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Valley History Explorer Hike #6: Riceville (Rattlesnake Lodge)

August 8 @ 8:00 am - 12:30 pm

Hikers will first stop at Bull Creek Valley Overlook, overlooking the Riceville valley, to learn about the history of the community, named after Joseph Marion Rice, who settled in the region in the 1780s. From the Tanbark Ridge Tunnel, hikers will travel up to the ruins of Rattlesnake Lodge. In 1903, Dr. Chase Ambler, realizing the health benefits of the mountains, commenced construction of a summer home for his growing family. Remembered as one of the most unique summer residences in Western North Carolina, Rattlesnake Lodge also boasted stables, tennis courts, and a pool.

Difficulty:  Moderate, 2 miles

Pack List: Bring water and a snack. Wear good hiking shoes and socks and long pants. You may also want sunscreen, a hat, hiking poles, rain gear, and any personal medications you may need. Please have all gear you are not wearing in a day pack to keep your hands free while hiking. Hiking poles will be especially important for this hike as there is a bit of a steep descent.

Please direct any inquiries to svmhikes@gmail.com.

Note: This event is repeated on August 9th in order to adhere to social distancing and group gathering guidelines for the state of North Carolina. 

UPDATE: In order to follow state regulations concerning the coronavirus, the Swannanoa Valley Museum has created new guidelines for its 2020 hikes. These guidelines and the 2020 hike schedule, will continue to evolve as the COVID situation changes.  Please email svmhikes@gmail.com with any questions. 

New hike guidelines:

  • Sign-ins will be conducted outdoors, at the parking lot of the Black Mountain Savings Bank.
  • There will be no carpooling, no pickup truck / driver shuttles, and a new limited hike size.  All the series hikes have been redesigned to be either be out/back or loop hikes and the museum discourages any carpooling to the trailheads, unless with family members or trusted friends.
  • No one exhibiting symptoms will be allowed on the hikes.
  • Hikes are limited to 25 hikers (20 hikers plus leaders). 
  • SVM will not shuttle drivers in cars or pickup trucks as in the past.
  • Hikers will be required to bring a mask. Masks should be worn at the sign-in / registration table and at any time hikers are in a close group, such as at trailheads, history talks, or rest breaks.
  • Social distancing requested on the trails.
  • Series hikers have the opportunity to make up these hikes at any time in the future. If hikers do not feel comfortable taking part in hikes in 2020, this is more than understandable.


Note: This hike is part of a series, which goes on sale January 2, 2020. Hikers who wish to register for individual hikes may add their name to the waitlist by sending an email to svmhikes@gmail.com. Additional spaces for individual hikers on the waitlist may open up if a full series hiker cancels their registration.


August 8
8:00 am - 12:30 pm


Black Mountain Savings Bank
200 E State St
Black Mountain, NC 28711
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