The Swannanoa Valley Museum’s exclusive SWANNANOA VALLEY RIM EXPLORER™ HIKING SERIES offers eleven hikes that take place the 3rd Saturday of the month. 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.
New, Full-Series Hikers – On January 1, 2019, registration for the 2019 Swannanoa Valley Rim Explorer Series will open up for 25 new hikers at 10:30am. You must be a member of the Museum to register. Once these spaces are filled we will not take any more full-series registrations until January 1, 2020.
Hikers who started the series in prior years and need to make-up individual hike(s) may register for individual 2019 hikes beginning on December 1, 2018, by emailing or calling the Museum.
New hikers who wish to register for individual hikes may add their name to the waitlist on the first of the month in which the hike they are interested in occurs. Additional spaces for individual hikers on the waitlist may open up if a full series hiker cancels their registration.
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.
|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 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||Mod/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 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Phone Number
- 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.