Best Hiking Practices

Hiking pic


Robbinsville, NC resident Robert Rankin enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, and has made this love into a career overseeing Snowbird Mountain Lodge. When not spending time in Robbinsville, NC, Robert Rankin experiences the North Carolina wilderness through activities such as hiking.

One important concept in hiking is to leave no trace. This means prospective hikers should take only photos of the locations they visit rather than artifacts of the trip and leave nothing behind. Disposing of waste properly includes measures like maintaining only small campfires, keeping human waste far away from water sources, and packing up all items and scraps–even biodegradable material such as food leftovers.

Traveling on durable surfaces including sand, dry grass, or snow minimizes the impact of footfalls on the local environment as well. Plan to walk through some mud or puddles, as going around can widen the trail. If you hike with pets, be sure to keep them away from local wildlife, and avoid disrupting the feeding practices of these native animals.


Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo pic

Santo Domingo

Robert Rankin has served as owner and operator Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC for the past 22 years. When he isn’t hiking or taking in other Robbinsville, NC, leisure activities, Robert Rankin also enjoys traveling to international destinations such as the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has become an increasingly popular Caribbean destination, and as a result, the tourist industry there is booming. The attention is well deserved, as the island offers many wonderful experiences to both first-time and repeat visitors. For those new to the island, here are two aspects of the Dominican Republic that are worth exploration:

Santo Domingo is not only the capital city of the Dominican Republic, but is also the Western Hemisphere’s oldest recorded European settlement. As one might expect from a city with such a pedigree, Santo Domingo is brimming with historic districts that serve as an homage to the colonial period. The island also has more modern appeal as well, boasting arts and cultural museums as well as some of the country’s best fine dining. For the first-time visitor to the Dominican Republic, a trip to Santo Domingo should be at the top of the list.

There are also plenty of things to do outside the hustle-and-bustle of the big city, though. In fact, the Dominican Republic is home to numerous ancient cave systems. Tourists can hike, horseback ride, or even swim through some the caves located throughout the country’s various national parks, many of which are populated by native bats and turtles and adorned with stalagmite formations.

Mountain Attractions in the Dominican Republic


Pico Duarte pic

Pico Duarte

Robert Rankin has owned and operated Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC for twenty two years. Although Robert Rankin likes to hike the mountains around Robbinsville, NC, he also enjoys traveling and climbing mountains in other places, such as the Dominican Republic.

Situated on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic is known for its beaches and mountains. The tallest and most popular mountain in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte, is part of the Jose Armando Bermudez National Park. Another popular mountain, La Pelona, lies close to Pico Duarte and rises to a similar height. Captivating views of the Caribbean Sea can be seen from the tops of both mountains.

On the western side of the Dominican Republic, overshadowed by Pico Duarte, Ciguapa Cascading Falls is reached by hiking a path through the mountains and over rough terrain through dense forest. The falls themselves are actually a number of waterfalls dropping over a series of cliffs to deep pools below. Adventurous visitors jump from the cliffs to the pools. Others simply admire the views and the seclusion.

Snowbird Mountain Lodge to Hold an Encaustic Beeswax Art Workshop

Snowbird Mountain Lodge pic

Snowbird Mountain Lodge

Richard Rankin supervises the operations at Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC. Over the last 20 years, Richard Rankin has grown the lodge into a haven for people seeking peace and natural beauty, earning the Robbinsville, NC, retreat the number-one spot on the area’s list of best bed and breakfasts and inns.

Snowbird Mountain Lodge holds numerous events, ranging from culinary to artistic, throughout the year. On July 23rd, 2016, Gulf Coast artist Kat Fitzpatrick will hold an encaustic beeswax workshop at the lodge. This all-day workshop will teach beginners and more experienced artists to create art using the beeswax that is melted together with different pigments of color and damar crystals. Participants can make artifacts, photo transfers, and various types of collages using this technique. This event is just one of the social and cultural events taking place at Snowbird this summer.

Stecoah Valley Center Supports Robbinsville’s Young Musicians

Stecoah Valley Center pi

Stecoah Valley Center

Robert Rankin, of Robbinsville, NC, owns the Snowbird Mountain Lodge, a scenic destination for guests looking to enjoy the beauty of Graham County, North Carolina. Robert Rankin, a Robbinsville, NC, resident, enjoys contributing to his community through civic involvement.

The Snowbird Mountain Lodge serves as a sponsor of the Stecoah Valley Center, an arts, crafts, and educational facility located in Robbinsville. Stecoah Valley Center’s music program centers on preserving local traditions for future generations. The Appalachian Musicians Program caters to fourth through 12th grade students in Graham County. They are introduced to musical customs on instruments traditional to the area, and they perform a recital of the material they have learned at the end of each program year.

The Center’s spring bluegrass festival in early May features a performance from the Appalachian Musicians students. Area youth are also encouraged to showcase their musical talent during the festival in the Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Contest, which is open to children ages 5 to 18.

Hiking Near Robbinsville

As Spring approaches we are seeing more and more hikers in the forests that surround Snowbird Mountain Lodge and the Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock/Citico Wilderness in the Nantahala National Forest. It’s these times that we spend time helping to find
“lost” hikers and I thought this might be a good space to give you some tips about being in this remote area of North Carolina.

Know that here, all of the usual hiking tips apply.

1. make sure that you have appropriate hiking shoes/boots on your feet as all of our trails         in the area are root and rock strewn, a twisted or broken ankle here will cause major             problems.

2. Cell Phones are great tools, but realize that in this remote section of North Carolina and      Tennessee, they WILL NOT work in most locations. So, the ability to send a text or make      a call for help is all but impossible!

3. Make sure that you have a day pack at the very least. Inside the pack please carry some         extra food, water, water purifying supplies, rain gear, first aid kit and warm clothing.

All of these common sense items are especially important in the woods that surround Robbinsville. This is remote country and yet so close. This area isn’t like the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but sparsely populated and traveled. These are the qualities that make this area so beautiful and attractive and Fun to be in!

Without a doubt you can have an amazing time in our woods and we want you to. If I can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to call me at Snowbird Mountain Lodge – 800-941-9290 and I’ll help you plan a great adventure in nature!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Explorer, AdventurerIMG_8702


75 Years and going Strong

Dear Friends,

It was late spring, 1941. Arthur and Edwin Wolfe surveyed the view from the porch as the Lodge prepared to open its doors to guests to the very first time. The anxiety level was high. They had invested everything they had in this place believing that the people that would soon arrive needed a place like this, a retreat to rediscover the feel of nature that so many were missing. I can imagine very well what the Wolfe brothers must’ve felt when the opened the Lodge. This year Snowbird celebrates

75 years of Mountain Magic!

I know that if the Wolfe brothers drove up the mountain today and rounded the bend to see the Lodge before them that they would recognize everything they had created. While changes have come through the years, the vision they had remains strong today. Snowbird continues to focus on being that special place, completely modern, yet lost in time. A wonderful mountain experience where you are completely looked after, all senses filled and satisfied. Where welcomes are warm, genuine heartfelt hospitality flows and connections are made. Those types of connections – to all that surrounds us is still what this place is all about and in these times has become more important than ever.

It has, as always been a busy winter. We continue the vision and are constantly working on improving the mountain. We finished our upgrade of all the bathrooms in the main Lodge and renovated Wolfe Cottage with rainfall showers. The culinary team has been very busy meeting with farmers and growers to get the very best of fresh, local produce to grace our tables. Butch has improved our craft beer list to include more local North Carolina offerings and our wines and spirits have been updated as well.

When you turn the page and look inside you’ll notice that we continue to offer the very best of naturalists, photographers, artists and music for your enjoyment while you’re here and we have even more in store this year! Our website is currently under an extensive “redo” so you can check it often to see what updates have been made. We hope that you’ll join us as we celebrate our “diamond” anniversary. 75 years of Snowbird is something special and we promise the best year yet! If you haven’t ever visited Snowbird or we haven’t had the pleasure of your company in a while, then please accept this invitation to join us for what will certainly be an amazing year!

We are in celebration of the Great Adventure ahead and look forward to sharing with friends, some old, some new, like you!


Elizabeth, Sophie & Robert Rankin

Innkeepers, Explorers & Adventurers