The Orchard at Altapass TRACK Trail will be located along a series of newly opened trails, named the Eric L. Gressel Memorial Trails, at the Historic Apple Orchard. The trails will lead visitors along groves of apple trees, through a cove of woods, near the historic Clinchfield Railroad Line and past the gravesite of the famous Charlie McKinney – a local legend.
The Orchard at Altapass TRACK Trail will have four self-guided brochures that visitors to the trail will be able to use to connect with the natural, cultural and historical resources found at the Orchard. Whether learning about the Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking for natural things hiding along the trail, discovering the Over Mountain Victory Trail, or connecting with some of the key features at the Orchard, the self-guided brochure-led adventures are sure to turn your hike through the Orchard into a fun-filled adventure.
“We are so excited to have partnered with the Orchard at Altapass on this project. The Orchard – teeming with history, culture and natural beauty – is one of my favorite stops along the Parkway. The TRACK Trail at the Orchard is going to help connect the kids of today, and decision makers of tomorrow, with their mountains, their history and their culture… creating the next generation of stewards for the Parkway and its special places,” explained KIP Director Jason Urroz.
Bill Carson, Co-Owner of the Orchard at Altapass said, “I believe that this project showcases all the “good stuff” the Orchard offers its visitors. In addition to the bluegrass music, apple picking, and hayrides, folks now can take a healthy hike, scamper, stroll, or jog throughout the property, and use the self-guided brochures to uncover its cultural, historical, and natural riches.”
The grand opening celebration of the Orchard at Altapass TRACK Trail will be held on August 25th at the trailhead located next to the Blacksmith’s Shop in the Orchard’s parking lot. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10:00am and will be followed with guided hikes, blue grass music and great food.
Address to trailhead: 1025 Orchard Road. Spruce Pine, NC 28777 (Note: Not all GPS units work properly in the mountains)
The Orchard can be accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 328.
Phone Number for More Information: (828) 765-9531
About the Orchard at Altapass
The Orchard at Altapass, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, was started by the Clinchfield Railroad Company over 100 years ago. The current owners, Kit Carson-Trubey and Bill and Judy Carson, purchased the land in 1994 to save it from development, and over the years they have created various programs centered on the natural, historical, and cultural assets of the area. A butterfly garden provides a haven for Monarch butterflies, which are tagged prior to release each year. Storytelling hayrides convey the rich history of Altapass; a special focus is the story of the Over-Mountain Men, who fought in the battle that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. A history kiosk offers free information cards documenting the story of the land and its people as far back as the last Ice Age. Live music programs, featuring local musicians, are provided free to the public five days a week, and cloggers, buck dancers, and flat footers flock to the Orchard's dance floor. Kids enjoy the dancing as well as the giant checkerboard, the working bee hive, and various educational exhibits. With the opening of the Eric L. Gressel Memorial Trails, the Orchard enters a new and exciting phase. We look forward to seeing children and their parents explore the natural beauty of our little corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains.