Witness a trail-building milestone
After 10 years of work, the Carolina Mountain Club will celebrate the grand opening of its 20-mile section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail with official ceremonies, trail maintenance and — what else? — a pair of hikes. All activities will begin at Waterrock Knob, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway 10 miles from Maggie Valley.
• At 1 p.m., a dedication ceremony involving representatives from CMC and North Carolina State Parks will officially open the new trail section.
The new section bridges much of a 30-mile gap in the MST’s route through Western North Carolina which, once completed, will create a 300-mile continuous section of trail from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Stone Mountain State Park. The National Park Service is working to complete the final 7-mile section from the start of the Parkway.
The MST is a 1,150-mile route stretching from mountains to coast in North Carolina, with 600 of those miles currently existing as built trail. In 2002, CMC volunteered to build the section now being opened and began work in 2006 — the undertaking involved nearly 250 workdays with 25,000 volunteer hours worked by 100 different people over 10 years.
Hike hard for a vibrant view
A strenuous 8-mile hike will pay off with a five-star view of Shooting Creek on a National Trails Day outing led by the Nantahala Hiking Club.
The route will follow the Appalachian Trail from Deep Gap to Raven Rock Overlook, covering 1,100 feet of elevation gain.
A carpool will leave from Franklin at 8:30 a.m. Visitors are welcome, but no dogs. RSVP to Bill and Sharon Van Horn, 828.369.1983.
A 5-mile hike will explore Panthertown Valley beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The hike aims to be fun and casual, exploring the wonders of Panthertown Valley and guided by Friends of Panthertown volunteers.
Work on the A.T.
Give the Appalachian Trail’s path through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a leg up with the annual Appalachian Trail Work Day.
Volunteers will spend the day improving wear and tear on the A.T., receiving a T-shirt and ending the day with a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms.
Organized by Friends of the Smokies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club and the Smokies park.