Hiking

Rattlesnake Lodge

Take the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to visit the side of a summer home from the turn of the 20th century. This trail also offers views of beautiful mountain ridges and a lake.

  • Length: 3 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Trail Type: Out-and-back
  • Skill Level: Moderate

Directions from Asheville

  1. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway north to MP 375.2 at Bull Gap.
  2. Turn left at the brown Weaverville/Vance Birthplace sign.
  3. After 0.2 mile, at the T-intersection, turn right on Ox Creek Road.
  4. Drive 0.7 mile to the second parking area on the right and park.

What to Expect

Rattlesnake Lodge

Take the short access trail and turn left on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST). The trail follows the MST marked by white circles, on a carriage road.

Reach the site of Rattlesnake Lodge, the former summer home of Asheville physician and outdoor activist Dr. Chase P. Ambler. The Amblers built their summer retreat in 1903 and occupied it until 1920. The Lodge is long gone, victim of a fire in the late 1920s.

The retaining walls and foundations for its tennis courts, swimming pool, and caretaker's cabins will give you a good feel for the lifestyle of the rich and famous—famous in Asheville at least. Ambler's wife and children went up to the Lodge as soon as school let out and came back to Asheville in the fall. Dr. Ambler visited on weekends.

At the center of the site, a display board, put up by the Carolina Mountain Club, shows a map, pictures and descriptions of the old Lodge and outbuildings. From the porch of the main house, guests could look down the mountainside into the Swannanoa River basin.

After you finish exploring the site, return the same way.

Hike by Danny Bernstein, accomplished Western N.C. hiker and author of The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina: Walking a Thousand Miles through Wildness, Culture and History. Pick up a copy of her guide in The Asheville Shop at the Asheville Visitor Center.

Find more hiking trails in the Asheville area