Join us for the June Jamboree – Saturday June 9 — Our annual outing showcase in the Highlands of Roan!
We invite you to enjoy a day of free, guided outings in the iconic Roan landscape. Enjoy blooming rhododendron and gorgeous views as we celebrate conservation of these globally important ecosystems. We offer a variety of outings for different age, interest, and ability levels — from challenging treks to relaxing yoga or a simple roll n’ stroll. See full descriptions below. These guided outings are all free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.
After your adventure on your Jamboree outing be sure to stop by our afternoon social where friends and family can gather and share hike experiences while learning about SAHC’s recent accomplishments, including land protection and stewardship news. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided.
This years social will be at our Big Rock Creek Preserve. The Big Rock Creek property, formerly the home of Trailridge summer camp, contains 127 acres of unique high elevation habitat and streams. There will be a short, newly constructed trail that will be ready for walking – this trail was possible thanks to SAHC volunteers, the National Parks Conservation Association and Nature Valley!
*Hike Key Note: Hikes are rated 1-10 (greater than 10 for extremely difficult hikes). A rating of 5 is considered moderate, 10 difficult, and 1 extremely easy. We come up with this number by putting the hike elevation change and mileage into this formula: (0.002 x elevation gain (ft.)) + Round trip distance (miles) = Difficulty rating (1-10).
What to Bring: Water bottle, sturdy footwear, gear/clothing relevant for your specific outing, and a bag to carry personal items. Weather in the Roan can change quickly, so you may want to bring sunscreen, a rain jacket, and multiple layers. Most hikes will have an opportunity to stop for lunch along the way — please plan to bring your own lunch.
#1 Hike and Yoga
Location: Dr. William Davenport Preserve, Highlands of Roan
Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm
Leader: Lauren McTigue | Difficulty: Easy (2/10)*
Join us for a peaceful yoga session in the Highlands of Roan, surrounded by scenic views protected by SAHC. The session will be on the Dr. William A. Davenport Tract, which was acquired by SAHC in 2014. This property had been an SAHC top priority for 45 years before it was conserved! The yoga session will be led by SAHC’s Connecting People with Lands Associate, Lauren McTigue. Lauren has a 500 hour yoga certification in Anusara and Natural Movement Yoga. Students of all levels will enjoy a soothing, relaxing, and restorative experience.
#2 Roll and Stroll at the Rhododendron Garden
Location: Rhododendron Gardens, Highlands of Roan
Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm
The Rhododendron Gardens on top of the Roan will be blazing with color this time of year. Participants will stroll approx. 1 mile across gentle terrain with stunning views of the Roan landscape. On this leisurely walk, participants will learn about a number of SAHC’s land protection projects that can be viewed from the gardens. This family-friendly offering is designed to provide people of all abilities with an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the properties that SAHC has diligently worked to protect over the last four decades. This trail is paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible.
#3 Challenge Hike: Shell Creek – Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area
Location: Shell Creek Community Start Time: 9 am | Est. End Time: 3 pm
This challenge hike will begin on the new 324-acre Hump Mountain tract that SAHC protected in May of 2017! This piece of land was an SAHC priority for over 40 years. From Shell Creek you will hike up to Bradley Gap and then traverse along the Appalachian Trail over Little Hump Mountain into Yellow Mountain Gap and down into SAHC’s Hampton Creek Cove Property! The hike will be about 7 miles and will traverse beautiful grassy balds! Hiking along the balds, there is the chance for views in all directions of Yellow Mountain and Grassy Ridge to the west and Grandfather and Linville Gorge to the East. Along the route there could be Gray’s lilies in full bloom, and migratory birds flitting around the edges of the balds.
#4 AT: Iron Mountain Gap – Big Rock Creek
Location: Iron Mountain Gap
Start Time: 9 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm
Leader: Michelle Durr, Roan Outreach Americorps Member | Difficulty: Strenuous (9-10) *
This eight mile challenge hike begins on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and ends in North Carolina. The forested hike will start at Iron Mountain Gap and end right at the June Jamboree Party on the Big Rock Creek Preserve. The eight mile route takes you through an old apple orchard and has views of Pinnacle Mountain and Unaka Mountain. The hike will be uphill with a few steep sections until the descent into Big Rock Creek. There is the chance for beautiful summer flowers!
#5 Plant Inventory Walk
Location: Little Cove Creek near Roan Mountain State Park
Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm
Leader: Susan Fruchey| Difficulty: Moderate (3-4) *
Join Susan Fruchey, a US Forest Service Botanist, as she leads participants on a plant inventory of SAHC’s Little Cove Creek Preserve in the Highlands of Roan. The hike will be about two miles, and Susan will be able to identify the flora that makes this property their home. The hike will also pass a waterfall and many beautiful natural features. The inventory can tell us if there are any rare species and if they are being threatened by invasives, recreational impacts, or climate change. Knowing that about the populations in an area is important for protecting species and maintaining a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem. Plan on a leisurely, educational stroll!
#6 Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge
Location: Carvers Gap
Start Time: 10 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm
Leader: Gary Kauffman | Difficulty: Strenuous (7-8) *
This classic and rewarding hike is full of adventure atop the highest elevation balds in the Highlands of Roan, widely considered among the most spectacular scenery along the Appalachian Trail. Grassy Ridge is the highest point near the AT, reaching a stunning 6,189 feet in elevation. Enjoy a natural, unobstructed 360-degree view and so much more — blooming rhododendron, flame azalea, patches of spruce fir forest and rare plants such as Gray’s lily and Roan Mountain bluets.
Along the way, Gary Kauffman, a US Forest Service Botanist, will discuss the significance of the balds and the best practices for managing this pristine habitat. For those hikers wishing for an easier hike, there is the option of hiking out to Round Bald or Jane Bald, to enjoy the flowers and expansive views, instead of going all the way to Grassy Ridge. The hike is about 5 miles round trip!