Get ready to explore diverse outdoor adventures including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and two national forests. From mild to wild, these secluded natural settings offer something for everyone.
Imagine paddle boarding or kayaking on nearby Lake Santeetlah. Take an afternoon hike on one of the many nearby forest trails and see the giant poplars in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Escape to one of our secluded mountain streams and try the art of fly fishing. A number of waterfalls are just a short drive away.
The area is home to some of the most scenic paved and unpaved roadways in the country. Challenge yourself to the thrills driving the Tail of The Dragon with 318 curves in 11 miles. Tour the Cherohala Skyway, which begins just 300 feet from the entrance to the Lodge and climbs to over 5000 feet.
Climb aboard a raft and shoot the rapids of the roaring Cheoah River. Explore four pristine mountain lakes formed by four dams, including Fontana Dam, the highest dam east of the Rocky Mountains.
See our Event Calendar where you’ll find an abundance of nature experiences that originate right here at Snowbird Mountain Lodge.
Your stay at Snowbird Lodge includes complimentary use of our on-site tennis courts and equipment and state of the art “Outdoor Fleet”, which includes:
• Lake Kayaks
• Stand-up Paddleboards
• Mountain Bikes
• Fly Rods and gear
Hiking with Joel and Kathy Zachry
Hiking with Scott Dean - April 14-20
Scott joins the Snowbird family once again for wildlife and wildflower walks in the areas surrounding the Lodge.
Scott was born and raised in the mountains of southern Appalachia, specifically the coalfields of West Virginia and southwestern Virginia.
Western North Carolina has been his home since 1992. After retiring from the military, he attended UNC-Asheville, earning a degree in biology, with a focus on the flora, fauna and geology of the southern Appalachians.
He was a walk leader and featured speaker for the UNC-Asheville Wildflower Pilgrimage from 1995 until 2015. Scott has led wildlife and wildflower walks at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, where he worked for a year building the cougar and bobcat habitats, and has served as First Vice President of the Friends of the Nature Center as well as serving on the Town of Weaverville Tree Board. He developed curricula, and teaches field classes for the Blue Ridge Naturalist program now offered at the N. C. Arboretum.
With his photography he was a featured speaker at the Great Smoky Mountains Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in 2011.
He lives in the Hazelwood district of Waynesville, NC and in Balsam, NC with his wife Laurey-Faye, Loretta, the new wonder dog, and Zeb, the 2nd wonder dog. When not leading natural history programs in the region, he enjoys gardening, hiking, backpacking, and playing around with various stringed, wind, and percussion instruments.
Visit Scott at Western North Carolina, Naturally.
Event photo: Sue Wasserman
#SMLOutdoors... See MoreSee Less
Birding with Emilie Travis- April 21- 27
Event photo: Venture Birding, Skyland, NC
Emilie was born and raised in central NJ having always enjoyed watching birds but didn't discover the hobby of birding until she attended University of Vermont for a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Forestry. Emilie was first "taken by" birds when a Double-Crested Cormorant fought back against being fit for a radio transmitter and "kissed" her lips. After graduating, Emilie birded her way between amphibian breeding grounds, acquiring some birding experience with several western species throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Emilie has assisted on bird banding projects in the northeast and midwest, gaining a tremendous amount of experience handling and identifying neotropical migrants. She acquired her Master's degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying the impact of communication towers to migratory birds. Emilie has also assisted on a variety of other wildlife research projects over the past 12 years so if bird activity gets slow, she is guaranteed to be distracted by a salamander, trying to identify a tree, or looking under a rock. She currently resides in West Asheville, and when not hiking/birding/salamandering/frogging or practicing yoga, you can find Emilie outfitting folks for their adventures at REI. #SMLOutdoors... See MoreSee Less
Birding with Simon Thompson- April 28- May 4
Nationally recognized ornithologist Simon Thompson joins us during the spring migration to help us locate and identify the birds that surround the Lodge. Simon has led trips throughout the world for birders and naturalists, and is very active in conservation and birding organizations in Western North Carolina.
Simon Thompson owns and operates his own bird watching and natural history tour company, Ventures, Inc., based in Asheville, NC. The company leads small groups of naturalists and birders both within North America and to many locations throughout the world.
In western North Carolina, he is also the ornithologist at Chimney Rock Park and is active with both the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society and the Henderson County Bird Club. Since moving permanently to the US in 1987, Simon has been the ornithologist and nature director at the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) in Tryon, NC. He has been active in various conservations activities, is a member of the American Birding Association and the Carolina Bird Club, and plans many bird watching talks and programs throughout western NC.
Simon and his partner, Chris, own the Asheville, NC Wild Birds Unlimited Store. As well as selling a great line of top quality bird seed and feeders, they also stock an excellent selection of bird houses, books, binoculars and a unique line of North Carolina nature gifts. #SMLOutdoors... See MoreSee Less
Nature Walks with Nancy and John Rennie- May 7-11
(event photo by guest Vikki Hall)
Nancy and John Rennie return this spring and fall for another season of leading hikes and presenting evening programs. Longtime Snowbird guests, they bring a professional interest in nature and much experience in hiking. Nancy studied botany and horticulture at the University of Tennessee before starting her own business, Natural Designs, a native-plant based landscape design company. She has been a leader with the Gatlinburg Wildflower Pilgrimage for over 35 years and has extensive knowledge of the local flora. John is retired from the University of Tennessee where he taught forestry for more than 30 years. They particularly enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of nature on hikes to many locations near Snowbird. Their evening slide presentations include programs on their travels in the US and abroad, and on various aspects of nature in the southern Appalachians. Please join us for this delightful week of hiking and exploring nature at Snowbird. #SMLOutdoors... See MoreSee Less
Nature Walks with Leon Bates- May 19-25
A resident of the Southern Appalachians, Leon Bates is a retired forester/botanist with forty years experience in natural resources management and urban forestry/horticulture. He has been leading native plant walks for local and state wildflower groups since the 1970’s, including sixteen years with the Smoky Mountain Wildflower Pilgrimage.
A descendant of pioneer mountaineer ancestors, he walks and talks about his roots and the wonderful world of the Smoky Mountains. During his walks, guests are encouraged to actively participate in exploration of nature’s diverse plants and animals and develop a sense of their functional role in enhancing biodiversity. #SMLOutdoors
Night Walking and Synchronous Fireflies with Wanda DeWaard
Come to the mountains and join outdoor educator Wanda DeWaard. She will show you around our amazing forest trails at night! Learn to be more comfortable in the forest after dark by using your senses to move safely and with awareness. These walks will begin in the evening just before dark and will discuss bioluminescence and the natural history of synchronous fireflies as the hikes lead to an area suitable for viewing these amazing creatures!
Wanda DeWaard is an outdoor educator who has shared Earth Kinship and environmental awareness with people of all ages and a wide variety of backgrounds in community groups, schools, colleges, camps, environmental centers and teacher conferences since 1974. She holds a Masters degree in Recreation and Environmental Education and has directed youth and family programs all over the United States as well as in Canada and Germany. Currently, Wanda works as an outdoor program consultant and freelance outdoor educator in the Great Smoky Mountains area. Anything and everything in the natural world brings out her enthusiasm and contagious sense of fun. #SMLOutdoors... See MoreSee Less
Photography with Mark Dauber- August 6-9
I have a great camera, have taken thousands of pictures and still can’t seem to capture the images I see. If this sounds familiar, then perhaps you should join us for this fabulous workshop. Mark Dauber has had numerous exhibits throughout the US and has led workshops across the globe. He is renowned for his easy ability to communicate and coach a wide variety of students, from beginners to professionals. Mark can show you how to capture the images you see and give you the tools necessary to shoot the images you’ve always wanted. Mark Dauber is a fine art photographer born in Birmingham, Alabama. He has had numerous exhibits throughout the United States, and his work is included in various private and institutional collections. Mark has led his own workshops in various international locations, including Guatemala. In 1991, he produced the architectural photography for the highly praised exhibit and catalogue, “Palladio In Alabama”. Mark’s work is primarily influenced by his friend and teacher, Paul Caponigro, universally regarded as one of the great maters of fine art photography. Mark has served as a teaching assistant to Mr. Caponigro both in Ireland and in Maine in the acclaimed Maine Photographic Workshops, and now is teaching workshops at The Dauber Gallery. #SMLOutdoors #SMLArt... See MoreSee Less
Salamanders with Emilie Travis- August 20-24
Nature Walks with Nancy and John Rennie- September 17-21
Nancy and John Rennie return this spring and fall for another season of leading hikes. Longtime Snowbird guests, they bring a professional interest in nature and much experience in hiking. Nancy studied botany and horticulture at the University of Tennessee before starting her own business, Natural Designs, a native-plant based landscape design company. She has been a leader with the Gatlinburg Wildflower Pilgrimage since the late 1960's and has extensive knowledge of the local flora. John is retired from the University of Tennessee where he taught forestry for more than 30 years. They particularly enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of nature on hikes to many locations near Snowbird. Their evening slide presentations include programs on their travels in the US and abroad, and on various aspects of nature in the southern Appalachians. Please join us for this delightful week of hiking and exploring nature at Snowbird. #SMLOutdoors... See MoreSee Less
Birding with Aaron Steed - September 22-28
Aaron Steed has been interested in birds and natural history his entire life. Originally from Wilmington, NC, Aaron received his B.S. in General Biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2010. He has been birding and hiking all over the southeastern US as well as New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. He has worked with Audubon NC, searching for Piping Plover nesting sites, and with Texas A&M mapping the territories of Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos on Fort Hood in central Texas. He has also spent several seasons with Southern Appalachian Raptor Research (SARR), learning the art of banding songbirds and migratory hawk-counting at Big Bald Banding Station in Mars Hill, NC. Though he loves traveling and birding new places, he'll always be drawn back to the Asheville area by the splendid beauty and biodiversity of the Southern Appalachians. #SMLOutdoors
Hiking with Kathy and Joel Zachry - November 3-8
The Zachrys continue to entertain and enlighten Snowbird’s guests on informative and enjoyable hikes in our area. Having completed the 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 2005, Joel and Kathy return eager to share their experiences by leading investigative walks and narrative hikes through local mountain scenery. Joel is a retired college biology professor and Kathy is a retired medical company executive who brings to Snowbird more than 50 years of collective outdoor experience.
Joel and Kathy are program managers and the longest-serving naturalist couple for the award-winning Smoky Mountain Field School. They also lead backcountry trips to Alaska through their Great Outdoors! Adventure Travel company. The Zachrys are also the authors of Bears We’ve Met, short stories of close encounters, available at the Lodge gift shop. #SMLOutdoors