The Swannanoa Valley Museum’s exclusive Swannanoa Rim™ hiking series offers eleven hikes that take place the monthly on Saturdays. Each hike covers a portion of the approximately 31 miles of the Swannanoa Rim, which runs from Jesse’s High Top, across Lakey Gap, over Ridgecrest and Montreat, up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and down to Cedar Cliff above Camp Rockmont. The hikes are led by experienced hike leaders who are also extremely knowledgeable about the history, topography, and ownership of the land.


Total Distance: approximately 56 miles
Rim Distance: approximately 31 miles
Elevation Gain:  +17,903 ft
Elevation Loss:  -21,211 ft
Elevation Min / Max: 2,316 / 6,462 ft
Average Grade:  14 %
Average Difficulty: Difficult

Rim Hike Interest Meeting: Learn more about the hiking series and receive a special full-series discount during this free hour-long presentation. Held every January. Please click here for a list of our full event schedule and registration.


Swannanoa Rim Hikes Distance Difficulty Elevation Gain (feet) Elevation Loss (feet) Elevation (feet) Start/Max/Min
Rim #1: Weatherford Heights 6.7 miles Strenuous 2710 2500 3900/4363/3507
Rim #2: Rhododendron Rim 4.3 miles Moderate 1120 1925 3300/3637/3027
Rim #3: Cherokee Boundary 3.4 miles Moderate 931 1671 3300/3548/2565
Rim #4: Montreat East Ridge 5.8 miles Difficult 1971 2324 3000/4020/2670
Rim #5: Pinnacle of the Blue Ridge 8.2 miles Strenuous 2660 2660 5220/5653/3016
Rim #6: Grey Eagle Rock 3.2 miles Strenuous 1810 875 5002/6423/5151
Rim #7: Patton’s Table 5.2 miles Moderate/Difficult 2024 2107 5300/6607/5294
Rim #8: Walker’s Knob 4.0 miles Moderate 1475 1199 5300/5865/5054
Rim #9: Buckner’s Knob 3.3 miles Moderate 794 1220 5700/5870/5243
Rim #10: Top of Brushy/High Top Bee Tree 4.6 miles Difficult 1909 2025 3658/4903/1245
Rim #12: Garden of Eden 7.7 miles Strenuous 2708 2708 2317/4124/1807

All GPS data and graphics courtesy of Joe Standaert

Payment and Registration: Payments can be made online, by check (Payable to Swannanoa Valley Museum. Mail to PO Box 306, Black Mountain, NC 28711), or cash (in person). Please be sure to call, email, or respond to “sign up now” announcements to ensure that you are confirmed for a hike. Payments can be applied to various hikes, but in order to ensure accurate participant counts, we ask that you also register for each hike.

Refund Policy: For some of our events we require prepayment to reserve your space. You may pay this amount through PayPal, by sending a check to the museum at PO Box 306, Black Mountain, NC, or by bringing cash to the museum during normal operating hours. Please let us now as soon as possible if you can no longer participate in an event you have signed up for. If you cancel 48 hours before an event is set to depart, you will receive a 100% refund. If you cancel 48 hours to one hour before the event you will receive an 80% refund to cover any cost we incurred planning for you to attend. If you are a no-show, you will not receive a refund. (In some cases, you may transfer your prepayment to a future event, less the upfront cost to the museum.)

Pet Policy: Pets (except service animals) are not allowed on any of our hikes or events.

Important Rim Hiking Policies:

  • The museum will not make accommodations for individual makeup hikes or credit done on individual hikes. Credit will only be given for scheduled group hikes.
  • Those who are unable to attend on the planned day will have succeeding years to complete their hikes.
  • If the Museum cancels a hike (due to weather, etc.) a makeup date will be announced. We will try to reschedule the hike for the following Saturday if possible.
  • Hikers are expected to start and complete each hike with the group on the scheduled hike day.
  • The purpose of the Rim Hike series is not only to physically cover the territory but to interpret history, point out landmarks, etc. in a safe and professional way. Our hiking policies allow us to do this successfully.

Rim Hike Explorer Series Scholarships:
We do our hikes and other events as fundraisers for the Museum, and they – along with the memberships that they bring in – account for about half of our budget. So while we cannot offer our hikes for free, we do want to make sure that they can be accessible to all who would like to do them.

That’s why, this year, we will be offering two full Rim Hike Explorer Series Scholarships thanks to two very special donors.

Anyone is invited to apply for the scholarships, but keep in mind that many of these hike are strenuous and all require a time commitment.

To apply, please email the following to the Museum at

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • A 500 word essay explaining why you want to do the Rim Hike program and how the scholarship would help you participate.

The value of the scholarship is $330 and includes a one year family membership to the Swannanoa Valley Museum as well as 11 Rim Hikes.