Our national and state forests and parks can be overwhelming since they are so large and signage is very limited. Save time and find the best spots with a guided tour with experts at the Pisgah Field School. Located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, they are part of the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association (CFAIA), a non-profit that promotes ecology and conservation through education and recreation.
Find some of the lesser known jewels and wonders of Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway and DuPont State Recreational Forest. Here’s a sampling of nature tours for 2017:
Waterfalls & Wine Tour (Thursdays & Fridays on May 11-October 27)
Visit six waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard with short guided hikes "off the beaten path" and end the tour with a private wine tasting in downtown Brevard. Learn about flora and the history of the forest along the way. You must be able to hike up to one mile on uneven terrain. Bring a sack lunch and rain gear. 11 AM-3 PM. $65/person. Go to their Web site for more.
In Search of the Blue Ghost Firefly Tours (Tuesdays-Saturdays on May 30-June 10)
Take a two-hour night tour (starts at 8:30 PM) to search for the rare and hard to find blue ghost fireflies during their annual brief appearance to mate - only two weeks each year. A naturalist leads you with special flashlights into the dark forest at Cradle of Forestry to hunt for them. $15/person. Go to their Web site for more.
Gazers of the Galaxies (May 26, July 7, July 28 & September 29)
Head to the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) to learn about star-gazing equipment, telescope use and summer constellations. 8-10 PM. Rain or shine event. Pre-registration is required. $20/person. Go to their Web site for more.
Take A Picture! Landscape Photography for Beginners (May 30, June 27 & July 25)
Professional photographer Rob Travis introduces the concept of still life photography in an outdoor setting. Bring a sack lunch, equipment and owner’s manuals. 10 AM-2 PM. Pre-registration is required. $65/person. Go to their Web site for more.
The Cradle Creeps at Night (June 23 & 30, July 21 & 22)
Join naturalists for a night of exploration along the paved trails of the Cradle in search of anything nocturnal. 8:30-10:30 PM. Pre-registration is required. $15/person. Go to their Web site for more.
Great news! You can schedule a custom tour on Monday-Wednesday for groups of 2-12, perfect for a romantic getaway or a family or friends group outing. They can create an itinerary that matches your interests. Or pick from an existing tour. Our favorite is The Adventure Tour to see the best of Pisgah. Hike across bald mountaintops with endless views, ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, or take their signature waterfalls and wine tour. 10 AM-3 PM. From $65/person depending on the size of group. Go to their Web site for more.
Funds from the tours help to support their Pisgah Explorers Club that provides free tours to local children and adults that need a helping hand.