Cold Mountain Hike 2017

Cold Mountain is a 6,030ft peak in the Shining Rock Wilderness, while not the highest peak in the Southern Appalachians it is certainly one of the most famous!  Naturally, we were very excited to lead the Cold Mountain Challenge Hike again this year.  Everything was set to go when the snow storm hit,  it was not going to be possible for us to hike on our scheduled date. However, we decided  “the hike must go on!” The group trekked up Cold Mountain this Saturday, December 16th and had a excellent time. Read more

Focus Area Feature Hike: Balsam Mountains (also part of the Southern Sixer Challenge)

Location: Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain

Date: Saturday, April 1

Start Time: 10 AM; Carpool info TBA

Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (6-7)

Leader: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Outreach Member

Cost: Members FREE/Non-members $10

Registration: Pre-registration is REQUIRED.

This hike will feature our work in the Balsam Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot and critical wildlife corridor between the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Balsams also contain two designated Wilderness Areas and nearly 3,000 acres of old growth forest, making them some of the most pristine wilds in our region.

This 5-mile loop traverses rocky terrain through high elevation forests and across beautiful open balds with scenic views, including over the summit of Black Balsam Knob at 6,214 feet and onwards to Tennent Mountain at 6,040 feet. We will discuss our land protection efforts in this area, including ongoing work near the Cold Mountain Game Lands and along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob and other locations.

This hike is offered as part of our both our Conservation Focus Area Feature series and  “For Love of Beer & Mountains” Southern Sixer Challenge series:

Have you ever wanted to learn more about SAHC’s land protection work, particularly our conservation focus area priorities? This year we are offering a series of six Focus Area Feature Hikes, each highlighting one of the six distinctive greographic regions where we work. Over the past 43 years, our members and donors have protected over 70,000 acres across ten counties in NC and TN. Join us in learning about these successful projects and find out what makes each of our six Focus Areas unique.

Our “For Love of Beer & Mountains” Partnership with Highland Brewing Company celebrates conservation of the stunning, unique landscape of the Southern Appalachians. Highland’s latest seasonal  “Southern Sixer IPA,” is named for the collection of 40+ peaks in NC and TN whose summits reach over 6,000 feet elevation. As part of our partnership we have launched a 2017 Southern Sixer Hiking Challenge – a challenge to summit at least six of these 6,000+ ft peaks in 2017. To help meet the challenge, we will lead guided hikes to several of these peaks throughout the year.

Registration for this hike is currently full. To be added to the wait list, or for questions, contact Haley Smith at or 828.253.0095 ext 205.

Not a current SAHC member? Click Here to pay for your outing or join SAHC. Members hike for free all year! If you have questions about your membership status, please contact Membership Director Cheryl Fowler at or 828.253.0095 ext 209.

Sorrells Meadow

SAHC staff Caitlin, William, and Michelle atop Sorrells MeadowOn December 19, we assisted the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) with the purchase of 82 acres at Sorrells Meadow, to be added to the Cold Mountain Game Lands in Haywood County. With a remarkable mix of high elevation open meadow, forest communities, and pristine water sources, the property provides excellent wildlife habitat as well as opportunities for public recreation. It adjoins existing Cold Mountain Game Lands to the north and the Shining Rock Wilderness of Pisgah National Forest at its southern tip, within a quarter mile of the Art Loeb National Recreational Trail.

“Sorrells Meadow will be a crown jewel for the Cold Mountain Game Lands,” said Farmland Program Director William Hamilton. “The open meadow atop this 82-acre addition to the public game lands is one-of-a-kind in this area. If it had been developed, you would have been looking down on houses or condos from popular public trails. Now, that won’t happen.” Read more

Cold Mountain Game Lands Assist

Staff on SiteWe assisted the NC Wildlife Resources Commission in purchasing a 64-acre tract adjoining the Cold Mountain Game Lands near Lake Logan.

The forested tract, formerly owned by the Caldwell family, adjoins the Cold Mountain Game Lands and Significant Natural Heritage Areas, ranging in elevation from 3,400 – 4,000 feet.

It was purchased by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NC WRC) for addition to the Cold Mountain Game Lands.  Ownership by the state agency will help reduce land fragmentation and ensure that this area is protected and properly managed. Read more


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