Seasonal Naturalist Walks

Take a custom ecotour of the richest temperate biome on the continent. On our premium naturalist walks, we unveil the hidden life of the Appalachian forest. Using all of your senses, you learn the key roles of many species of the forest. We cater to nature-lovers of all levels: those who are curious and enjoy the outdoors as well as

experienced naturalists/scientists. We seek out the hidden gems of Blue Ridge nature: wildflower coves, rare bogs,

and secret trails. These are ~2 hr, 1-3 mile slow hikes over moderate terrain.

For two months each spring, certain mountain coves are carpeted with a magical display of spring wildflowers. On these ecotours, we venture into sites of unmatched biodiversity and revel at these tiny woodland masterpieces. 

 
 

A Blue Ghost or Synchronous Firefly tour is a not-to-be-missed Blue Ridge experience. These endemic species of fireflies only fly for a few weeks in early summer; during peak nights, we'll take you for a magical walk through firefly "fairy villages" and explain their fascinating natural history.

"Searching for Love" by Spencer Black

Blackvisual.com

A mid-late summer nightwalk is a unique opportunity to experience the forest in complete darkness -- or under the light of the moon. We start at sundown and begin getting a feel for the forest in the fading light. Using the absolute minimum of artificial light, we let our eyes adjust until they can take in glowing lifeforms. At the peak of summer, on dark and damp nights, we will likely see an astonishing array of phosphorescent critters and fungi. A foxfire ecotour is a highlight of the Blue Ridge nature experience.

 
 

Late summer Appalachian rains bring about an astonishing array of mushrooms. Join us on an old-fashioned mushroom hunt and learn the basics of mushroom ID and the essential role these organisms play in our forests. 

 

Over two dozen species of native Southern Appalachian orchids have been seen blooming within walking distance of Snakeroot Ecotours. Ladies' tresses, craneflies, twayblades, numerous fringed orchids, the elusive three-birds orchid, and many, many more. 

Fringed Orchid, Platanthera ciliaris
 

Southern Appalachian bogs are the crown jewels of Blue Ridge natural communities. Join us for a 2.5 hour excursion to one of these endangered bogs, chock-full of rare and beautiful plants, including pitcher plants, sundews, and several rare orchid species. This small bog-fen has been studied and managed for decades by botanists and herpetologists (it is a renowned habitat of the elusive bog turtle). This bog is on private land; in order to preserve the integrity of the fragile ecosystem and out of respect for the owners, we conduct only a few of these walks each year. This opportunity is as rare as the ecosystem itself.