The Great Outdoors
Boone’s Great Outdoors
If you are interested in hiking and camping, the High Country is the perfect place to be! The scenic views, welcoming climate, and plethora of outdoor trails and camping spots make the mountains of Boone, North Carolina a national treasure. Boone is a hotspot for these activities, as well as fishing and rock climbing. The High Country’s rich ecosystem is home to many types of wildlife, and spotting deer is extremely common throughout the entire region. Some of them walk up to the back of our office here in Boone! If you want to know some of the most notable hiking trails in the area, they are listed below. A little searching will reveal many other trails, but here are some of our favorites. Number one is arguably the most famous hiking trail in the country: the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail spans from Georgia to Maine, with some of its highlights right here in Boone. The trail spans 2,200 miles and passes through 14 states including Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Some sources claim 2 million people hike the trail each year, although not at full length. This is one of the great aspects of the Appalachian Trail – you only need to hike it for an hour or two to encounter various other hikers on day-long excursions or even full trail hikes. The Appalachian Trail is also part of the triple crown of hiking in the United States, along with the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.
The aptly named Grandfather Mountain is in Linville, North Carolina. The mountain is 5,946 feet tall and is a key part of the Appalachian Trail. The Blue Ridge Parkway can be seen from the peak, and it is home to a hiking trail that involves ladders for the daring adventurer. Parts of the trail can be hiked without needing to climb, so families are welcome. There was once a rope bridge spanning the gap between the peak and the gift shop, but it has been replaced with a steel bridge. The mountain itself has an awesome display of wildlife, with 16 different ecological communities surrounding the area. Grandfather Mountain is home to black bears, otters, cougars, bald eagles, and white tailed deer, among other species. For a little rest and relaxation, the fudge shop provides a delicious retreat. At the mountain’s peak, you are bound to experience some seriously strong winds. The wind speeds at the top of Grandfather Mountain are said to be some of the fastest ever recorded, even exceeding 200 MPH at times.
The Greenway Trail
The Greenway Trail is an easier trail that the Boone community is very fond of. It is a circular trail that can be hiked by people of all skill levels. There is also a paved area with wheelchair access. On the fourth of July, the trail is a meeting point to watch the area’s fireworks, and sports are always being played on the green and baseball fields. The trail is several miles long, with varying cutoffs for shorter or longer routes throughout the area. A river runs through the trail and the surrounding forest, and is home to interesting wildlife including beavers. The trail is also marked by informational signs with facts about certain animal species in front of areas where they commonly reside.
Honorable Mention: The Mountain to Sea Trail
The Mountain to Sea Trail is not entirely finished, but it remains one of the most ambitious public projects ever. The trail construction is widely understood to be divided into 22 parts, each spanning about 20 miles. The trail is an attempt to connect the mountains of North Carolina to the Coast, effectively uniting the best thing about our state. The Mountain to Sea Trail is also great because it allows for anything from an hour long adventure to full length hikes. The scenery is striking and displays some of the best North Carolina has to offer.
Fishing In Boone and The High Country
Fishing in the High Country is a mix of interesting ecological habitats and beautiful scenery. The area is home to stocked fishing, river fishing, and a vibrant fly fishing community. Whether you are interested in fishing casually or competitively, the High Country has got you covered. There are rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and bass in the area. If you are up for a little adventure, all you need is to pack your fishing rod and tackle box and hit the Blue Ridge Parkway for an all-day excursion. Some notable fishing spots on the parkway include Doughton Park, Basin Cove Creek, Moses H. Cone Memorial park (Trout Lake and Bass Lake), Julian Price Memorial Park (Price Lake), and the Linville River. Remember, you will need a regular fishing license from North Carolina, but no special license is required to fish on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you are interested in fishing off the parkway, Wildcat Lake, Watauga Lake, and Mayview Lake are great spots. There are without a doubt many smaller fishing holes in the area, but we have to leave some of the joy of discovery to you!
Camping near Boone is as easy as finding a place to hike or fish, with most of the campgrounds being found near the same areas. There is a campground every 43 miles on the Parkway, totaling nine in all. There are 712 tent sites and 337 RV sites, and most require a fee to park or set up camp. At times these areas can be busy, so plan ahead around the holidays. The summer is generally the busiest camping time here in the High Country, but fall camping and even winter camping can be extremely rewarding. If you want to reserve your site, Julian Price Park and Linville Falls accept reservations. These sites also have picnic tables, grills, and fireplaces. All of these campsites are extremely clean and well-maintained thanks to the hard working park rangers and community who work to keep our mountains free of litter and waste. Please keep the tradition alive and clean up after yourself! Some notable campground areas include Doughton Park, Julian Price Park, Linville Falls, and Mount Mitchell Tent. Our personal recommendation is Julian Price Park as it allows you to fish, hike, camp, and canoe all in one place! There is a canoe rental business that operates on the lake during the warmer months through October. If you are into more rugged hiking, the Appalachian Trail is a great place to get exposed to nature. We only recommend the trail to experienced hikers as wildlife is prevalent throughout the area and communication may be limited based on location.
If you want to take in Boone in all its glory, go up to Howard’s Knob and take in the breathtaking scenery! You can see for miles, and nearly the whole town of Boone can be viewed without the assistance of binoculars!