News & Events: Hikes And Outings

Come outside with CMLC on July 15 for a hike and adventure at Fryingpan Mountain! This hike will offer breathtaking views of much of the land CMLC protects in Henderson and Transylvania counties. 

The Fryingpan Mountain lookout tower is one of the tallest in western North Carolina, standing 70 feet above the summit. It was constructed in 1941 by the US Forest Service. This lookout tower was actively staffed for fire detection until the early 1990s when its use was decommissioned by the US Forest Service.

From the top of the lookout tower, view expanses of beautiful, undeveloped natural landscape. To view lands that CMLC has protected, look east and southeast. On the horizons and successive ridges below, many CMLC conservation projects are visible on a clear day including (from left to right) Little Pisgah Mountain (Florence Nature Preserve), Bearwallow Mountain, Shumont Mountain (Weed Patch Mountain & Chimney Rock State Park), Sugarloaf Mountain (Chimney Rock State Park), Queen Creek Mountain (Deerfields), Sharpy Mountain (Mountain Meadows at Turkeypen), and Rich Mountain (Camp High Rocks). More CMLC conserved land is visible farther below in the French Broad River valley as well as DuPont State Recreational Forest.

This hike is 1.4 miles round-trip and a total elevation gain of 400 feet. The hike is considered moderate difficulty and starts just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

This hike is FREE and open to the public! There is no cap to registration. However, RSVP is required! You may CLICK HERE to access the hike registration form. 

CMLC Hike to Bursted Rock in Headwaters State Forest

Join us on Tuesday, June 20th, for a group hike to Bursted Rock, a scenic viewpoint on the Blue Ridge Escarpment.  

Protecting the headwaters of the East Fork of the French Broad River was initiated by CMLC and its landowner, former Congressman Charles Taylor, in 2009. The undeveloped property—the largest remaining contiguous private tract in western NC—is teeming with waterfalls, 25 miles of trout streams, mountain bogs hosting rare species, and more than nine miles of the venerable Foothills Trail.

Acquisition of phases of this land by CMLC and its partners the NC Forest Service and The Conservation Fund have led to the creation of Headwaters State Forest, NC’s newest state forest. The new Forest now consists of about 6,000 acres of publicly-owned and protected land. Partners are striving to add 2,000 more acres to complete the project in the coming years.

We will be hiking along the Foothills Trail from Gum Gap to Bursted Rock and back. The total hiking distance is 5.2 miles (round-trip). The total elevation gain is 1,200 feet. This is a strenuous hike! 

The Headwaters State Forest Hike is also a part of Hiking Challenge 4, making this a wonderful opportunity to cross off one of the hikes on your  Challenge. 

This hike is FREE and open to the public! There is no cap to registration. However, RSVP is required! You may CLICK HERE to access the hike registration form. 

Join CMLC (CMLC) on Saturday, May 20th, 2017, for a guided hike through the scenic Johnson Branch CMLC conservation easement in Transylvania County. This hike has been one of CMLC's most popular hikes from previous years, featuring a picturesque 68-acre property conserved by the Jones family through CMLC in 2009.

The hike will be led by the landowners David Jones, who will tour hikers on his CMLC-protected property as well as tell the story of the land and the close connection that he shares with it. This property is not otherwise open to the public for hiking.

Hikers will enjoy a short but strenuous 3.3-mile hike that includes six stunning waterfalls waterfalls, a beautiful rich cove forest, and a scenic view high above the French Broad River valley. The total elevation gain for this hike is 815 feet.  

This hike is limited to 25 participants and is open to CMLC members only

RSVP is required. To sign up: CLICK HERE.  

Once you have successfully registered for the hike you will receive an email with additional details, including meeting time and place, 2 days before the hike. 

Group Ride with CMLC and our Friends at MountainTrue

Have you thought about trying out a new outdoor sport? Have you ever wondered what it is like to soar through the forest on two wheels? Have you been dying to try mountain biking but been too nervous to go it alone? If you answered yes to any of these questions we have an exciting opportunity for you! Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and MountainTrue on Saturday, May 13, 2017,  for a group ride experience at DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Biking enthusiasts from CMLC and MountainTrue are coming together to co-lead the perfect beginner biking experience! This ride is free, family friendly and a great chance for new mountain bikers to try out the sport in a supportive group environment. In addition to biking, you will also have the opportunity to learn about how CMLC and MountainTrue work together to help protect DuPont.

Our ride will start with a gradual climb through mixed hardwood and pine forests following single track trail as well as, logging and gravel roads for a total elevation gain of 787 feet. During our climb, we will stop for water and take breaks to learn about the park and the contributions made by both CMLC and MountainTrue.We will finish out our adventure with a ride down Ridgeline trail, one of the most fun and famous trails in DuPont State Forest. The ride is 5.0 miles round trip is no-drop and features non-technical trails. 

This group ride is currently capped at 40 people so RSVP today! Registration is required to ride. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Once you have successfully registered you will receive an email with additional details 2-3 days before the event. 


Bearwallow Sunset & Full Moon Hike

Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy Monday, May 8, 2017, for full moon celebration! We are going to be hiking to the summit of Bearwallow Mountian for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the sunset and moon rise! This hike is a great opportunity for photography and it is family friendly!

Bearwallow Mountain is truly one of CMLC's gems. It was originally conserved in 2009 with additions being mad in 2012 and 2016. At 4,232 ft. above sea level, Bearwallow Mountain stands as the highest peak in the widely-visible Bearwallow Highlands range. Straddling the Eastern Continental Divide, it makes up part of the Blue Ridge Escarpment as well as the western rim of the Hickory Nut Gorge. Crowned with a grassy meadow at its summit, the mountain features a nearly 360-degree view that encompasses some of the southern Appalachians highest peaks including Mt. Mitchell in the Black Mountains and Mt. Pisgah in the Great Balsams range.

The hike will begin before sunset so we will arrive at the summit in time to watch the full moon rise. Total hiking distance is 2.0 miles. This hike is rated moderate with a total elevation gain of 537 feet. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Please be aware that we will be hiking in the dark! Therefore, sturdy closed-toe shoes are a requirement, and additional equipment including a headlamp and extra layers are highly encouraged.

This hike has no cap but RSVP is required. To sign up CLICK HERE.

Once you have successfully registered for the hike you will receive an email with additional details 2-3 days before the hike.

Little Bearwallow Falls & Wildcat Rock

Come hike with CMLC on our most recently completed trail in the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge on Saturday, April 29, 2017. This hike is hardcore so we cannot promise a leisurely walk but we can promise wildflowers, a 100-foot waterfall, a stunning view from a scenic rock perch, and an awesome workout! 

Together we will ascend the sustainably-designed and -constructed Little Bearwallow Trail to Little Bearwallow Falls before climbing to the top of breathtaking Wildcat Rock. En route, this hike traverses CMLC-conserved land that was described by a biologist as the most abundant and diverse wildflower tract in Henderson County.

This hike also offers an opportunity to learn about all that went in to protecting this land and making this new trail over the last three years--from conservation easements and land acquisition to digging tread and moving boulders.

This hike is 3-mile round trip; however, it is extremely strenuous--gaining nearly 1,200 feet in only a mile and a half features technical challenges. The trail utilizes more than 300 log-and-rock stairs to reach its exciting destinations. We will encourage you every step of the way, but the challenges this hike present should not be taken lightly. We encourage those that join us on this hike to be in excellent physical condition.

There is currently no cap for this hike, but carpooling is highly encouraged due to limited parking.

This hike is free and open to the but RSVP is REQUIRED! To sign up CLICK HERE.

Once you have successfully registered for this hike you will receive additional details 2-3 days before the hike.

Photos provided by Keith Viglietta

Wildflower Hike

CMLC is partnering with Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) to celebrate Earth Day by spending some time out of the office and in nature! We will be hiking at the Walnut Creek Preserve with long time friend and volunteer Keith, who so graciously helped us foster this joint hike with PAC! Join us on Friday, April 21, 2017, at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center for a family friendly hike in search of spring wildflowers!

This hike is free and open to the public, but please note the Walnut Creek Preserve is a private land and is only accessible by invitation. Therefore, RSVP is required.

To sign up CLICK HERE.

Once you have successfully registered for this hike you will receive additional details 2-3 days before the hike.

Cookies for lunch? Yes, please! 

Join CMLC for holiday cookies and warm drinks at The Park at Flat Rock on Thursday, December 15th at 12:00pm. Take a stroll around the park with us and learn how The Park was transformed from a golf course into the beautiful community centerpiece it is today. Ginger Brown from the Village of Flat Rock and staff from AmeriCorps Project Conserve and CMLC, will be joining the walk to give insider perspectives on how their partnerships and hard work--and support from the community-- have made this project possible. Plus, find out what is in store for the future! This one-hour event is family-friendly and a great way to get outside with CMLC during your lunch break. Come on out and join us for a fun holiday walk! 

This adventure is open to both members and non-members. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today! To sign up, CLICK HERE

This CMLC Adventure has been postponed due to poor air quality and visibility; it will be rescheduled for Spring 2017!

Come out and join CMLC for a hike and adventure at Fryingpan Mountain! This hike, led CMLC's Trails & Recreational Lands Coordinator and author of the book Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers, Peter Barr, will offer breathtaking views much of the land CMLC protects in Henderson and Transylvania counties. Our adventure will lead us to a historic and scenic fire lookout tower used by the US Forest Service, where we will have the opportunity to climb partially up the tower for the spectacular view. 

This hike is a part of CMLC's new Adventure Program. Come hike with us and learn more about CMLC's new Adventures and the other outdoor recreation opportunities we help make possible! 

The hike will take place on Saturday, November 20th at noon. 

If you would like to learn more about this trail visit our Hiking Challenge page by clicking here.

This adventure is open to both members and non-members. Space is limited; sign up today to reserve your spot. Once you register you will receive an email with more details about the hike. 

This hike is now full! Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you the next time we host a Headwaters State Forest Tour!

Join CMLC for a limited opportunity to explore the highlights of the new Headwaters State Forest on Wednesday, August 17, at 10:00AM. This tour is composed of four short hikes (cumulative distance totaling 3.0 miles) to Gravely Mill Falls, Reece Place Falls, East Fork Falls, and Sassafras Mountain**. Several of these locations are not yet accessible to the public. Participants will caravan by vehicle to several locations where they will take a short hike to reach each point of interest in the recently conserved East Fork Headwaters tract. 

Because of the complexity of travel to numerous remote locations and limitation of parking, group size is limited to 15 participants. Because this event will likely reach capacity quickly, future tours will be scheduled to accommodate additional interest. Hiking boots are required; trekking poles recommended.

Due to the hazards associated with hiking near waterfalls, dogs and children are not able to be accommodated on this outing.

This tour is rated as moderate, the total hiking distance is 3 miles, and there is an overall elevation gain of 350 feet. The total time to hike is 2.5 hours with a total of 2.5 hours drive-time.

**trails to waterfalls are steep and slippery

A SHORT HISTORY LESSON: The East Fork Headwaters tract has been managed as a working forest since the early 1900's. In 1910, Joseph Silverstein purchased the land surrounding the headwaters of the East Fork of the French Broad River to supply several lumber companies and owned the land until his death in 1967. Following the death of Silverstein, Champion International Paper Company owned and managed the property until former NC Congressman Charles Taylor purchased the land in the mid-1980s and maintained ownership until 2009.

In the summer of 2009, Congressman Taylor contacted the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy with an interest in conserving the 8,000-acre tract. In 2010, the partner organizations, which included CMLC, The Conservation Fund, NC Forest Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service, began to generate public, legislative, and agency support to fund the acquisition of the East Fork Headwaters property. Ultimately, the NC Forest Service will own and manage the property and plans to establish the Headwaters State Forest. The forest will be used to demonstrate good forest stewardship principles that promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of forest resources. As of 2015, the NC State Forest Service now owns approximately 5,000 acres of the future Headwaters State Forest!

For more in-depth information about the history and the progress of the Headwaters State Forest, visit

Participants are required to be in good physical condition and capable to hike over uneven, forested terrain. Hikers should wear sturdy walking/hiking shoes (no flip-flops). Also, bring several layers of clothing in preparation for cold temperatures and pack plenty of water and snacks. Hikers who attend are required to participate in the entire event. 

This hike is now full! Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you the next time we host a Headwaters State Forest Tour!

This hike is for CMLC Members Only and has limited space. Please reserve your spot by using CMLC's Online Hike Sign-Up Form. Hike meeting locations and additional details will be sent out to participants via email 1-2 days prior to the hike. Reservations for a spot on this hike are first come, first serve:


CMLC's Online Outing Sign-Up Form

For questions, please contact Sarah Harden at Please allow one full business day for a response to both sign-ups and inquiries. 

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