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About Us

Snakeroot Ecotours is founded on the premise articulated by Rachel Carson: The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.


Snakeroot is based in Celo, NC in the shadow of Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains, the tallest peaks in eastern North America. Here in the heart of the Southern Appalachians, our forests are among the most diverse temperate forests in the world. The hills are carpeted with over 1500 native flowering plant species. The pristine mountain creeks and forests are home to more species of salamanders than any location on Earth, an astonishing array of mushrooms, and some of the world's most remarkable fireflies. Join us for a five-star guided tour of life in the Appalachian woods.  


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We support the South Toe Conservation Fund

South Toe Conservation Fund is established to conserve land in the South Toe Valley. STCF is more than a fund; it is a network of people working to protect and preserve the wild nature of the South Toe Valley. Snakeroot offers ecological property walks -- custom tours of your South Toe property. A number of these are available each year in exchange for a donation to South Toe Conservation Fund. Email or call us to arrange a tour of your property in 2024.  


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In Search of the Lost Fireflies

by Margaret Renkl


Waterfall and guide Tal Galton
Tal Galton
Owner, Naturalist, Lead Guide

A committed naturalist since early childhood, Tal has been introducing people to wild places for 30 years. He spent much of two decades teaching in the experimental and experiential environs of Arthur Morgan School and The Arete Project, and he lives with his family in a timber-frame home that he and his wife designed and built out of local white pines. Tal writes a column on Appalachian ecology for Asheville's Mountain Xpress, maintains certifications in WFA and CPR, coaches cross country at Mountain Heritage HS, and is a cofounder of a local conservation effort, the South Toe Conservation Fund.  

Jessica Jonovski
Red Eft Hiking Camp Guide

Jessica lives in a small off-grid community in the area. She teaches yoga, practices herbalism and permaculture, and enjoys gardening and developing her budding tiny house homestead. She is always seeking deeper connections with the natural world around her. 

Jake Silver
Backpacking Guide

Jake has enjoyed leading outdoor trips since 2011, first as a rock climbing guide for a camp in Shenandoah Valley and for the last 10 years, as a teacher at Arthur Morgan School, in Celo, NC, where he also coordinates the school farm. He loves trying to learn new things every day.

Kam Kastelic
Retreat Guide

Kam is a potter who lives off-grid in a nearby community. She practices herbalism and nature-based spirituality, and hosts events to celebrate Wheel of the Year. She hiked the AT in 2015, and fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains. She knew almost at once that she never wanted to live anywhere else. Her botanical-inspired pottery is here.

Isaac Galton
Red Eft Hiking and Firefly Guide

Isaac has been a Red Eft Hiking Camp leader for two summers, and has lead firefly and various other tours over the years. His work outside of Snakeroot has included political and public health organizing, and in the local courts as a clerk. His upcoming venture is to attend law school. He was raised in these mountains and loves to share their splendor with others.

Camila Prada
Red Eft Hiking Camp Guide

Fascinated by the interconnectedness of plants, animals, and humans, Cami spends most of her days beekeeping, farming & out on the trails. With a decade of experience working with children, she's excited to be bringing her love for kids and nature to Red Eft camp!

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The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.


This quote, often attributed to WB Yeats, is a slight rephrasing of a sentence written by the British naturalist, Eden Phillpotts. It summarizes what Snakeroot Ecotours is all about: we help you see the magical world we live in. 

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