SAHC hosts annual June Jamboree in Highlands of Roan, features hiking events, including two at Hampton Creek

Published 8:59 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) will host its annual June Jamboree hiking event on Saturday, June 10, with five guided hikes of varying difficulty and an afternoon social. This signature annual event showcases conservation and outdoor recreation in the stunning Highlands of Roan, the biologically significant massif which straddles the NC/TN border between Roan Mountain, Tenn., and Bakersville, N.C.
“This year, our outings will showcase several exciting new and old land conservation projects that SAHC completed in the Roan Highlands,” says Travis Bordley, SAHC’s outings program manager. “We are featuring two hikes in the recently updated Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area – a birding excursion and a loop hike which uses parts of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, the Shell Hollow Trail and the Birchfield Creek Trail. We’d like to share some of the less frequently visited trails and recreation spots in the area. We invite folks to come join us for a guided outing and explore more of what the Roan has to offer!”
The June Jamboree event includes five outings and an afternoon social. All are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required and space may be limited – so register early! Donations to support this event and ongoing land and water conservation efforts are appreciated. Registration and more info on individual hikes is available at For questions, contact Travis Bordley at
A list of hikes is as follows:
HIKE NO. 1. Roll n’ Stroll Rhododendron Gardens: Location: Rhododendron Gardens, Start Time: 11 a.m., Difficulty: 1, Easy
Leaders: SAHC Conservation Director Hanni Huerdter, Farmland Program Director Jess Laggis and Equity & Education Manager LaKyla Hodges. It is anticipated that the Rhododendron Gardens on top of the Roan will be blazing with color this time of year. Participants will stroll approximately one mile across gentle terrain with stunning views of the Roan landscape. On this leisurely outing, participants will learn about a number of SAHC’s land protection projects that can be viewed from the gardens. This trail is paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible.
HIKE NO. 2: Challenge Hike – Hackline Trail to Little Cove Creek Preserve
Location: Hackline Trail near Carvers Gap, Start Time: 10 a.m., Difficulty: Difficult, 8/10
Leaders: Travis Bordley and intern Ellie Huber. Join the two on SAHC’s never-before-offered, bushwhacking Hackline Trail adventure. Starting at Carvers Gap, this route will descend the northern flank of Roan Mountain following the Hackline Road Trail (FS53281) and ending at SAHC’s Little Cove Creek Preserve, where we will host our Drop-in Social. This challenge hike will literally end at a party!
HIKE NO.3: Little Cove Creek Falls with Pathways to Parks Location: SAHC’s Little Cove Creek Preserve, Start Time: 11 a.m., Difficulty: Moderate, 5/10
Leaders: Pathways to Parks founders Pender and Tanya Marie, SAHC Senior Advisor to the Board Jay Leutze and Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese
This is a special collaboration hike between SAHC and its partners at Pathways to Parks! The vision of Pathways to Parks is to motivate Americans of color to get outdoors and enjoy the benefits of nature in national, state, and local parks and to help make it easy and accessible for them to do so. This hike will start from the Nilsen Homestead at SAHC’s Little Cove Creek Preserve and go to Little Cove Creek Falls. This route will traverse through SAHC-protected land and end at the boundary with Cherokee National Forest. Participants will enjoy open fields, luscious forests, and a stunning waterfall. Return to the beginning to enjoy the afternoon social.
HIKE NO. 4: Hampton Creek Cove Loop
Location: Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area, Start Time: 10 a.m., Difficulty: Difficult, 7/10 Leaders: SAHC South Yellow Mountain Preserve Manager Park Greer and AmeriCorps Project Conserve members Katie Gray and David Hagler
Join them on this high-mileage adventure through Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area. This loop hike will utilize portions of three trails, the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, the Shell Hollow Trail, and the Birchfield Creek Trail. This hike will cover lots of variable terrain including open fields, cool creeks, and deep forested habitats. Participants should expect to hike 5 miles before returning to the parking area.
HIKE NO. 5 Hampton Creek Cove Birding Location: Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area, Start Time: 9 a.m,: Moderate, 4/10
Leaders are Debi Campbell of Elizabethton Bird Club, SAHC Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett, and Roan Naturalist Adam Kluge. Have you ever wanted to go birding or wondered what type of birds live in the Southern Appalachians? Birds are everywhere but they’re particularly abundant in Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area where neo-tropical migratory songbirds like the Golden-winged Warbler come to spend their summer. Join the three for a beginning birding walk to learn tips on how to listen for birds, spot their movements, then look for marks to help you identify them. This hike will be led by experienced birders but designed for beginners.
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy will host a drop-in social at the Nilsen homestead on SAHC’s Little Cove Creek Preserve in the afternoon. The group invites everyone to join us in celebrating friends, family and shared hike experiences while learning about SAHC’s recent land protection news. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided, so please RSVP so we have enough for everyone. Sign up at
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is a non-profit land trust conserving land and water resources in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Since 1974, SAHC has protected over 80,000 acres of unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic views, and places for all people to enjoy outdoor recreation. More info at

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