A Community within a Park,
not a park within a Community

endless opportunities

Life at Sunalei focuses around the 300+ acres of Conservancy and State Park Lands. Over 140 acres are owned and managed by the Blue Ridge Conservancy and over 200 acres within Sunalei are a part of Elk Knob State Park. These protected lands will remain “forever wild” offering Sunalei property owners undisturbed hiking, birding, and endless opportunities to commune with nature.

The Club House, better known as the High Mountain Camp, envelopes a rich expression of the Adirondack architecture. Native woods and stone, recycled timbers, and old heart pine form the basis for a “comfortably rustic” atmosphere. Property owners enjoy the lounge with a pool table, bar, TV and game table. Comfortable leather seating rounds out the room. The huge rock fireplace is popular during those cool days and evenings, or when the snow flies during the winter. The lower level is designed for the young and the young at heart. A large flat screen TV is a wonderful way to watch the game, or play interactive games with your peers. A fitness center with treadmill, elliptical machine, universal machine, bath and shower is available for owners 24 hours a day.

Both levels of the High Mountain Camp have large decks for entertaining, relaxing, or just consuming one of the finest views in all of the North Carolina Mountains. An outdoor gas fireplace is available for that little bit of extra atmosphere.

The Shelter epitomizes North Carolina rustic architecture with its intricate twig work around the windows, twisted cedar deck railings, and impressive stone fireplace built using stones procured from the property. Property owners at Sunalei are welcome to gather informally at the Shelter – a place for bridge or poker, perhaps. For those so inclined, the wide covered porches with Adirondack chairs are the perfect for savoring the majestic mountain and valley views.

Shelter amenities include:
Fire pit
Tennis court with Deco-Turf surface
Stone fireplace
Outdoor cooking area

What better way to discover the natural beauty of Sunalei than on foot? Master trail designer, Richard Hix, was brought to Sunalei is the Fall of 2005 and 2006 and given the task of setting up an ecologically friendly trail system. Richard, known for his work througout the Adirondack Park in upstate New York, camped out and explored all of Sunalei’s nearly 1000 acres.

After his careful consideration of the terrain and the sensitive areas, a non-imposing and non-threatening trail system was implemented with as little impact on the environment as possible. This trail system crosses over the jagged, craggy summit of Snake Mountain and extends into some of the areas of lower elevation.

Over 140 acres within Sunalei are owned and managed by the Blue Ridge Conservancy. The acreage includes the summit of Snake Mountain and the headwaters of the New River. Sunalei property owners and their guests are welcome to explore these ecologically sensitive areas on foot.

Approximately 200 of the original 1000 Sunalei acres became a part of Elk Knob State Park. These lands, located at the base of Snake Mountain, are accessible only on foot and shall remain forever protected. Hikers enjoy the endless long range views, exhilarating elevations of over 4500′, and the the gently rolling meadows that befall one of the High Country’s seven natural grassy balds.

Upon purchasing this undisturbed tract of land and before a single shovel full of earth was moved, the developer engaged a consulting biologist to study and assess the conservation value and biological inventory of Sunalei Preserve. Vegetation associations, or natural communities, were identified according to established descriptions. Both plant and animal species observed on site have been identified.

Conservation value is established by the diversity and rarity of plant and animal species and natural communities observed. Because habitat loss is the primary cause for the global decline of biodiversity, conserving rare specie’s habitat provides the foundation for recovery. Consequently, the conservation value of Sunalei Preserve was assessed by the diversity of rare specie’s habitats present within the 1000 acres. Locations of High Priority Conservation Areas were determined, and sensitive areas will be designated a part of the Sunalei Preserve Conservation Lands.

Sunalei Preserve occurs within the Nationally Significant Amphibolite Mountains Macrosite and is a critical link between the Nationally Significant Long Hope Valley ecological site and the State significant Potato Hill-Rich Mountain Bald ecological site. The Potato Hill, Rich Mountain Bald, Snake Mountain, and Elk Knob complex of sites is considered one of the most extensive, undeveloped examples of high elevation pastoral landscape in the entire Amphibolite Mountains Macrosite.

protect & preserve

In order to protect and preserve the ecologically sensitive areas, approximately 330 acres of Sunalei’s original 1000 are now a part of the Blue Ridge Conservancy and Elk Knob State Park. This land is permanently managed nature preserve and will remain undisturbed and “forever wild.” The summit of Snake Mountain as well as areas that include the head waters of the New River are also included in the conserved lands. Owners of property within Sunalei Preserve are welcome to explore these sensitive areas on foot.

property summary

Five globally imperiled or critically imperiled natural communities
Numerous aquatic features including Southern Appalachian Bogs and High Elevation Seeps
At least 219 plant species, including 16 on the NCNHP Rare or Watch Lists
At least 108 animal species, including 7 on the NCNHP Rare or Watch Lists
Suitable habitat for 21 animals on the NCNHP Rare or Watch Lists