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 (4.9)
Program No. 17288RJ
6 days
Starts at

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 10 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 Muskrat Creek Shelter 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 Intentional Growth Center that operates under special use permit on the Nantahala National Forest and operates on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Doris Gove
Doris Gove has written or co-authored several books about hiking and natural history in the southern Appalachians, including "50 Hikes in the Tennessee Mountains: Hikes and Walks from the Blue Ridge to the Cumberland Plateau." Doris has been an instructor at the University of Tennessee and a writer at the Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and she brings a naturalist's love of wildlife to her hiking programs.

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

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Doris Gove
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Suggested Reading List
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