The path gave way underneath my feet. The ground was soft…thawing from winter and still wet from the recent rain and snow. I glanced back behind me to see the imprints of my boots on the trail. My …

Source: Wilderness


Roaming The Rooms At Snowbird Mountain Lodge

By Carol Antman for Island Eye News

My cozy room came with earplugs. Floors creaked beneath me. Footsteps pattered above. I didn’t mind. I had lots more rooms. Steps away was the massive living room/lobby lined with books, games and a blazing fireplace. Sunny porches adorned with fancifully painted totems were outside; hammock swayed on … Continue reading »

Source: Roaming The Rooms At Snowbird Mountain Lodge

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


IMG_4049Spring has “sprung here on the mountain. The buds on the trees are starting to “pop”, flowers are rising everywhere and ferns are doing that amazing fiddlehead thing they do as they begin to unfurl. Our steps are becoming lighter, smiles bigger and there is a fresh start among all of us. We bet you are feeling the same way!

I took a long walk up the Naked Ground trail in Joyce Kilmer the other day looking everywhere IMG_4007 (1)   for all of the signs of spring. Listening to Little Santeetlah creek as it rushed and rocked over the large granite chunks that form its bed I am always amazed at the feeling I get when I’m in those woods. I took my shoes off and felt the dirt under my feet and the twigs crack as my weight bore down on them. I was connected……to something much bigger than I.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.” – John Muir

I believe what Muir wrote all of those years ago. It is even more so now. I know how it can be to live in the city and I made the decision to move to the wilderness twenty years ago. Snowbird is my home and the woods that surround it offer all of us that necessity that Muir speaks of. Here in rural western North Carolina is that place that you can come home to. Won’t you come join us here? Take a day, or two, or three and come share this amazing place……

IMG_4043I hope you take a moment today to go outside, wherever you are….take your shoes off…walk in the grass….and feel the amazing spring Earth beneath your feet and let it feed your soul….

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Adventurer, Explorer

Bright and Clear

It’s almost time….

The days are beginning to lengthen now. It has been a perfect January 2015 and surprisingly un-winter like. After a month under the clouds, we have had a fabulous four days of warmer weather and bright, bright blue sky. It is absolutely amazing what some vitamin D will do along with the freedom to get outside and play!

Late yesterday we took the dogs for a stroll to one of my favorite spots – Huckleberry Knob. Those of you that have stayed here on the mountain with us know it well. It’s a walk that we often FullSizeRender (15)recommend for the stunning views from the summit. It wasn’t quite as warm there as at the Lodge with temps only floating into the high 40’s low 50’s. It was gusty, but a perfect day for the dogs to romp and play in the meadows. I love how they can play without distraction. Seemingly to never think about the past or future, but to be completely in this moment. A lesson I surely need to remember.

As I was seeking a little solitude to be able to process thoughts in my mind I was surprised at the new things I noticed on the walk. I don’t know if I’d just missed them before, was seeing them with new eyes or they were things I’d forgotten, but each new discovery, each new rock, each reach of grass far off in the open woods seemed fresh and new. Sitting high on top of the bald I looked at the town of Robbinsville in the distance. I know now that was a great gift on this walk. The realization that, for me at least, this never gets old. There is always a new discovery or adventure waiting just outside of my door. I bet the same is true for you too…if only you take a moment to look….that’s all you need…just a moment…take it…you will be amazed. I promise

We’re hard at work here on the mountain. Snowbird Mountain Lodge is getting cleaned and freshened. The new bathrooms are looking great. New furniture in place and grounds being prepped for an amazing year. We lit the first fire yesterday and it was great to watch the smoke curl from the chimney top. It’s another bright clear day and our vision for what is yet to come is fabulous. Won’t you come share it with us? Like I said, it may be all you need…just a moment…if you’ll take it…come, celebrate the magic of life with us!

In Celebration of the Great Adventure Ahead!!!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Adventurer, Explorer

The Gift of Passion….

We talk about it often here at Snowbird Mountain Lodge. Sometimes it’s hidden behind words like “Snowbird’s Magic”, “The Magic of Snowbird” or even simple words like wondrous or spectacular..all of which Snowbird, this place and it’s people are. When I was younger and knew the answers to every question…I was interested in only one thing…. money…chasing the almighty dollar…how to make more, have more, spend more, be more…more..more..more…

It took a fishing trip with my father in about 1992 to knock some sense into my head. I’ve told this story often here at the Lodge. Sitting beside the river holding rods and sharing a beer. He chewing a cigar and me smoking mine he asked if I was happy…content in my life. I remember thinking that I was. Then he asked me, “how much is enough”. I laughed in my very cocksure way of always being right and told him I didn’t know because I didn’t have it yet. He laughed too for a moment…then in a very serious note told me that if that was what I was chasing then I was throwing my life away by filling a hole that could never be filled with money… or things….or stuff


“Find your passions Robert Rankin, find your passions and follow them and you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams. I don’t care what it is, digging ditches, selling cars, building houses or driving a taxi (knowing him, I’m not sure these were true!), but find that passion and follow where it leads. It won’t mean that you’ll have all of the money you ever want, but you’ll have enough and your life will be an amazing adventure and a gift to many.”  He went on to tell me that he had known a handful of men in his life that had done just that. He named them. Counted them off on 4 fingers…and the last name on the list was his.

What brings this out today, at this time, right now before Christmas and the holidays? Is it Robbinsville, North Carolina winning the 1A State football championship and the passion that the players and community brought to the game? Is it watching my daughter, Elizabeth doing things she loves? I wish I knew, but today as I wandered the halls at the Lodge and looked at the renovations and repairs that we are doing to make the 2015 season better than ever, as I sat at my desk and read a few posts on Facebook, I realized how important my fathers words had been to me, how they resonated now and how much of an impact they’ve made on me.  

“You have to do what’s in your heart. You have to do what you want, not what anyone else wants you to do. You’ll only play well when you’re ready to play. Figure out what your passion really is, then just go for it. If it’s football, great. If it’s something else, that’s fine too. Just follow your heart.”

                                                                           –Nick Saban

I know that many people possess this wisdom and I’m beyond grateful that they’re sharing it and making an impact far beyond themselves. Many think that Snowbird Mountain Lodge is my passion and to a degree, you’d be right, but the truth is my passion reaches far beyond Snowbird – the place. My passion is giving…giving of myself and my place, being useful, compassionate, sharing my adventures.

                    “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to                                    be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived                                        and lived well”

                                                                                       -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think Emerson had it mostly right, the purpose of life may not to be happy, but if you do as he said and make a difference and follow your passions then it surely will be happy.  At 89, my father is reaching the end of his journey. He isn’t always “all there”, forgets a lot and is generally a challenge, especially to my mom, but he gave me one of the greatest gifts of all time….passion…. a gift that has allowed me to live a truly amazing and wonderful life. I hope I am able to pass it on and pay it forward to my children, friends, guests, family, strangers on the street and YOU. Thank you Pop.

I hope you have a very magical Holiday and New Year. Blessings.

In Celebration of the Great Adventure Ahead!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper & Adventurer