MST Gathering of Friends at Lake Junaluska

April 7-10, 2022

Lake Junaluska, Waynesville & Surrounding Areas

We’ll be celebrating the MST’s 45th anniversary at our Gathering of Friends, April 7-10, 2022 at Lake Junaluska, the community where the trail was first proposed in 1977.  Events start with a full day of trail building workshops on Thursday, followed by hikes, excursions, meetings and celebrations Friday through Sunday. Make your reservations now to stay at Lake Junaluska Conference Center.

Hikes, excursions and trail workdays will spread across Haywood and Buncombe counties and even onto the Cherokee Reservation. We’re thrilled to work with Carolina Mountain Club, VisitSmokies, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and others to make this a special Gathering. This is our annual member meeting, when Friends of the MST’s membership gathers together to learn about the trail, spend time with each other, and celebrate our very special trail community. While this is a membership-based event, all with an interest in the MST are welcome to join and attend.

Registration and excursions will open in early 2022.

Tentative schedule

(subject to change)

  • Thursday, April 7th – trail workdays hosted by Carolina Mountain Club
  • Friday, April 8th – daytime: hikes and excursions; 4 pm check in for accommodations at Lake Junaluska; Opening night reception and dinner at Lake Junaluska
  • Saturday, April 9th – morning and early afternoon: annual meeting for Friends of the MST; afternoon and evening: hikes, excursions and fellowship
  • Sunday, April 10th – hikes and excursions

Watch Dr. Doris Hammett share about her involvement in the 1977 Trails Symposium in Lake Junaluska. Ken Howle, executive director of Lake Junaluska, welcomes Friends back and Ben Wilder with VisitNCSmokies shares about the area. Introduction by Betsy Brown, Friends’ Outreach Manager.

And the elephant in the room: Covid-19. With a dedicated and experienced staff at Lake Junaluska, we plan to hold a safe and celebratory Gathering of Friends. To do that, we’ll be following guidelines issued by state and federal authorities. Obviously, we don’t know what that will look like in April of next year, but we are already thinking about safe on-site options to spread out more if we need to. There is also a very generous cancellation policy (as long as you cancel 15 days in advance, you will receive a full refund from Lake Junaluska, less $15) for your reservation.

Accommodations

We’ve locked in special rates and you can now book accommodations. Lake Junaluska, a beautiful, historic retreat center near Waynesville, will be such a special place to celebrate the MST’s 45th anniversary.

We’ve set up a special website for reservations with multiple photos of each type of lodging. Just click on “enlarge photo” to see the extra images. The special rates are available for Tuesday, April 5 through Monday, April 11 if you’d like to stay a few days before or after the event to really get to know this area of the state. This map shows the entire property. When we’re not hiking or exploring, our events will be held in Shackford Hall, the historic location that also housed the 1977 Trails Symposium.

Please note that multiple 30 and 40-amp RV and tent campsites are available, and for right now can only be reserved by phone (800-222-4930). The staff at Lake Junaluska has asked for patience, as they are short-staffed like many other businesses right now. If you leave a message, they will return your call. Make sure to mention that you are with the Gathering of Friends.

Although other lodging options are available in the area, we encourage you to stay at Lake Junaluska with others attending the Gathering. These Gatherings are such a fun way to meet other MST enthusiasts, and the more guest rooms our group reserves, the less our rental fees are for the meeting spaces.

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