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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.  


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 recently served a term on the Yancey County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.  

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 9 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.

Guide and paddler in canoe

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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