Celebrate OAKtober, a month of activities and events celebrating oaks and other native trees in our urban and community forests, with a hike along the trails of Montreat. Use the information linked below to take a self-guided hike that will highlight the important role of hemlocks and oaks in our mountain forests.
Choose one or both of these self-guided hikes that showcase some of the hemlock conservation work that has been done around Montreat.
A flat, easy, two-mile out-and-back hike starts in a grove of treated hemlocks along Flat Creek on the Gate Trail (download materials below). The trail mostly parallels the creek and is a prime example of the habitat that eastern hemlocks thrive in. The hike features a number of stops that describe eastern hemlock ecology and some of the conservation that has been done to protect the trees.
A strenuous six-mile loop hike option starts in a shady hemlock cove along Flat Creek, then climbs up Rainbow Road through rich cove habitat to an oak-pine-heath where Carolina hemlocks can be viewed (materials will be posted soon). The trail continues to roll from hardwood forest ecosystems to dry habitats where oaks co-dominate the sparse canopy alongside pines. The hike will illustrate eastern and Carolina hemlock ecology in these habitats as well as hemlock conservation efforts that have taken place along the trail. Hikers should be prepared for some mud and a significant amount of climbing on this trail.
See the OAKtober celebrations page on Facebook for a list of other events around Asheville and Buncombe County celebrating trees throughout the month of October.