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Dahlia Ridge Trail Opening


Dahlia Ridge Trail to Open at Haywood Community College

Haywood Community College welcomes the community and project supporters to a ribbon cutting event for the Dahlia Ridge Trail on June 2, 10am-Noon to officially cut the ribbon on the newly expanded trail system.

This new trail system has been a work in progress for the past year and is now officially open for public use.

“I’m pleased to announce that the new trail system is named the Dahlia Ridge Trail at Haywood Community College – in honor of our history and in acknowledgment of the work we do every day to grow our community,” says Dr. Shelley White, HCC President.

Dahlias reflect the history of the college – and honor the vision and legacy of those who established the institution as it is known today.

The origin of the dahlia garden on campus dates back to the 1978 master plan which included the recommendation by Arboretum Director, John Palmer, to honor the original campus benefactor, A.L. Freedlander. Mr. Freedlander had stipulated as part of his initial donation to the college that a place always be designed for a dahlia garden. This request was part of the vision for the campus to be transformed into the most beautifully landscaped area in Haywood County.

The expansion of the trail system was made possible in part by a grant from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. During the 2022-2023 budget cycle, HCC was awarded just over $66,000 in one-time project funds. Additional support to expand the trail came from the HCC Foundation, donors, and local college funds.

"The trail expansion project at Haywood Community College aligns perfectly with our mission at the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority of preserving and promoting our county's natural assets,” said Corrina Ruffieux, Executive Director of the Haywood TDA. “We firmly believe that by providing funding and support to initiatives like this, we can stimulate economic growth and enrich the lives of both residents and visitors alike."

Dahlia Ridge trail logo est. 2023 with pink dahlia The Dahlia Ridge Trail System features 3.5 miles of paved, gravel and natural footpaths including the original one-mile campus loop trail and an additional 2.5 miles of trails through the wooded areas of campus. Each loop is named for an animal, bird, or natural feature in honor of the rich history of Natural Resources programming at HCC, including the Forestry and Fish & Wildlife programs. Hikers will enjoy the original loop newly renamed as the Bobcat Trail and Moon Tree Way. New additions include Kingfisher Trail, Copperhead Trail, Millpond Connector, and Wildflower Way. Map stations, parking, and trail features are located throughout the trail system.

HCC will celebrate this newly expanded trail system and offer guided hikes on June 2nd. This celebration date coincides with the NC Year of the Trail date of June 3rd. NC Year of the Trail is the largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history. HCC is excited to have the opening of the Dahlia Ridge Trail align with the 2023 NC Year of the Trail awareness campaign encouraging all NC residents to get outside and enjoy the trails our wonderful state has to offer.

Trail Map