Florence Nature Preserve

Asheville, North Carolina 28802

Florence Nature Preserve

Florence Nature Preserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike loops through a protected nature preserve where you can enjoy a little bit of everything in one circuit. First, ascend along a cascading stream to visit an old cabin site. Stop by a view, then circle around to a better panorama. Cap it off with stops at two waterfalls, all nestled in a natural world of Southern Appalachian splendor.

Dr. Tom Florence made a career as a physician in Atlanta, Georgia, but he came Carolina way whenever he could, to rest and refresh here in the beautiful Southern Appalachians. Specifically, he came up to a tract near the hamlet of Gerton, just east of the Blue Ridge in Henderson County. He bought his parcel of paradise back in 1966 and continued to add to the acreage. He and his wife Glenna built a cabin to spend the summers, then eventually built a permanent home on the property that ultimately expanded to 600 acres along the south slope of Little Pisgah Mountain."

More Florence Nature Preserve Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Joe Miller
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"Hickory Nut Gorge is a 10-mile-long valley consisting of steep ramparts to the north and south, through which the Broad River flows before getting bottled up at the east end of the gorge in Lake Lure. It’s a stunning area, a fact that travelers through the valley caught on to early; back in the 1800s, stagecoaches made regular tourist deposits to country inns throughout the gorge. In 1927, the Lake Lure Inn and Spa, a three-story, stucco-and-red-tile-roofed resort, opened and was promptly dubbed the “Waldorf of the South” by The New York Times. Standing at Lake Lure looking west up the gorge, it’s impossible not to fantasize over this emerging hiker’s paradise."
Five-Star Trails-Asheville-2nd Edition (Menasha Ridge Press)
Jennifer Pharr Davis
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"A hike through this private preserve managed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) displays a selection of Southern Appalachian splendor as it loops along the Blue Ridge. Start with a climb along the slopes of Burntshirt Mountain (on the all-time best North Carolina place name list), and then circle through the preserve, once the retreat of a retired Atlanta doctor. While coursing through this outpost you will find wildflowers galore, so stop for a view. Wander amid regal and varied woodlands. Stop at a second outcrop and soak in another vista. The final part of the loop climbs a stream, where a pair of dissimilar cataracts provides a double dose of aquatic excitement."

Florence Nature Preserve Trip Reports

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We arrived early before any store or community center was open and spoke with a neighbor who showed us a sign at the bottom of Kelly Hill Rd. that says "no trespassing".
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Did about 6 miles on blue trail, orange trail, white trail, and red....all trails are very well maintained but you really need a decent map of area, that you can purchase at little convenient store (nina's place???) on the main road. Word to the wise...i almost stepped on a timber rattle snake that was crossing the trail...he was perfectly camouflaged in the trail so you really need to watch your step (saw other snakes as well on trail)
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This is as nice as anywhere on the AT. The trails are in excellent shape. The plants are beautiful. Iif you want more information please look up the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. They own the preserve.

Florence Nature Preserve Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Skill Level
Waterfalls, Views, Wildflowers
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, 847 Case St., Hendersonville, NC 28792, (828) 697-5777, www.carolinamountain.org/florence
Local Contacts
Florence Nature Preserve; USGS Bat Cave
Local Maps

Trail Log