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Healing, Friendship and Beauty by the Lake


LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — For Chrissy Hill, the Lake Junaluska walking trail has been a blessing. After she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016, walking around the lake became regular therapy.

Chrissy had enjoyed running at the lake for years, having participated in the Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk, as well as regularly exercising at the lake. When Chrissy’s doctors recommended she avoid gyms while undergoing treatment, she knew the perfect place to get outside - the Lake Junaluska walking trail, which would offer beauty and serenity as she recovered.

“Lake Junaluska is a gem of a place,” said Chrissy. “I am lucky that I could continue to walk here as part of my recovery.

Chrissy and her husband, Ronnie, first discovered Lake Junaluska after they moved to Haywood County five years ago from Macon, Georgia. Ronnie, an avid runner and bicyclist, and she, a runner, spent time exploring the trail and getting to know people.

“Lake Junaluska is a beautiful area where you feel safe,” said Chrissy. “The grounds are breathtaking and offer beauty to the community.”

Chrissy’s husband is joining her for the first time at the Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk this year.

“My husband loves running and usually does marathons, but I talked him into participating this year,” said Chrissy. “The lake’s route is flat, and the race is well run.”

Lake Junaluska’s Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk takes place on Saturday, April 15 at 9 a.m. The course begins at the Nanci Weldon Gym and will take participants on a route that showcases the beauty of Lake Junaluska’s grounds.

“We are glad to give back to Lake Junaluska by participating in this event and encouraging others to do the same,” said Chrissy. “Lake Junaluska is such a great resource to our community, and we all need to do our part to keep this place perfect.”

Register by March 31 for the Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk to receive a free t-shirt and discounted registration online at, at the Bethea Welcome Center, or by calling 828-454-6680.

A portion of the proceeds from The Friends of the Lake 5K go towards the annual upkeep and landscaping of the grounds at Lake Junaluska.  Each year it costs more than $250,000 to landscape and maintain the lake and the area around the lake for recreation. This expense is covered primarily through charitable giving. While the grounds are open to the public, there is no public funding towards these amenities for Haywood County. 

 For more information about the Friends of the Lake visit

Friends of the Lake corporate sponsors include Haywood Regional Medical Center, Smoky Mountain News, Sheppard Insurance Group, Wells Fargo, The Mountaineer, RCF Construction Company, Clark & Leatherwood, Inc., Champion Supply, Evergreen Packaging, Melrose Law, Inc., Haywood Builders Supply, and Haywood Ace Hardware. Event sponsors also include Champion Credit Union, Dr. Kerry P. Cogburn, DDS, Dr. James J. Teague, III, DDS, Dr. Pamela Van Praag, DDS, Dr. Robert L. Franklin, III, DMD, Forte Photography, Mountain Awards and Yarrington Physical Therapy & Sports Care, Inc.

The Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk kicks off Lake Junaluska’s Easter weekend activities. Following the race, Easter egg hunts for children ages 1-12 will begin at 11:30 a.m. near Stuart Auditorium. Lake Junaluska’s Easter sunrise service will be held Sunday, April 16 at 7 a.m. at the Amphitheater near the Cross, followed by breakfast at the Lambuth Inn.

Weekend activities will conclude with the Lake Junaluska’s Easter buffet in The Terrace. For a full schedule of Easter activities, visit


Mary Bates
Lake Junaluska
PO Box 67, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745