Boone Hiking Guide Hike
Best Hiking Trails, Boone

Boone Hikes + Hiking Trails

Boone Hiking Trails

The Boone area has some of the most aesthetic and awe-inspiring hiking trails around. Whether hiking up Grandfather Mountain, exploring the seemingly endless North Carolina Game Lands or out for a casual stroll to check out one of the area’s beautiful waterfalls, you’ll find plenty of great opportunities to get the legs moving and the soul inspired hiking on the many trails around Boone.

 



Local Hiking Expert: Mast General Store

630 W King St, Boone, NC

(828) 262-0000 || www.mastgeneralstore.com

Best Hiking Trails in Western North CarolinaProfile Trail, Grandfather Mountain State Park (Banner Elk): The Grandaddy of all High Country hikes is this 7-mile round-trip trek to Calloway Peak, 5,646 ft. The views from the summit or nearby Watauga View are astounding and reach from the mountains to the Piedmont. Campsites are available for backpackers. The first mile is easy along the Watauga River, then you’ll climb steeply at times to views of Grandfather’s profile “face” and on to the evergreen-clad peak. Hikers must register at the trailhead.

Directions from Boone: Take Hwy 105 S for 12.2 miles to left into the trailhead parking area.


Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina

Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Linville): This nearly 1-mile, easy to moderate hike puts you in the middle of the big picture – with awesome views of Grandfather Mountain, and the dizzying drop to the Carolina Piedmont below. Cross the road behind the overlook, enter the woods and go right where the Tanawha Trail goes left. Head left at the next junction to emerge at another split at the top. A left here reaches craggy views of Grandfather Mountain. A right reaches a dome of rock with views to Grandmother Mountain and Mount Mitchell.

Directions from Boone: Take Hwy 105 S for 16.9 miles to left on US 221. Head 3 miles to turn onto the Parkway. Head south 0.1 mile to left into the Beacon Heights Overlook at milepost 305.2.


 

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Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina

Elk Knob State Park (Todd): This hike takes visitors through high-elevation hardwood forests on their way to the wooded summit of the 5,520 foot peak. The hike to the summit, with an overall elevation gain of 1000 feet, follows a newly constructed trail before taking a final push up a steep and rocky road. On the way, be on the look out for rare plant species such as Gray’s lily, Rattlesnake root, Flame azalea, and Purple fringed orchid. Elk Knob is also home to black bear, bobcat, wild turkey, white tailed deer, and a number of smaller mammals that thrive in this rugged mountainous area.

Directions from Boone: Take Hwy 194 N for 4.3 miles to left at Meat Camp Rd. Follow for 5.4 miles to Elk Knob State Park on the right.


Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina

Glen Burney Trail (Blowing Rock): This spectacular waterfall hike in downtown Blowing Rock follows New Year’s Creek past homes and into a wild chasm. The top of The Cascades is at 0.8 mile (a 1.6 roundtrip). You can also see this waterfall from below on your way to the main observation deck atop Glen Burney Falls, at 1.2 miles (2.4 miles roundtrip). This is a rugged, awesome waterfall walk that was popular a century ago, before falling into disuse and then being reopened in 1991 (Do not stray beyond observation decks; watch children closely near falls).

Directions from Boone: Take Hwy 321 S 6.8 miles to right onto 321-Business into downtown. At the T-junction traffic light on Main St., turn left. In 0.1 mile, turn right on Laurel Ln. In 0.2 mile, go straight at the Wallingford Ln. stop sign, then immediately left into the parking lot.


 Best Hiking Trails in Western North CarolinaBoone Fork Trail (Blowing Rock): For those seeking a challenge, the 5 mile Boone Fork Trail is one of the High Country’s most stimulating and unique hiking experiences. The trail covers a combination of creek crossings, large boulder fields, and steep terrain – intertwined with one of the most beautiful forest settings the area has to offer – which make it a trail that is not to be missed.

Directions from Boone: Take Hwy 321 S for 6.4 miles to right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head south to the Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area at milepost 296.5. Cross the footbridge leading from the picnic area over Boone Fork Creek to the signed trail head.



 

Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina

Moses Cone/Flat Top Mountain Fire Tower (Blowing Rock): This scenic, 2.8 mile hike ends with one of the most spectacular views in the High Country atop Flat Top Mountain. A roughly 100 foot metal fire tower provides incredible vistas from the summit. In decades past, this tower was used to keep an eye out for fires in the surrounding valleys. Nowadays, the tower provides a terrific view of Grandfather and Sugar Mountains, Blowing Rock, and Boone in a 360° panoramic view.


Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina

Rich Mountain/Trout Lake (Blowing Rock): The Trout Lake Loop is the perfect destination for hikers who prefer mostly flat terrain with incredible scenery. The gravel trail takes runners and hikers along a scenic one mile loop that meanders around the mountain lake through old growth forests and thick rhododendron tunnels. In the summer, the lake is home to a thriving population of birds that provide nice birdwatching opportunities in the quiet forest setting.

Directions from Blowing Rock: Head south on Highway 221 toward Linville. Take a right onto Old Shulls Mill Road, drive beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge, and look for a small paved road on the right that heads into the parking area for Trout Lake. The trail around the lake is easy, while the Rich Mountain trail is steep and provides a challenging adventure.


Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina

Linville Falls – Wiseman’s View Overlook (Linville): The 1 mile hike to the two-tiered Linville Falls is well-worth the effort. This spectacular waterfall drops more than 60 feet and the multiple different viewpoints allow visitors to get right next to the falls to hear the sound of the powerful falls as it plunges downstream, and also view it from a distance to see the natural beauty of the wilderness setting. After the Falls, a short drive down the gravel road takes visitors to the Wiseman’s View Overlook where long-range views of the Linville Gorge offer great vantages of Shortoff Mountain, Table Rock, and Hawksbill Mountain.

Directions from Boone: Take 105 S and follow for 17 miles to Linville to a right onto Hwy 221 S. Follow for 10.5 miles to the town of Linville Falls. Take a left before crossing under the Blue Ridge Parkway onto Hwy 183. Follow for 0.8 mile to Linville Gorge entrance on right. Parking for Linville Falls is on the left; the visitor’s center is on the right 0.2 mile in.

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Local Hiking Expert: Mast General Store

630 W King St, Boone, NC

(828) 262-0000 || www.mastgeneralstore.com

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