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Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail Provides a New Type of Trail Experience

Two underwater snorkelers wearing masks peer towards the camera

It’s a Completely Different Type of Trail that Opens Up a Whole World 

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) hopes the new Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail connects people to the outdoors and the fascinating underwater world. 

The unique wildlife recreation opportunity opens with ten sites spanning western North Carolina. All of the sites are located at public access points along the rivers, with most locations at city/county parks. 

So ... the unique Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail is free. All that is needed is a snorkel and mask and the desire to try something new. 

“River snorkelers will get to experience our rivers through the fishes’ eyes and explore all of the unique and beautiful species that are hidden just under the surface,” said Luke Etchison, Ph.D., Western Region Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Coordinator, with the NCWRC’s Inland Fisheries Division. “You’ll get the chance to see crayfishes, mussels, aquatic snails, salamanders, aquatic insects and fishes you don’t see, even if you fish.” 

Information Signs Mark Each Location 

Each site on the snorkeling trail is marked with signs that provide information on water safety and significant aquatic species that might be found there.  

The ten pilot sites are: 


Trail Capitalizes on Popular Activity 

Snorkeling is becoming a popular new way to enjoy rivers and lakes. Businesses are now leading groups of people on guided river and lake snorkeling trips. 

The new trail also hopes to take advantage of the North Carolina General Assembly designating 2023 as the Year of the Trail, to bring attention to the outdoor recreation activities provided by the state’s diverse trail system. 

“The Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail is a logical partnership for us, given how it showcases the natural wonders of life underwater in our mountain region,” said Western Regional Director Callie Moore of MountainTrue, a southern Blue Ridge environmental and conservation group. “Given the excitement already generated with the announcement of the pilot sites, we hope to secure more funding and expand the program to create a snorkel site in each county in western North Carolina.” 

Snorkel sites and more information are posted on 

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PBS North Carolina and Sci NC appreciate the support of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
PBS North Carolina and Sci NC appreciate the support of The NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.