With endless mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and breathtaking views, hiking in the High Country is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. From the historical Appalachian Trail to the 360-degree views at Grandfather Mountain State Park, you’ll never run out of places to discover and explore. We’ve put together five of the most scenic trails for your next High Country hike.
Enjoy spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct with the 2.3 mile Rough Ridge trail, located right near Blowing Rock. One of the most popular trails in the area, you can expect to see many other fellow hikers and families as you make your way up the summit. But don’t let the crowd discourage you – keep making your way up the 480 feet of elevation to the top of the mountain, and take in the stunning panoramic views. This beautiful trail is located in the Pisgah National Forest, so you’ll be surrounded by lush trees and mountains as far as the eye can see; hike it in the fall to see the brilliant colors as the leaves change.
Boone Fork Trail
A 4.9-mile loop trail within the popular Julian Price Memorial Park, the Boone Fork trail is one of the best day hikes in the Boone area. You’ll trek past rolling hills, marshes, and meadows, all while the Boone Fork river winds energetically in and out of your path. The trail is dotted with small swimming spots for you to cool off, so be sure to bring your swimsuit in the summer, and you’ll get a great view of Grandfather Mountain and Hanging Rock as you make your way through the pastures. Whether you’re a beginner, moderate, or experienced hiker, the Boone Fork trail will quickly become one of your favorite High Country spots.
Glen Burney Trail
Hike past, not one, not two, but three waterfalls with the Glen Burney trail, a 1.6-mile trail located in Blowing Rock. The all-downhill trail drops 600 feet from an elevation of 3,520 at the base of Glen Marie Falls, and has a deep rooted history in the High Country – the route is said to have been a Native American pathway, and can be traced all the way back to the late 1800s. The rustic and scenic hike is perfect for a warm afternoon, complete with picnic tables and an observation deck, and the calming rush of the waterfalls provides a tranquil and soothing experience as you make your way down the trail.
Erwin’s View Trail
Erwin’s View is just one of many trails available at Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway’s largest waterfall and one of the most scenic views in the east. This 1.5-mile hike takes you to three different views that overlook Linville Falls – Upper Falls, Chimney View, and Erwin’s View – each at a unique angle and elevation. The trail leads you through a majestic forest of hemlocks and pines, providing a cliff-top scenery of endless trees, cascading rivers, and sharp mountain ridges. The falls are a sight to behold whether in the fall, spring, or summer, making it never too early to start planning your hike.
Elk Knob Trail
One of North Carolina’s newest state parks, Elk Knob is a fairly new trail that isn’t quite as well known as some of the others in the area. However, it shouldn’t be underestimated – the park features one of the highest peaks in the High Country and one of the finest trails to go with it. The 3.7-mile hike to the summit features beautiful wildflowers, intimate forest scenes, and an awe-inspiring view of the High Country’s famed mountains at the top. The Peak, Three Top and Bluff mountains, Mount Jefferson, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, and Mount Rodgers are all visible in all their glory upon reaching the summit, and it’s a view you need to see to believe.
No matter what season it is, these hikes are sure to enchant you – whether it’s with the beautiful greenery, changing leaves, or enchanting snow. There’s no better way to enjoy the beauty of the High Country in all its mountainous glory than with a fun and challenging hike, and these trails are some of the best that High Country has to offer.