Join the Hemlock Restoration Initiative for an educational hike at 10 a.m. on June 29 at one of the most iconic areas in Western North Carolina: Linville Gorge. The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area is known far and wide for its steep walls that fall more than 2,000 feet downward to the Linville River. HRI has been lucky enough to work in this beautiful area and we’d like to share that piece of the Gorge with you.

Our 5.5 mile hike will lead to a stand of hemlocks previously treated by HRI that border the Linville River. Along the way, there are several spots that allow for access to the river as it winds its way toward Lake James. This is a great chance to check out Linville Gorge via trails that are less strenuous than most that climb and descend through the wilderness area — our planned route features less than 700 feet of elevation gain — and you’ll get to see many beautiful hemlocks along the way.

We will start out the hike at the Fonta Flora State Trail Wolf Pit Access parking area and use a combination of trails and fire roads to complete the loop. Hikers can expect a few steep sections and some areas may be quite sunny. There are also two small stream crossings, but they are fairly easy to navigate. If it’s a warm day, hikers will be able to cool off by the Linville River as we relax and break for lunch.

Linville Gorge is about 5 miles north of Nebo, NC, near Lake James.

RSVP is required. Please register by June 27 by emailing or calling 828-252-4783. Be sure to bring water, a lunch, and any snacks you may want. A sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots is recommended. More details will be provided upon registration.

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.