Opening Celebration of the New Nature Trails and Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail

Sequatchie Valley Institute and Liquidambar Art Gallery are celebrating American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, , from 9-6 Central. 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. Don’t miss this kick-off for a summer of adventure for your family. Learn a new skill, discover a new trail, and get your kids and friends into the outdoors! 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.

Celebrate the opening of our self-guided GIS mapped nature trails at Sequatchie Valley Institute, located on 350 acres of forest protected forever by the Land Trust of Tennessee. SVI, a non-profit educational organization, is a living laboratory with hand-crafted homes and structures solar-powered and built of native and recycled materials, a greenhouse, gardens, orchards, and vineyards.

Maps and photos of the trails are available through this link. , provided by the UTC SIM Center.

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 300 ft in elevation gain. Over 40 signs along the trails provide information on plants, ecology, history, and geology and are GIS accessible by a link  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.

Our newest trail, Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail, is an easy circular trail beginning at Moonshadow. Over 100 native and non-native trees, vines, and woody shrubs are identified and described along this trail.

There will also be a guided tour each day 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 both days 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. You may wish to bring a lunch and drinks for a picnic along the way. 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:;

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is a nationally recognized trail awareness program that occurs annually on the first Saturday of June and inspires the public to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in outdoor activities, clinics, and trail stewardship projects. National Trails Day® is a registered trademark of American Hiking Society.


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