Hemphill Bald Hike

Date:  Saturday, February 9th
Time:  10 am – 3 pm
Difficulty:  Strenuous (8 on a scale of 10) — 5 miles
Cost: Free but registration required

Join the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy on a hike to the breathtaking heights of Hemphill Bald in Cataloochee Ranch. Hemphill Bald, directly adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was the first tract of land to be conserved by SAHC in the Cataloochee area in 1993. Translated from Cherokee into English, the word “Cataloochee” means “wave upon wave.” From the summit hikers will indeed be able to see wave upon wave of Blue Ridge Mountains including other SAHC-conserved properties such as the 8,000 acre Waynesville Watershed (protected in 2005); the Plott Balsam conservation easement protecting the top of Plott Balsam Mountain (2003 and 2006); the Crawford Creek conservation easements at the base of Cold Mountain (2000); and the high ridgetop properties of one of SAHC’s primary farmland focus areas: Sandy Mush, Buncombe County.

Registration has filled for this hike, if you’d like to be on the wait list email

SAHC Outreach AmeriCorps Leads OLLI Hiking Course

As a part of our ongoing efforts to connect people with the land we have protected, we are constantly working to expand SAHC’s partner organizations to educate new groups by bringing them to our Community Farm or other properties that we have protected. This spring, SAHC’s AmeriCorps Outreach Member, Haley Smith, partnered up with UNC-Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program to lead one of several new hiking courses.

Read more

Smoky Mountains Conservation Focus Area Hike

On Saturday, March 25th, an awesome group of hikers gathered to explore our Smoky Mountains Conservation Focus Area with a hike to scenic Hemphill Bald at the top of Cataloochee Ranch, where SAHC placed our first conservation easement in 1993.

The hike began at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob, where we were joined by the ​Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s AmeriCorps Citizen Science Associate, who taught the group about the education and citizen science programs hosted ​by the Park at Purchase Knob. ​We learned about the many ways that they monitor acid deposition — one of which is by studying salamanders. Read more

Focus Area Feature Hike: Smoky Mountains

Location: Hemphill Bald at Cataloochee Ranch, adjoining Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Date: Saturday, March 25th

Start Time: 10 AM; Carpool info TBA

Difficulty: Strenuous (7-8)

Leader: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Outreach Member

Cost: FREE for all participants

Registration: Pre-registration is REQUIRED.

This hike will highlight our Smoky Mountains conservation focus area, where we work to expand the non-fragmented network of conservation land and create habitat corridors that link the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to other networks of protected land.

We’ll begin at Purchase Knob with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. This 6-mile out-and back hike will climb along the boundary of the National Park to Hemphill Bald at Cataloochee Ranch, where we hold a conservation easement. On a clear day at Hemphill Bald, you can see from the Balsams to the Black Mountains and on toward the Highlands of Roan. We’ll discuss our land protection efforts in this region and be joined by the Smokies’ AmeriCorps Citizen Science Associate, who will tell us about their work at Purchase Knob. You will also have the option after the hike to help gather salamander data from the Science Center’s research plots.

Presented as part of our Focus Area Feature Hike 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 geographic 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.

Questions about this hike? Contact Haley Smith at or 828.253.0095 ext 205.

Devil’s Britches “For Love of Beer and Mountains” Partnership Hike

hikingtime.jpgSAHC’s AmeriCorps PR & Outreach Member Anna Zanetti recaps a snowy “For Love of Beer & Mountains” partnership hike:

“Highland Brewing Company’s seasonal release of Devil’s Britches Red IPA kicked off the first “For Love of Beer & Mountains” partnership hike of 2014 at Cataloochee Ranch. Hikers trekked through deep snow to the top of Hemphill Bald (5,540 ft. elevation), where they leaned about SAHC’s first conservation easement as well as feral hog damage and the natural history of the area.

In late February the Southeast experienced a large snowstorm, accumulating 6 inches of snow in the Asheville area and more in higher elevations, but the Devil’s Britches hikers were undeterred. On the Sunday after the storm 17 hikers made their way out to tackle the mountain with SAHC and Highland Brewing. Read more


Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria