All hikes this summer are subject to change based on evolving health guidance and weather. Please feel free to drop by the Nature Center during normal operating hours (Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–5:00 pm) to check on trail conditions or hike cancellations.

The Ranger staff will offer public hikes each Tuesday and Thursday during the summer conference season with two special full day Saturday hikes. Skill demonstrations will be held on Thursdays. All hikes are free and open to the public. You must be 13 or older to attend a hike without an adult guardian. Hikes will leave at 9:00 am—unless otherwise noted—from the Montreat Nature Center, located just below the Lake Susan spillway.

Half day hikes are designed to return in time for Clubs pickup at noon.
Full day hikes will return mid to late afternoon.

Before you hike

  • Wear sturdy, well-broken-in hiking shoes
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Pack water and snacks for all hikes and a lunch for longer hikes
  • Acquire a Montreat trail systems map online or at the Nature Center
  • Let someone who is not hiking with you know your hiking plan and follow it.

In case of emergency:

  • Emergency Services: 911
  • Montreat Nature Center: 828.699.9540

Tuesday, June 11

9:00 am, Half Day – Rattlesnake Rock (Big Piney Trail)
Moderate hike with short strenuous sections | moderate pace

1:00 pm, Half Day – Lookout Traverse Loop
Moderate hike with steep technical sections | moderate pace

Thursday, June 13

Full Day – Walker’s Knob
Moderate with short strenuous sections

We’ll ascend via the Graybeard Trail to Walker’s Knob which offers a superlative view of Montreat and Black Mountain. After lunch, we’ll return via the same route.

Tuesday, June 18

Full Day – Pinnacle
Moderate hike with some strenuous sections | 16.4 miles total | 3300’ gain

The second-longest hike of the summer takes us to Pinnacle Mountain, just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway near the entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park. We’ll take the Graybeard Trail to the foot of Graybeard Mountain, walk along the Mitchell Toll Road all the way to the Parkway, and then double back along the ridge line to Pinnacle. We’ll have a leisurely lunch at the top with plenty of time to take in the excellent view (and a nap), and then return via the Toll Road to Buck Gap, Lookout Trail and home. Be sure to bring rain gear and plenty of water.

Thursday, June 20

9:00 am, Half Day – Lookout Loop
Easy hike | Moderate pace

1:00 pm, Half Day – Lower Piney
Easy hike | Leisurely pace

Tuesday, June 25

9:00 am, Half Day – Sanctuary Loop
Easy hike | Leisurely pace

1:00 pm, Half Day – Rainbow Road
Easy hike | Moderate pace

Thursday, June 27

Full Day – East Ridge Ramble
Moderate hike with a few strenuous sections | 6 miles total | 1700’ gain

From the Nature Center we’ll ascend the Lookout Trail and then travel along the East Ridge all the way to Long Gap. In the process, we’ll cross Lookout, Boggs’ Bunion, Brushy, and Rocky Head. We will take the Trestle to Potts Cove gap, and then return to Montreat via the Graybeard Trail.

Tuesday, July 2

Full Day – Annual Perimeter Hike
Long and strenuous hike; some moderate sections | 16.0 miles total | expect to return after 5 PM

Bring plenty of water, snacks, lunch, and rain gear. Rangers will carry water filters but no water source is available on the first half of the hike.

A 4th of July week tradition. We’ll ascend Stomping Knob to the West Ridge, then up to Graybeard Mountain for lunch. Return along the East Ridge to Rainbow Mountain. A very challenging hike topping nearly every peak in the Montreat valley | this is a trip for strong hikers only. It often rains on this trip, be prepared.

Tuesday, July 9

Full Day – Rocky Knob
Moderate hike | 13.1 miles total | 2900 gain

Rocky Knob was purchased by the Montreat Cottagers Association to protect this precious resource from possible future development. It is a wild and remote destination, and this hike has always been a ranger favorite. We’ll ascend Graybeard Trail and then pop over to the Mitchell Toll Road. We’ll walk the Toll Road north to Rocky Knob, eat lunch at the knob, the ntake a long rest and enjoy the excellent views of the North Fork watershed before returning to Montreat.

Saturday, July 16

Full Day – Mount Mitchell
Moderate hike, but very long | 18 miles total | 4000’ gain

This is the longest day hike we offer during the season, and one not to be missed if you are up to the challenge! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN TRANSPORTATION BACK FROM MT. MITCHELL. If you do not have a ride, you may be left behind. This hike requires reservations! Please contact the Nature Center staff as soon as possible to add your name to the list. All hikers will be expected to contribute to the gas fund for our drivers!

Hike is subject to change based on weather.

Please talk to the Ranger staff or one of the Nature Center volunteers for more details about this tough but very rewarding hike. The uphill route will definitely add Mount Mitchell to your “South Beyond 6,000” list.

Tuesday, July 23

Full Day – Two Sisters and a View
Strenuous hike | 4.2 miles total | 2000’ gain

We will ascend Stomping Knob trail, stopping to see the old moonshine stills. Turning north on the West Ridge, we will proceed to the top of Big Piney. We will stop for lunch at the aptly named Rattlesnake Rock, then continue our descent to Montreat via the Big Piney Trail.

Tuesday, July 30

9:00 am, Half Day – Brushy Mountain
Moderate to strenuous hike | Fast pace

Thursday, August 1

Full Day – Pinnacle
Moderate with some strenuous sections | 16.4 miles total | 3300’ gain

The second-longest hike of the summer takes us to Pinnacle Mountain, just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway near the entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park. We’ll take the Graybeard Trail to the foot of Graybeard Mountain, walk along the Mitchell Toll Road all the way to the Parkway, and then double back along the ridge line to Pinnacle. We’ll have a leisurely lunch at the top with plenty of time to take in the excellent view (and a nap), and then return via the Toll Road to Buck Gap, Lookout Trail and home. Be sure to bring rain gear and plenty of water.