The Eric L. Gressel Memorial Trails

In early 2012, Bill and Judy Carson gathered a team of experts in trail building, graphic design, and the natural and cultural history of the Historic Orchard at Altapass. Together they began designing a new trail network that would wind through the rows of apple trees and adjacent mountain cove forest overlooking the “high pass” for which Altapass was named. The project was made possible by generous funding from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, a matching grant from Progress Energy, and contributions in memory of Eric L. Gressel, a long-time Orchard volunteer, to the Altapass Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Dubbed “A Guided Nature Walk through History,” the trail network provides a self-guided walking tour through the property using trail maps, strategically placed trail signs, and even Quick Response (QR) cards for Smartphones to highlight the agricultural, natural, and historical significance of this unique Blue Ridge destination. In addition, the Orchard has partnered with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks to provide nature activities for children who visit the Orchard.

Trail Guidelines

Visitor Behavior: All visitors are expected to act with respect and courtesy as permitted guests on private land. Look and enjoy!

  • NO collecting or picking (except apples, with purchase of bag)
  • NO ladders or tree climbing allowed
  • NO horses, bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed
  • NO hunting
  • Pets must be on leashes

Orchard Map

Click on the map to see a larger version or view/download our Trails Brochure .

The Orchard Map


Fun Kids in Parks Adventure brochures to download, print and bring to The Orchard for your visit.

Hide and Seek
Birds of the Blue Ridge
Natures Hide and Seek
Overmountain Victory Trail