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

Here it comes…Fall!

As September winds down to a close we are getting ready for what many consider the most spectacular time of year here on the mountain. September has been a most beautiful month here at Snowbird. We’ve had great fall wildflowers with walks hosted byIMG_4477 (1) IMG_3959 (3)Nancy and John Rennie and are wrapping up the month with Aaron Steed leading his fabulous birding adventures. While he has been here we’ve had guests able to watch the bird banding at the Audubon Society fall migration station set up at Whigg Meadow off of the Cherohala Skyway. Marvelous stuff indeed.

As I sit to write this it’s raining outside. Elizabeth is busy with school and the Robbinsville JV volleyball squad is getting ready for FullSizeRender (39)another game tonight. It also gives me a chance to think about all of the magic that happens in the coming month and give thanks for the past. Often here we are overshadowed by the magnificence of the changing colors. The reds, orange, yellow and browns that are coming are predicted to be the best FullSizeRender (40)color we’ve seen in years. I know that without a doubt it will be awesome! I also know that that time of year gives way to Thanksgiving and the quieter times that are yet to be.

A guest asked me the other day if after 20 years of being the caretaker here, whether my glass was half empty or half full. I smiled and told him he missed the point altogether – The glass is refillable! I hope that you will join us in celebration of all things fall – the color, the football teams on the field, the coming cooler weather, sweaters, jackets, fires in the fireplace and yes…raking the yards. I know that what the future holds will be wonderful and all of us on the mountain look forward to sharing it with you!

In celebration of the great adventure ahead!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Explorer & Adventurer

Visibility Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Robbinsville, NC, resident Robert Rankin has spent more than two decades leading operations at the Snowbird Mountain Lodge. When he is not leading activities at the Robbinsville, NC, lodge, Robert Rankin enjoys riding throughout North Carolina on his motorcycle.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) provides new and experienced motorcycle enthusiasts alike with invaluable safety courses and resources. While motorcyclists should attend a local class to receive a complete safety education, the MSF provides general guidelines that should be adhered to at all times. Operating a motorcycle with visibility in mind is one safety tip no rider should forget. The motorcycle’s headlight should remain on day and night, and motorcyclists should check all lights prior to a ride.

Individuals can further improve their visibility on a motorcycle through the use of reflective tape on their attire and decals on the bike. Further, riders can flash their brake lights prior to a stop or use their bike horn to draw attention as needed. Lastly, bikers are especially susceptible to a car’s or a truck’s blind spot and should be aware of the distance required to stay out of this area.

Jackson Hole Wyoming – The Wild Wild West

It was the perfect time of year for us to escape Snowbird Mountain Lodge and the heat of Robbinsville, NC. My mother always laughs when I tell her I need to get away from the “heat” of the North Carolina mountains. “Robert Rankin”, she says… “Just you move back home to Decatur, AL and we’ll show you what heat and humidity really are”! No thanks I always say.

As a child and then young man I was blessed to often travel with my family to the West. Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho were States where the wild wild west still bloomed. Places with names like Butte, Laramie, Driggs, Crested Butte filled our imaginations. My brothers and I often couldn’t wait for the next cowboy adventure. Those memories continue to call to me til this day and I find myself pulled to the Rocky mountains every chance I get. Travel is an adventure for me, time to find the next view, the next trail, the next “pardner”. This summer I had the chance to introduce my daughters to the magical west in a very special way…….


Wyoming. Often called by Jackson Hole, which isn’t the name of the town, but the valley thatIMG_3737 stretches from the Yellowstone National Park all the way to Hoback, WY. It is a stunning and beautiful place with whitewater rivers, trout fishing galore, hiking trails in abundance, mountain IMG_3631and road biking and nature in all of her grandeur! While there we took advantage of all of those things plus great food in the town of Jackson. We explored the Yellowstone National Park and hiked in the Grand Tetons even managing to swim in some icy cold lakes….I so loved creating those memories, both for myself and my girls. It was perfect.

While I love the west and those magnificent Rocky Mountains I now also know the magic that these mountains I call home hold. Flying back home I watched as the terrain began to change IMG_3822and the trees became more dense and lush. Driving back to Robbinsville, NC and up the mountain to Snowbird Mountain Lodge I knew I was back home…where I belong. My little town is country filled with country folk. Some highly educated and some not, but all here are authentic…in a very real sort of way. If home is indeed where the heart is, then I live in the perfect place and on the perfect mountain…Summer heat and all!

Robert Rankin

Innkeeper, Adventurer & Explorer

Visiting the Dominican Republic’s Santo Domingo

Robert Rankin of Robbinsville, NC, currently oversees all activities at Snowbird Mountain Lodge, which is located in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. When vacationing outside of the Robbinsville, NC, area, Robert Rankin enjoys traveling to domestic and international locations. He has recently spent time in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has become a sought-after destination for travelers, thanks to its warm tropical weather and a diverse, visually engaging landscape. Tourists who find themselves spending time in the country are often directed to the city of Santo Domingo as a main attraction. One of the most historically and culturally rich cities in the Western Hemisphere, Santo Domingo offers distinct Spanish architecture dating back to Colonial times as well as countless restaurants and eateries.

Santo Domingo’s central square Plaza de la Cultura is home to the Palace of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Palace, and a number of additional places of interest. Historians can also enjoy the city’s Colonial City district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other popular stops in Santo Domingo include the National Botanical Gardens and the city’s storied Malecon, a seaside promenade famous for its scenic views.

Preventing Mountain Bike Injuries

A resident of Robbinsville, Robert Rankin has been leading Snowbird Mountain Lodge in southwestern North Carolina for more than two decades. In this capacity, he is responsible for overseeing all operations at the lodge, which covers 100 acres of the mountain, and ensuring the company meets the four virtues of courage, compassion, grace, and fortitude. Outside of work, Robert Rankin enjoys a variety of hobbies, such as mountain biking near his Robbinsville, NC, home.

As with most types of biking, mountain biking offers a range of health benefits; however, there are risks of injury. A few ways of minimizing injuries are discussed below.

Getting in shape and staying in shape is one of the best ways of preventing normal wear-and-tear injuries, especially those related to the back, which are common among mountain cyclists. Cyclists who have a strong core and legs are better able to handle the repetitive strain of cycling than those without.

Keeping the hands protected limits the risk of muscle strain or numbness in the hands and wrists. Before starting out, warm up the hands by spreading out the fingers and curling them into a fist a few times. Also, wearing padded gloves prevents any blisters and ensures cyclists stay in control of their bikes.

Fatigue is one of the most common causes of injury when mountain biking, but it is easily avoidable if cyclists plan their ride before setting out. Determining a clear path keeps rides within a reasonable time frame and prevents cyclists from tiring out and possibly crashing.

Making sure the bike is functioning properly prevents injuries that may result from parts breaking during jumps or flat tires getting caught on the terrain. Cyclists should check all the bolts and screws on the bike’s body and keep an eye out for any cracks or fractures along the frame.