At the edge of the Smoky Mountains, high up in Santeetlah Gap at an elevation of almost 2,900 feet in the Nantahala National Forest, nestles the rustic and picturesque Snowbird Mountain Lodge. From the lodge there is an ever-changing panoramic view of the Snowbird Mountain range, Lake Santeetlah, and the homes and fields of the Snowbird Indians in the valley below. Two miles from the lodge is the 3,800-acre Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, a wonderland of centuries-old hemlocks and tulip poplars, basswoods, beeches, oaks and flowering dogwoods, mosses, ferns and wildflowers -- a remnant of America's virgin wilderness and a fitting memorial to the poet who penned "Trees." The wildflowers will be blooming and the birds will be singing, including the trilling "snowbird" (Dark-eyed Junco) nesting at its mountain breeding ground. Join us in welcoming spring back to the mountains of western North Carolina.
These are just some of the birds seen and heard in the past few years
Broad-winged Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Blue-headed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, American Redstart, Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Towhee, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch Wildlife will include: White-tailed Deer, Groundhog, Gray Squirrel, several species of bats, salamanders, Monarch butterfly Migration and much more
Dates: Because of so many folks wanting to join us for the birding program, we have planned a full week at the lodge. By spacing the birders throughout the whole week this should allow the numbers of folks on the trails to be lower and more manageable! You can just join us for a few days and you don’t have to be there the whole week- unless you wish to do so!
Directions: Directions are on the Snowbird Mountain Lodge website: snowbirdmountainlodge.com
Birding Plan: We will bird and enjoy the following local birding and wildflower locations- not necessarily in this order Stecoah Gap, Trails around Snowbird Mountain Lodge, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Cherohala Skyway, Talullah Wetlands and others.
Dress: Comfortable and layers, as the weather can be changeable at this time of the year. Dinner is usually a cleaner, drier version of what you wear during the day. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are recommended.
Food and Drink: The food is excellent at Snowbird Lodge. We will be having our breakfasts and dinners there (these are included in the cost of your stay). Snowbird also provides picnic lunches so we’ll take these with us in the morning and find a nice spot to eat around noon. Snowbird now has a fully licensed bar, so you can enjoy a glass of wine or other libation with your dinner.
Pace: The week is taken at an easy and relaxing pace. The walking at Stecoah Gap is level and easy. We will take the walking loop trail at Joyce Kilmer Forest, which is easy to moderate and is about 2 miles in total length. As we will be birding and looking at wildflowers, the pace will be very leisurely.