Take a High Country Hike!
“Hiking” and “the East's highest peaks”—just seem to go together. Explore our guide to the Boone area’s Top Trails.
The High Country trail spectrum is longer than any hiker’s wish list—even when "easy" is the operative word. Check out the complete area trail guide down below!
Peaks scratch the sky—up to nearly 7,000 feet—on the craggy, evergreen covered crests of Mount Mitchell. Follow the Appalachian Trail across Roan and Hump Mountains where waving grasses offer alpine vistas. At Grandfather Mountain State Park, ladders climb cliffs a mile above surrounding valleys to MacRae Peak where Mount Mitchell towers in the distance (right).
Or find a peak experience below the peaks. Waterfalls gush scenic splendor all across the High Country. Explore the wild canyon of the Linville Gorge Wilderness. Or follow the gushing, waterfall filled drainages of the Pisgah National Forest’s Wilson Creek area. Streams often lead to lakes. Stroll the shore of a Boone Area "golden pond."
The Blue Ridge Parkway is the High Country’s premier national park—the most popular unit of the park system in the country. Take a classic leg-stretcher trail—an easy walk to awesome views that even a diehard motorist can handle. There are also harder hikes—to scenic spots where the past crops up in historic cabins and other pioneer structures. The Blue Ridge Parkway is entry-level Boone area hiking at its best.
Don’t forget trails in High Country towns—up here, the outdoors is a lifestyle. Some trails may start a short walk from your inn or hotel. Boone’s great paved greenway trail follows the pastoral South Fork of the New River. Phase one of the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park opened in spring 2011. Blowing Rock’s Glen Burney Trail leaves quaint streets, plummets into a gorge, and follows waterfalls off the face of the Blue Ridge. Valle Crucis Park trails wanders past wetlands and streamside sounds. Up on Beech Mountain, the East’s highest town, mile-high trails are cool on the hottest summer days.
The Boone Area is home to one of the longest continuous stetches of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the path from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Outer Banks. Our "State Trail" will be 1,000 miles long when completed. In the High Country, the trail stretches uninterrupted from Asheville to Stone Mountain State Park—and the Watauga County section was just completed in summer 2011.
Watch the "Big Dig" Video:
Volunteers Complete Watauga Mountains-to-Sea Trail—
Winter brings its own challenges—for hikers and cross country skiers.
Explore More—Check out our Boone Area Top Trails
Bass Lake Hike—A classic, handicapped-accessible hike around a scintillating High Country lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Blowing Rock, NC.
Boone Greenway—Don't miss this diverse trail system that welcomes hikers and bikers. The Greenway is a backcountry setting right in town where gravel and natural suface trails complement a wonderful assortment of paved riverside walks and rides. There are plentiful picnic spots, a rustic, historic ruin, and interpretive signs that make this a great place for nature study and birding.
Crabtree Falls Hike—For many, the Southern Appalachians’ prettiest waterfall, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, south of Linville Falls and north of Mount Mitchell.
Elk Knob State Park Hike—Elk Knob is one of a handful of geologically unique amphibolite peaks that rise north of Boone. Great hiking and great views are the draw. Bring a picnic, for the summit, or the picnic area. Check out the video on this trail page.
Glen Burney Falls Hike—Take the Glen Burney Trail from the quaint village streets of Blowing Rock and you suddenly find yourself in amidst waterfalls of remarkable beauty.
Grandfather Mountain State Park Hikes—There are easy lower elevation hikes on this famous mountain, but the serious hikers choose Grandfather Mountain for the rugged, alpine-like scenery on the high peaks.
Linville Falls Hikes—A variety of easy to moderately strenous hikes lead to views of Linville Falls, the Blue Ridge Parkway's biggest cascade.
Mount Mitchell Hikes—From easy to expert, hikes on the East's highest peak are a highpoint of any High Country outdoor adventure.
Price Lake Hike—Price Lake is a memorable lakeshore walk around a High Country "golden pond." It passes through the lakeshore “A” loop of Price Lake Campground—easily one of the premier places on the Parkway to set up a tent.
Roan Mountain / Appalachian Trail in Summer—One of the most scenic Southern summits, Roan and neighboring peaks offer almost-alpine scenery. This High Country portion of the Appalachian Trail is one of the legendary path's premier locations for awesome scenery. In winter, deep snow piles up for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park—You can also hike at the brand new Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park in Boone where almost three miles of trails are now open, the 1.6-mile Rocky Branch Trail loop and the 1-mile Lower Knob Trail. Another 5+ miles and a biking skills/practice area are under construction right now. .
Rough Ridge Hike—Great views of Grandfather Mountain on a moderate hike up the Blue Ridge Parkway's Tanawha Trail.
The Cascades Hikes—These moderate hikes to a Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall teach about trees and feature historic cabins.
(For the best coverage of Boone area trails, consider trail guides by local trail expert Randy Johnson—“Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway,” “Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway,” or "Hiking North Carolina."
Dive into our Interactive Map!
Zoom in close on the map below (use the plus/minus signs and directional arrows at upper left), or repeatedly double click near, but not on, the map symbols. You can literally dive down to see the parking lots and landmarks for hikes in our Boone Area Top Trails guide. Click any map symbol and information balloons pop up to describe the hike. In the trailhead parking map balloon, click "Directions," add your address or location, and step-by-step directions will guide you to the hike from wherever you are!
View The NC High Country's Top 15 Hikes in a larger map