Date: Friday, December 16th
Time: Starting at 10:00 am
Where: Flat Laurel Creek Trailhead on Hwy-215
Distance: 6.5 miles total. ~1,100 ft elevation gain.
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (7-8)
Cost: FREE for all participants
Join Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Highland Brewing Company on Friday December 16th to celebrate the beauty of the rugged Great Balsam Mountains and the release of the Cold Mountain Spiced Winter Ale. Participants will hike over 6 miles on one of the most beautiful stretches of trail in Western North Carolina. We will begin traversing through spruce-fir forests and northern hardwood forests, home to the Saw-whet Owl and Carolina northern flying squirrel, before reaching high elevation shrub and grasslands — both very special ecosystems in the southern Appalachians. Along the way, we’ll enjoy water views as we follow the Flat Laurel Creek, which boasts several beautiful waterfalls.
We’ll pause to eat lunch and soak in the landscape at the peak of Sam Knob, a rocky outcrop with stunning views of Cold Mountain. From this vantage point, we will not only be looking onto Cold Mountain but also Shining Rock Wilderness, the Cold Mountain Gamelands, and the greater Balsam Mountains.
In 2016 alone, SAHC added 64 acres to the Cold Mountain Gamelands and purchased 164 acres on the northwestern slopes of Cold Mountain. This year, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy acquired an additional 163 acres northwest of Cold Mountain. In total, SAHC has protected nearly 11,000 acres in this area!
So come out, and let’s celebrate land conservation and our “For Love of Beer and Mountains” partner’s famous Cold Mountain Spiced Winter Ale and together. This hike is FREE for everyone, but space on this guided hike is limited.