Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Protecting the World's Oldest Mountains

Protected Places to Explore

Public access to recreational treasures is an important aspect of our conservation work. The Recreation Map below offers a few examples of SAHC's protected places which are publicly accessible. We invite you to explore these locations and see how SAHC's work preserves special places to be enjoyed now and for generations to come.


View SAHC Recreation Map in a larger map

Among the more than 200 sites protected by SAHC since 1974, only a few are open to the public for recreation. Over half of the properties are protected through conservation easements and are therefore privately owned. Access to these properties are available for exploring as part of SAHC’s organized outings program.

To receive e-mails about the outings program you can join our mailing list. Although we would like to offer all our hikes free to the general public, we are unable to do so given these economic times. As an appreciation to our devoted members – the life blood of this organization – we will continue to offer our hikes for free. If you are a member, we welcome you to bring a friend along for a First Time for Free hike. Our annual membership dues are $35 for individuals and $50 for families. Join now and hike free for a year!

Roan Mountain

One of the most magnificent places to explore in the world, Roan Mountain, is open to the public. SAHC’s roots date back to the early 1950’s with it’s first land protection successes here. Since then SAHC and it’s partners have systematically quilted together a protected landscape totaling over 15,000 acres. Roan Mountain is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and home to three endangered high elevation ecosystems: grassy balds (the longest stretch in the world), spruce-fir forests and vertical rocky cliffs. Each harbors regionally, nationally & globally threatened & endangered plants and animals. To view more details about recreation on Roan Mountain visit the Cherokee National Forest website.

Hampton Creek Cove

Hampton Creek Cove is a 693-acre natural area that was acquired by SAHC and then bargain sold to the State of Tennessee in 1986. SAHC co-manages the area with the State of TN and is committed to preserving its ecological and cultural heritage. To learn more about recreational opportunities at Hampton Creek Cove visit the State of Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation website.

Rough Creek Watershed

Rough Creek Watershed is an 870-acre conservation easement held by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, co-managed with the SAHC, and owned by the Town of Canton. SAHC was instrumental in the protection of this Smoky Mountain jewel.

A newly constructed trail system incorporates historical road beds with more than 10 miles of ecologically sound trails, which allow both foot and mountain bike traffic. The biodiversity of the Rough Creek Watershed rivals that of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the pristine water is classified by the state of NC as an outstanding water resource. The RCW is open to the public. To view more details download a brochure here.

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Upcoming events

July 18 - 20
Grassy Ridge Mow-off
Highlands of Roan

July 26
Yoga on the Mountain
Fairview Farming Community

August 1
Razor Wit "For Love of Beer & Mountains" Partner Hike
Barnardsville, NC

August 9
Birding Hike with Simon Thompson of Ventures Birding
Highlands of Roan

August 22 - 24
Healing Our Backs w/ Yoga TM
with Lillah, the Back Whisperer
One Center Yoga, Asheville

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40 Years of Service to the Highlands of Roan
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