We hike our favorite trails all year, or whenever the trailhead is accessible, but there are certainly specific times when we hike particular trails. We do this to experience a rare or spectacular bloom event, gather blueberries, stay cool in the summer, see the fall foliage or get great waterfall photos without the leaves that obscure the views.

The following calendar shows our general hike schedule for a typical year although we vary it a lot. Bear in mind that bloom events or blueberry harvests are on nature’s schedule – not ours! The dates given reflect our actual, on trail experience but may not be accurate in any given year.



Wild Mountain Azalea bloom – May 1
Trail = Pilot Mountain from Gloucester Gap [South Pisgah NF] or the BRP [Black Balsam]

Carolina Rhododendron bloom – May 6
Trail = Snook’s Nose [Old Fort]

Trillium (all varieties) – May 10
Trail = Big Butt [Big Ivy]



Mountain Laurel bloom – June 1
Trail = Montreat West Ridge, YMCA High Windy [Montreat/Black Mountain]

Catawba Rhododendron bloom – June 10 – 15
Trail = Grassy Ridge Bald [Roan Mountain]

Flame Azalea bloom – June 7 – 15
Trail = Grassy Ridge Bald [Roan Mountain]

Late season Catawba Rhodo, Flame Azalea and Mountain Laurel bloom – June 17
Trail = Sam Knob, Flat Laurel Creek [Black Balsam]

Rosebay Rhododendron bloom – mid June
Trail = Everywhere


Blueberry Harvest – August 5, August 13
Trails = Graveyard Fields, Abundant throughout the Black Balsam/Shining Rock area but is best on the Art Loeb bypass trail between Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain (Aug 5 – 10) [Black Balsam, Shining Rock Wilderness],
Grassy Ridge Bald (Aug 13) [Roan Mountain], Bullhead Lunch Rock (early August) [Big Ivy]

July – August

Cool Weather – beat the heat with these high elevation hikes
Areas = Black Balsam, Shining Rock, Big Ivy, Mount Mitchell



Fall Foliage – mid October
Trails = Graveyard Fields (Oct 14 – slightly past prime) [Black Balsam], Green Knob Fire Tower (Oct 30) [South Toe River], Rainbow Falls (Oct 19) [Gorges State Park], Shortoff Mountain (Nov 8 – slightly past prime, colors were very late this year) [Linville Gorge Wilderness]


Waterfalls – Twin Falls [South Pisgah NF], Daniel Ridge Loop [South Pisgah NF], Catawba Falls [Old Fort], Rainbow Falls [Gorges State Park], Panthertown

Snow Hikes – Montreat/Black Mountain, South Pisgah National Forest