Friends of Hickory Nut Gorge

Lake Lure ~ Chimney Rock ~ Bat Cave ~ Gerton

In the mountains of western North Carolina there is an area of splendid

natural beauty which sets it apart even from the majesty of

the surrounding Appalachians.


The ‘Friends of Hickory Nut Gorge’ advocate for the natural beauty, biodiversity and wildlife habitat, along with the ecological health and integrity of Hickory Nut Gorge.


Our vision is to create a shared and protected ecology where wildlife & pristine natural elements thrive, residents help to create a mutually beneficial environment, and visitors leave this area with a sense of respect and awe for the delicate balance of humanity & nature .


~ About FHNG ~

We are a 501[c]3 non-profit organization made up of local businesses, landowners, and individuals who are passionate about advocating the natural integrity of Hickory Nut Gorge. Our group works to preserve the natural beauty, biodiversity and wildlife habitat, along with the ecological health and enduring legacy of this special area.

Friends of Hickory Nut Gorge is an independent, non-profit organization with 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status

registered with the Internal Revenue Service. Our tax ID number & financial information is available upon request.

All gifts are tax-deductible to extent allowable by law. 

~Read about the formation & achievents of the Friends of Hickory Nut Gorge in this Informative Piece~

~ 2017 Board Members ~


Diana Richards Ph.D., Psychologist


Robert Wald M.D., Psychiatry

Board Members

Jim Proctor, Education & Culture Advisor 

Debbie Shetterly, Environmental Consultant 

Sara Jackson, Website & Newsletter

Martin Thaller, Fine Furniture Maker


Many folks know the popular destination of Lake Lure, and the stunning views of Chimney Rock Village & State Park, but what lies under the breathtaking beauty is a rich natural history produced by unusual geologic phenomena, and the ancient actions of the Broad River itself.

There are so many places of natural beauty in the Hickory Nut Gorge. These special areas include North Carolina State Parks, Nature Preserves, & Private Lands. Please enjoy them in safety & respect the rules and regulations put there to protect everyone.

Check out the Hickory Nut Gorge Trail Guide for a complete guide to the ever expanding

nature trails in our beautiful Gorge!

Lake Lure, NC

Lake Lure has been described as one of the most beautiful man-made lakes on earth! Surrounded by the majestic Hickory Nut Gorge with mountains & balds, cliffs & gorges, not to mention waterfalls, Lake Lure is an unforgettable destination.

Chimney Rock Park, & the greater Chimney Rock State Park area host some of the most interesting natural formations in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hickory Nut Falls, Rumbling Bald, World’s Edge and last but not least ‘The Rock’ itself, are some of the most beautiful & bio diverse on the planet!

Chimney Rock, NC

Gerton is a small but mighty community, set in the pristine northern portion of Hickory Nut Gorge. There is much more than meets the eye as you make the beautiful & scenic drive to-or-from Asheville. Bearwallow Mountain, and the new Florence Nature Preserve welcomes visitors with miles of glorious nature trails and fascinating flora & fauna that exist only right here in the Hickory Nut Gorge!

Gerton, NC
Bat Cave, NC

Bat Cave, North Carolina might sound like something out of a comic book, but it is named after the largest fissure cave in North America! Located by the mighty Rocky Broad River, the location is top secret, as plans are set in motion to protect the rare & precious endangered bats who call the Bat Cave their home.

The actual 'Bat Cave’ is currently off limits to the public because of ‘White Nose Syndrome’ which is threatening bat species across North America. Please help us preserve these amazing creatures by respecting The Nature Conservancy’s protective policy.

There are over 37 species of rare and endangered flora & fauna that call the gorge their home! Some of those plants & animals, exists nowhere else on the planet! The precious biodiversity of our Hickory Nut Gorge is not only crucial to the natural ecology of the southeast United States, but also to our history & legacy of natural resources.

Flora & Fauna of the

Hickory Nut Gorge

History of Hickory Nut Gorge

As a result of millions of years of natural development, this area is now known to be home of ancient monoliths & giant waterfalls, massive ‘fissure’ caves, and over 37 rare plant & animal species. This area is also the home to many legends, both from the Cherokee Nation & since. From the ‘Little People’, who guarded these steep slopes, to the 1874 rumbling of Bald Mountain (hence ‘Rumbling Bald’), this region is a natural & cultural treasure.

solomonseal (Copy)
Pinnical View
Bat Cave Waterfall
Bearwallow Mountain
Lake Lure
Plant Community
Hickory Nut Falls in winter
Flame Azalea
Chalet Pine 2015 (Copy)
Chimney Rock
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There are so many ways to help the Hickory Nut Gorge!

By donating to FHNG or joining our group, you can support and participate in the ongoing works of the Friends of Hickory Nut Gorge. We aim to educate residents to support environmentally friendly legislature that keeps our gorge undeveloped, and that supports state parks!

You can also do your part by learning about & fighting invasive plants both at home & with our group during organized work days!

You can securely donate or join our group using these buttons (no PayPal account required)! If you wish to become a member, please fill out the form below so we know how to reach you!

However you decide to help, thank you for supporting our efforts to preserve and protect the beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge!