and bird counts. Kris has been a wilderness first aid instructor, Sierra Club hike leader, and president of the Indiana Arborist Association.
Profile Image of Linda Flynn
Linda Flynn View biography
Linda Flynn retired in Asheville, North Carolina, after 25 years as a designer and 25 years as a therapist. Her current passion is walking international “caminos” — with more than 1,200 miles in the last eight years — and hiking in Western North Carolina. She does so love our own rhododendron and laurel, and appreciates finding wildflowers and secret gardens. Linda is also fond of rocks, mosses, ferns, and waterfalls.
Profile Image of Rebecca Banner
Rebecca Banner View biography
Rebecca Banner has been a Blue Ridge Mountain hiker for decades. She has been leading beginner and intermediate hikes with UNCA's OLLI College for Seniors program for several years, and beginner hikes with the Carolina Mountain Club. Her hiking students have especially enjoyed her passion for native plant and flower identification, nature, and healthy living. Rebecca brings an element of reverence for nature in every step along the trail. She enjoys living near her son and daughter in Asheville, NC, after 30 years in Chicago.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Appalachian Trail Trees & Wildflowers
by Waterford Press Inc.
Handy for a pocket or backpack, this durable, fold-out reference features flora and fauna that travelers will likely encounter on the Appalachian Trail.
Our Southern Highlanders
by Horace Kephart
A classic book of history and folklore of the mountaineers of the southern Appalachians. Kephart is considered the premier folklorist and historian of the area. First published in the 1910s.
Saints At The River
by Ron Rash
Few are better at writing Southern life than Ron Rash. In his second novel, a 12-year-old girl drowns in the Tamassee River. As her hometown is thrown into the national spotlight, the girl's parents demand that her body be recovered. Environmentalists are convinced the operation would cause permanent damage to the river. Winner of the Weatherford Award for Best Novel.
Newcomb's Wildflower Guide
by Lawrence Newcomb
A classic identification guide, which uses a simple dichotomous key for identification. With 1,075 mostly black-and-white drawings, it covers the Northeast and Great Lakes region, south to Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and most of Tennessee.
Great Smoky Mountains Wildlife
by James Kavanagh
A folding wildlife guide designed for quick reference in the field. With full-color images and text, it features more than 140 creatures often seen in the Great Smoky Mountains.
This is Where We Live, Short Stories by 25 Contemporary North Carolina Writers
by Michael McFee
A collection of short stories from the last 15 years. Includes pieces by Philip Gerard, Heather Ross Miller and June Spence.
A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson
The entertaining account of Bryson's hike up the Appalachian trail, combining biting satire with a certain warmth. A fond memoir and a very entertaining read.
Cold Mountain
by Charles Frazier
Set in North Carolina, this is the best-selling novel of a wounded Confederate soldier who abandons the front line and journeys home to his prewar sweetheart. In spare, eloquent prose, Frazier describes the strong bond between a man and the land.





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If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.