Close up of a purple Vasey's Trillium flower in Nine Times Preserve
Vasey's Trillium flower Close up of a purple Vasey's Trillium flower in Nine Times Preserve © Clay Bolt

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Preserve Day: Nine Times Preserve

South Carolina

Nine Times Preserve lies at the intersection of South Carolina’s Southern Blue Ridge Mountains and its piedmont region, where mountainous terrain begins to slope into gentler hills. Black bear, peregrine falcons and freshwater trout are just a few of the species you may find on this incredibly biologically significant property.

Join TNC’s Upstate conservation director, Kristen Austin, on a guided hike to catch some of the preserve’s more than 134 species of wildflowers in bloom and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its protection.

We will begin the day with a Trillium Trail wildflower nature walk. An easy 0.4-mile round-trip hike along Eastatoee Creek, this trail offers the best opportunity at the preserve to view ephemeral wild flowers in spring. 

Following a picnic lunch, we will explore Rocky Bald Loop trail. Located at the center of the preserve, the Rocky Bald Loop trail is a moderate-to-difficult trail that winds for 0.6 miles along switchbacks up Rocky Bald Mountain.

Nine Times Preserve is located just off the Cherokee Scenic Highway (Hwy 11), minutes from Table Rock State Park and Jocassee Gorges State Management Area.

Kristen Austin
Upstate conservation director for The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina

Kristen joined the South Carolina Chapter in 2004 to establish a conservation program focused on the Southern Blue Ridge and open a new office in Greenville. Since then, this program has developed into a regional initiative with a common conservation plan for the five state chapters who share this geography. Kristen also works on the national level with the Conservancy’s Restore America’s Forests Program. Her state-level work focuses on building public/private partnerships to achieve forest and freshwater conservation goals in the Upstate. Prior to coming to South Carolina, Kristen worked for the Conservancy in Missouri, first as statewide volunteer coordinator, then as a grassland manager, where she established a community-based grassland program in Southwest Missouri. Kristen is a native of Knoxville, Tenn., a graduate of the University of Tennessee and spent a number of years working in Great Smoky Mountain National Park as an environmental educator. Kristen celebrated her twentieth anniversary with the Conservancy in January 2018. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 35 and the Urban Land Institute’s Sustainability Leadership Program. Kristen serves on the City of Greenville’s Green Ribbon Advisory Committee and the board of Discover Life in America, which develops the taxa biological inventory for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Maria Whitehead, Ph.D.
Senior project manager for the Open Space Institute

Registration is Required

Lunch is included in $25 registration. Registration is non-refundable, and hikes will take place rain or shine. We love getting kids into nature, but this isn’t the best trip for them—adults only, please!