Guide to Hiking in Boone, NC: Exploring Waterfalls and Nature’s BeautyBoone, North Carolina, nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its lush forests, rugged peaks, and stunning waterfalls, Boone offers a wealth of hiking opportunities for adventurers of all levels. If you’re planning a trip to this charming town, here’s a guide to some of the best hiking trails, including those that lead to breathtaking waterfalls.
1. Linville Falls Trail:Linville Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in the area, and the trail leading to it offers a memorable experience. Located in the nearby Linville Gorge Wilderness, this moderate 1.6-mile trail takes you through lush forest, over wooden footbridges, and along the edge of the Linville River. Once you reach the falls, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the cascading water as it plunges into the gorge. Be sure to explore different viewpoints, such as the Erwin’s View and the Plunge Basin Overlook, to fully appreciate the grandeur of Linville Falls.
2. Rough Ridge Trail:For panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a chance to witness the stunning beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway, head to Rough Ridge Trail. This 0.8-mile moderately difficult trail features rocky outcrops and wooden boardwalks, allowing you to traverse the rugged terrain with ease. As you ascend, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking vistas of Grandfather Mountain and the picturesque valleys below. The trail culminates at a viewing platform, offering a perfect vantage point to soak in the breathtaking scenery.
3. Glen Burney Trail:If you’re in search of waterfalls, the Glen Burney Trail is a must-visit. This 1.6-mile trail, rated as moderate to strenuous, begins near downtown Blowing Rock and winds its way through a beautiful forested area. Along the way, you’ll encounter a series of picturesque waterfalls, including Glen Burney Falls and The Cascades. These enchanting cascades make for wonderful photo opportunities and peaceful spots to rest and take in the sounds of nature.
4. Crabtree Falls Loop Trail:Located near Spruce Pine, about an hour’s drive from Boone, the Crabtree Falls Loop Trail takes you on a memorable journey through a dense forest, showcasing the stunning Crabtree Falls. This 2.5-mile loop trail, rated as moderate, offers a rewarding experience for hikers. As you hike, you’ll encounter several overlooks that provide awe-inspiring views of the 70-foot waterfall as it tumbles down the rocky terrain. Don’t forget your camera, as you’ll want to capture the beauty of this natural wonder.
5. Boone Fork Trail:For a longer and more challenging hike, the Boone Fork Trail is a fantastic option. This 5-mile loop trail, located in the Julian Price Memorial Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway, leads you through a diverse landscape of meadows, rhododendron thickets, and hardwood forests. Along the trail, you’ll pass by several cascades and water crossings, including the stunning Hebron Falls and the picturesque Boone Fork Creek. This trail is known for its scenic beauty and offers a true wilderness experience.
Tips for Hiking in Boone, NC:
- Check the weather forecast and trail conditions before embarking on your hike.
- Wear comfortable, sturdy hiking shoes or boots and dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.
- Carry plenty of water, snacks, and a trail map. It’s also advisable to bring a first aid kit and a whistle for emergencies.
- Respect nature and leave no trace. Take your rubbish home and be mindful of fragile ecosystems.
- Stay on designated trails to protect the local flora and fauna.
- If you’re hiking alone, inform someone about your plans and expected return time.
- Be cautious when near waterfalls or on slippery rocks. Waterfalls can be dangerous, so exercise caution and adhere to safety signage.
Mountain Biking in Boone, North Carolina
1. Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park:Located just a few miles from downtown Boone, Rocky Knob is a premier mountain biking park with a network of trails designed to cater to riders of all levels. The park features over 8 miles of singletrack trails that wind through dense forests, offering a mix of flowy sections, technical features, and thrilling descents.
2. Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain:Situated in nearby Beech Mountain, the Emerald Outback is a mountain biking and hiking trail system that spans over 7 miles. This trail network offers a range of trails, from beginner-friendly to more advanced routes, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a great place to enjoy a day of mountain biking and soak in the natural beauty of the area.
3. Kerr Scott Trail System:Located about 30 miles southwest of Boone near Wilkesboro, the Kerr Scott Trail System is a popular destination for mountain bikers. This extensive trail network encompasses over 30 miles of trails, including the Warrior Creek Trail and the Dark Mountain Trail, which offer thrilling descents, technical challenges, and scenic views of W. Kerr Scott Reservoir.
4. Boone Area Cyclists (BAC) Trails:The Boone Area Cyclists organization has developed and maintains a network of mountain biking trails in the Boone area. These trails include the Tanawha Trail, which offers a mix of scenic beauty and technical challenges, and the Green Valley Park Trail, which features flowy sections and fun descents.
5. Sugar Mountain Resort:Sugar Mountain Resort, located near Boone, is primarily known for skiing and snowboarding during the winter season, but it also offers mountain biking opportunities during the summer months. The resort has a dedicated mountain biking park with trails suitable for all skill levels, including beginner-friendly trails and more challenging downhill runs. Before hitting the trails, it’s important to check trail conditions, obtain any necessary permits or passes, and ensure you have the appropriate safety gear. Additionally, be mindful of any trail-specific rules or guidelines to help preserve the natural environment and promote responsible mountain biking.
Where to Stay in Boone
Boone has no shortage of accommodation but here are some of our favourites:
For a full house, pet-friendly rental in a secluded location, yet only five miles from Boone, Casa Bella features two heated pools, barbecues and wooded mountain views and can accommodate ten people in its four bedrooms. It is located only two miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and many of the walking and biking trails mentioned above. What better way to finish off a day hiking and biking than with a place to wash down boots and bikes, a warm swim or relaxing in the jacuzzi followed by dinner on the veranda. Casa Bella makes a great base for winter skiing too.
For a glamping experience, try Boone Cocoon, for elevated pods and decks in the woods just five minutes from Boone.
For those of you bringing your own accommodation with you along the Blue Ridge Parkway, try Grandfather Campground with pitches for tents and facilities for RVs as well cabins to rent.