Join WNCA and Ron Lance for a FREE Winter Plant Identification Hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Bald Mountain!

Ron Lance is a native plant specialist who has more than 30 years of experience growing, studying and teaching about native plants. Ron has written numerous tree & shrub guides and keys for Southeastern plants, including The Woody Plants of the Blue Ridge, The Surveyor’s Guide to the Trees of North Carolina, his self-published Hawthorns of the Southeastern United States; Hawthorns and Medlars, co-authored with James B. Phillips, and his newest release, Woody Plants of the Southeastern US – A Winter Guide, a college-level reference book with illustrations and keys for winter plant identification (University of GA Press).




DSCF2699We will begin our hike at the north end of the Pisgah Inn’s parking lot. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail (white blazes) will lead us for the first 0.3 mile to the trail junction that ascends to Little Bald Mountain, passing noteworthy examples of living yet ailing American chestnut trees and interesting shrubs like the minnie-bush and beaked hazelnut. At the summit of Little Bald (0.5 mile distance and 350 ‘higher than parking), we will pass through a dwarf beech forest as we descend the oak/laurel-covered ridge southeasterly on the Pilot Rock Trail (orange blazes) to a connector trail (yellow blaze) which leads north to Laurel Mountain Trail, about 0.9 mile and 608’ lower than the peak. We then take the Laurel Mountain Trail back to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, about a mile walk along north-facing slopes rich in hardwood/rhododendron forests, rocks and seepages. Returning to parking along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (about 0.8 mile) we will pass through aromatic patches of Galax (leaf odors) and oak forests as we complete a 3.2 mile loop. This trail has a variety of slope exposures, so if a cool day, remember those clothing layers! Please bring water, lunch, and dress appropriately including proper footwear.

There will be a carpool available for those who which to partake we will meet at Earth Fare Westgate at 9:15 a.m.

An alternate hike for inclement weather and parkway closures will be at Elk Mountain.

  • What: Little Bald Mountain Winter Plant Ecology Hike
  • When: Saturday February 8 at 10 a.m.
  • Cost: FREE
  • Where: Pisgah Inn Parking Lot 408.6 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Brevard, NC 28712
  • RSVP: Isabelle Rios, Education and Outings Coordinator, 828.258.8737 ext. 201 or