National Trails Days Guided Hikes at SVI June 3-4

Sequatchie Valley Institute and Liquidambar Gallery are celebrating National Trails Day, Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4. Across the US there are tons of free activities such as hiking, canoeing, bicycling, trail building or clean-ups, horseback riding, kayaking, and bird watching. Lots of events will take place in Southeast Tennessee.  Let National Trails Day be the kick-off for a summer of adventure for your family. Learn a new skill, discover a new trail, or spend a few hours giving back to the outdoors before a summer spent savoring them. Remember to submit your photos afterward for a chance to win sweet gear.

See for details and places to go! WE think one of the best places is right here in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley, just 45 minutes from Chattanooga.

Discover our newly developed self-guided round-trip nature trails to learn more about the forest ecology, plants, and history of the 350 acres of mountainside at Sequatchie Valley Institute, through land protected forever by the Land Trust of Tennessee. The easy-to-moderate well-marked trails begin at the Valley bottom, at the Liquidambar Art Gallery, which will be open both days with art for sale made by SVI staff and local artists.  An interpretive booklet provides information for the numbered stops along the trails.  Both trails end below the bluffs at Moonshadow, the Sequatchie Valley Institute center, hand-crafted and solar powered, surrounded by permaculture gardens. The round trip will take 1-2 hours allowing time for observation of nature. You may wish to bring a picnic lunch and drinks for stops along the way.

Kodai Trail and Hemlock Grove Trail are easy-to-moderate nature trails beginning at the Valley bottom and gradually climbing up to the SVI Center. Trails traverse the typical habitats of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion with many examples of native flora and fauna, from the Sequatchie Valley floor half-way up the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau to just below the bluffs, about 250 ft in elevation gain. Over 40 signs along the trails provide information on plants, ecology, history, geology, and more and are GIS accessible by a link on the website or with a provided interpretive booklet. The round trip will take 1-2 hours allowing time for observation of nature.  At Moonshadow at the end of each trail you may use the picnic tables, compost toilets, and unfiltered spring water.

Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail is an easy circular trail beginning at Moonshadow.  Native and non-native trees and woody shrubs are identified and described along this trail.

There will also be a guided tour  from 11 to 1 pm Central Time. The tour will include a hike on Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail and visits to Moonshadow, the sustainably built home of Carol and Johnny Kimmons, emphasizing the architecture design, the solar electricity, use of sustainable materials, fireplaces, and passive solar heating and cooling.  Other structures on the tour are hand-crafted of clay and straw (cob), logs and lumber from pine beetle killed trees (Barking Beetle Retreat Center), earth-filled bags (Superadobe) and tires (Earthship design).  Along the way you will visit the permaculture edible landscape, season extension high tunnel greenhouse, and a vineyard, all integrated into the forest ecosystem.

The Liquidambar Art Gallery will be open  with art for sale created by SVI staff and local artists.  Proceeds from the Gallery help support SVI educational programs.  Art includes nature-based pottery, flame-worked glass, kaleidoscopes, metal sculpture, wood crafts, and paintings.  Refreshments will be available at the Gallery.

Children are welcome on all trips and should have no problem managing the trails.  Trail runners are welcome.   No pets, please. Donations accepted for SVI, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization promoting education and research in sustainable green living, ecology, and art at

You may donate online or during the event.  For info on the gallery, see:;

For more info on the gallery, see:; Facebook liquidambargallery.SVI.  Proceeds from the Gallery help support the programs of SVI.

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