Naturalist Guided Hiking Trip: Southern Appalachians Sampler

June 9 – 15, 2013

Prepare to embark on an adventure into the Southern Appalachians and treat yourself to the luxuries of beautiful Snowbird Mountain Lodge. This is one of those opportunities when the accommodations likely will be one of the highlights of the trip. I know the lodge and the staff well and I am sure you will enjoy your stay. The lodge sits in a most spectacular setting, truly a hiker’s paradise. We will be surrounded by a great diversity of hiking trails and protected public lands, including the Nantahala National Forest, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, Citico Wilderness, Cherokee National Forest, and the Snowbird Backcountry. The choices for exploration are numerous and I will provide you with a nice sampling of these superb areas as we hike, paddle on Lake Santeetlah, and visit local artisan galleries and studios.

These natural areas are all a part of the greater Smokies region. In fact, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very close by. The Southern Appalachians include some of the most rugged and highest terrain along the Appalachian Mountain chain, with more summits over 6000’ than in any other part of the Appalachians. We will walk through a variety of ecosystems, allowing us to intimately experience the beauty and intrigue of the surrounding forests, breathtaking mountain vistas, spectacular waterfalls, and the still-unexplained, high elevation “balds” of the Southern Appalachians (found nowhere else on Earth). As we hike the trails, we will investigate whatever crosses our path and catches our interest. This will include anything from birds, salamanders and other wildlife to wildflowers and other plants, as well as animal tracks and traces. During our 7-day adventure, you will be captivated by the beauty and mysteries of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and delighted by the charm and rustic elegance of Snowbird Mountain Lodge.

The beautiful, historical Snowbird Mountain Lodge is tucked away in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina and rests among 100 acres of undisturbed mountaintop. One of the most outstanding features of the lodge is the view. It is awesome! You can enjoy the panorama of mountain views while sitting on the front terrace in one of the comfortable rockers or porch swing. If it’s cold outside, you can still enjoy the stunning view through the Main Lodge’s picture window framing the Snowbird Mountain range while enjoying the warmth of a fire. The grounds are inviting, peaceful and quiet and they beckon you to relax as the world slows down around you. The lodge owners and staff are superb -- they are friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. Oh, and yes, there’s more…. Gourmet meals! The food and its presentation are top notch and I guarantee your palate will be pleased and your belly satisfyingly full. Excellent hikes, a day of relaxed paddling, the beauty and excitement of June, a charming lodge and gourmet food – does it get any better?

June in the Southern Appalachians
June brings lush greens and pleasant temperatures. This will be a wonderful time to enjoy wildflowers, birdlife and other wildlife as we travel through the Southern Appalachians. Catawba Rhododendron reaches its peak of bloom at higher elevations and Rosebay Rhododendron peaks at the lower elevations. We might even see the native Flame Azalea in bloom as well. Biting insects are not much of a concern. We’ve got it made!

The weather in June is typically quite moderate. However, it is important to be well prepared for a range of conditions. Due to elevation differences, temperatures can range from the high 40s to the mid 80s. Mornings and evenings (especially at high elevation) will be quite a bit cooler than the days, so this is where dressing in layers is important. Temperatures at higher elevations can be 10-20 degrees cooler than at lower elevations. Please be aware that there is always a chance of rain, so come prepared with rain gear. A waterproof (not water resistant) rain jacket and rain pants, along with your layers, will keep you dry and warm. Most precipitation occurs as afternoon thunderstorms, so an early start most days will be in order! For more detailed weather information visit, for Robbinsville, NC.

For your information, here are some monthly average temperatures and precipitation amount for the nearby Smokies:

elev. 1462’                                         elev. 6643’

  High     Low Precip High Low Precip
 May 79 50 4.5"
 57 43 6.0"
 June 86 58 5.2"
 63 49 6.9"
*Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.
** Snowbird Mountain Lodge elevation is 2720’.

Southern Appalachians Sampler

Trip Length: 7 days, 6 nights

Trip Dates:June    9 –15 (Sunday to Saturday), 2013

Trip Cost:
Single Supplement $496

Trip Highlights and Activities:
Natural history interpretation; National Forest & Wilderness areas; waterfalls; spectacular scenery; rich plant & wildlife diversity; birding; wildlife viewing; photography; botanizing; paddling; private room with bath in an exceptional location, Snowbird Mountain Lodge, where you can enjoy all the resort has to offer, including delicious meals served in the on-site restaurant; local artisan galleries and studios

Group Size: 5 (min) – 10 (max) participants





Trip Rating