Come explore this quiet bit of the Pisgah National Forest that comprises the watershed at the head of Foster Creek, a tributary of Mills River. The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is joining with the Mills River Partnership to lead this hike that will feature an area where the hemlocks in the watershed have been greatly impacted by the hemlock woolly adelgid. HRI staff will teach about the importance of hemlocks-including the ways they contribute to stream health, the threat of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, and what HRI and others are doing to restore hemlocks in Western North Carolina. Mills River Partnership staff will discuss how impacts to water quality in tributary streams affect the health of Mills River, an important river for wildlife, recreation, and drinking water in the region.

Along the way we will see some great plant diversity including an area with beautiful tulip poplars that create a shady, open understory full of ferns, herbs, carpets of club moss, and scattered mountain laurel.

The hike is about 2.25 miles with a difficulty just above easy, not quite moderate. The trail has some gentle ups and downs along the way, but is overall very comfortable. There are a couple small stream crossing and some poison ivy along parts of the trail so sturdy shoes and long pants are strongly encouraged.

Because of limited parking at the trailhead, we will meet at the Ingles in Mills River at 9:45 a.m. before carpooling to the trailhead a 10-minute drive away. We will stop for lunch on the trail and plan to be back at the meeting spot by 2 p.m.

We will probably need one or two people to help drive as part of the carpool.

Pre-registration is required. Please sign up on this Google Form with your contact information. Please also indicate whether you would be willing to drive as part of the carpool and how many passengers you can take in your vehicle. Contact Thom Green at or 828-252-4783 with any questions.

Note: We are holding Saturday, June 24 as a backup date.

You can learn more about Mills River Partnership on their website:

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is grateful to be able to offer public events in this difficult time. Despite the lifting of restrictions, we acknowledge the risk that COVID-19 continues to pose to members of our community. To maintain the safety of our event participants and staff, we are requiring that all participants follow HRI’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. Anyone not following the guidelines on the day of the event will be asked to leave. Despite taking precautions, we cannot eliminate all risk of exposure and participants will be accepting some level of risk by choosing to attend. Please review the COVID-19 safety guidelines on our website to ensure that you are comfortable following these guidelines. Note: these guidelines may adjust depending on changing guidance from health authorities.