Join HRI for an educational hike to Dobson Knob in the Pisgah National Forest on Friday, September 16.

We will meet at 10 a.m. and expect to be done about 3 or 4 p.m. The hike is 3.2 miles (total) out and back hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail; be prepared for a 600-foot elevation gain on a rugged trail. The trail travels through the unique fire adapted vegetation and rocky terrain on Dobson Knob that has been formed by recent wildfires. You will see several Carolina hemlock bluffs, rock outcrops, and a beautiful view of the North Fork of the Catawba River valley.

We will start on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail off of US Forest Service Road 106 and climb to Dobson Knob and Bald Knob. Once on top of Dobson Knob and Bald Knob we will explore rock outcrops and Carolina hemlock bluffs that have been chemically treated by the USFS and have survived several intense wildfires through the years. Bring a hat and sunglasses because sections will be open with no canopy.

When we reach the Carolina hemlock bluffs, we will stop to talk about the importance of this special endemic species, the impact of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid that is threatening them, and the actions that are being taken in North Carolina to protect them. We will be joined by a botanist with the NC Natural Heritage Program who has been surveying Carolina hemlock populations. We will also demonstrate how we use CoreTect tablets to chemically treat these trees (which are due to be re-treated later this fall). We plan to eat lunch on top of Bald Knob at the end of the hike up, so in addition to bringing lunch and water, have a few snacks on hand for shorter stops on the way up.

The preferred travel route to the trailhead is from Kistler Memorial Highway (Old NC 105). From from Marion, take US 70 and head east to Nebo. At Nebo, take NC 126 across Lake James and continue eight miles. Turn left one NC 1238, Kistler Memorial Highway. It becomes is a gravel road and may be very rough in places. We will be parking behind a forest service gate, so advanced sign-up and arriving on time will be important to access the trailhead.

RSVP is required. Sign up ASAP (we may still have room) by emailing or calling 828-252-4783. More details will be provided upon registration. Call or email us at the above with any questions.

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.