Friends of the Smokies leads Hyatt Ridge public hike

Here’s the press release from Friends of the Smokies:

Waynesville, N.C. – Come out and join Friends of the Smokies on a hike along the Hyatt Ridge Trail, which begins off of Straight Fork Road near Cherokee, a lesser-known entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). This hike celebrates Friends of the Smokies’ support for the work of Discovering Life in America (DLIA) another of GSMNP’s partners.

On Tuesday, April 16 Friend of the Smokies, hiking enthusiast and author of two regional hiking guides Danny Bernstein will lead this approximately 9.5-mile hike. The hike is moderately strenuous in difficulty and has a total elevation gain of 2,000 ft. with 1500 ft. in the first 2 miles taken at a moderate pace.

Everything about this hike is a discovery, from the trailhead off the beaten path to the views still un-obscured by new leaves. Along the ridge top hikers will discover a mature hardwood forest and have lunch in a peaceful glade encompassing a backcountry campground. As spring has sprung at lower elevations Hyatt Ridge hikers may get to experience the diversity of early spring to late winter flowers blooming as they climb to the ridge.

DLIA is a non-profit park partner organization managing the Park’s All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, a massive and unique scientific project seeking to discover and document every living species in GSMNP, one of the most biologically diverse parks in the country.

Through the help of individuals, foundations, and businesses, funding from Friends of the Smokies supports programs in GSMNP, including the scores of scientists involved in DLIA research.

Participants will gather for the all day excursion in Asheville at 8:30 a.m., Maggie Valley at 9:00 a.m., or Cherokee at 9:30 a.m. In support of the Smokies Trails Forever program, a donation of $10 for current members and $35 for non-members is requested. Non-members receive a complimentary membership to Friends of the Smokies. Members who bring a friend hike for free.

To register for this hike, the two-day overnight Fontana Experience in June, or any Classic Hike, contact Friends of the Smokies at or 828-452-0720. For more information and a complete list of the Classic Hikes held monthly on the third Tuesday, visit Information about support for trail improvements in GSMNP may be found at


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