Go Take A Hike!
This is the land of the “leg-stretcher trail”—paths specifically designed to entice non-hikers into the woods during a break in their drive. Easy trails tempt families and even the elderly to spectacular nearby views. You’ll also find nationally significant serious hikes. (For the best coverage of Boone trails on and off the Parkway, pick up FalconGuides’ “Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway” or “Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway,” by Randy Johnson, both just published in brand new 2010 editions in time for the Parkway’s 75th anniversary).
Doughton Park/ Fodder Stack (Milepost 241.1)
Start just past Bluffs Lodge on the broad bluff that juts out into the void of Basin Cove. Peer over at Caudill Cabin, then stroll to great views on the 1-mile trail out to Fodder Stack.Doughton Park/ Caudill Cabin (Milepost 248)
Martin’s Caudill’s 100-plus-year-old cabin is Doughton Park’s most isolated spot It’s a lengthy day hike and an easy backpacking trip. Exit the Parkway at milepost 248 and go east down NC 18. About six miles from the Parkway, turn left on NC 1728. At four miles, turn left again onto NC 1730, the gravel Longbottom Road. Three miles from that turn, park on the right at Basin Creek bridge. Take Grassy Gap Fire Road on the left for an easy 1.7 miles to the backcountry campsite (great base camp/permit required). Turn right up Basin Creek Trail for another 3.3 miles to the cabin. As a day hike, it’s 10 miles roundtrip. The Cascades (Milepost 271.9)
This 1-mile interpretive waterfall loop teaches about local trees. Extend the hike by starting at Tompkins Knob Overlook, Milepost 272.5. From there, stroll by Jesse Brown Cabin and Cool Springs Baptist Church, and on to Cascades parking area at .7 mile. Hike that trail and then back to your car for a 2.4-mile hike. Check out our Boone Area Top Trails Guide to The Cascades.Trout Lake/ Bass Lake, Moses Cone Park (Milepost 294.6)
To circle two great ponds, exit the Parkway at US 221. For Trout Lake, turn right on Shull’s Mill Road a short distance to park and hike around hemlock fringed Trout Lake. Or go left on US 221, and in 1 mile turn left into the Bass Lake Trail, a scenic, 1-mile lake loop with views up to Cone Manor House. Check out our Boone Area Top Trails Guide to Bass Lake. Rough Ridge (Milepost 302.8)
This awe-inspiring area of alpine-like vegetation surveys a nearly 5,000-foot drop from Grandfather Mountain’s peaks to flatland North Carolina far below. Boardwalk views are a mere .3 mile, and the summit is 1.2 miles round-trip. Check out our Boone Area Top Trails Guide to Rough Ridge.Linville Falls (Milepost 316.4)
Cross the trailbridge for an easy ramble to waterfall views. For a more strenuous hike, stay on the visitor center side of the river and take the Linville Gorge Trail to the base of the cataract at the head of Linville Gorge. Check out our Boone Area Top Trails Guide to Linville Falls.Crabtree Falls (Milepost 339.5)
Perfect spring day hike after rain—the 2.5-mile, moderately strenuous waterfall loop passes a classic, dancing, fan of foam. Check out our Boone Area Top Trails Guide to Crabtree Falls. Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.5)
A rhododendron tunnel trail leads from the visitor center to a CCC-built picnic shelter and left to views at the grassy summit of Craggy Gardens (0.8 mile roundtrip).
Basics of the Parkway
Camping on the Parkway
Climb the Highest Peaks by Car
Fishing on the Parkway
Just for Kids
Linn Cove Viaduct
Nature on the Parkway
Picnic on the Parkway
Visitor Centers and Cabins
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