NC hiking is perhaps the most popular outdoor activity in the High Country. There are multiple trails that are appropriate for all abilities. Hiking is an excellent way to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are many hiking trails located all along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in nearby parks. A popular tail in the area is located at Moses H. Cone Julian Price Memorial Park. Trails available for hiking include Boone Fork Loop Trail, the Tanawha Trail, and the many carriage tails located within the park.
The Linville area, off the parkway near Grandfather Mountain, offers additional hiking trails. The Linville Falls Trail is in the area, and is where the upper part of Linville Falls can be viewed. Grandfather Mountain North Carolina also offers hikers with an abundance of well-maintained hiking trails that accommodate the more experienced hikers.
Biking enthusiasts flock to the North Carolina High Country for unbeatable mountain biking opportunities, as there is an abundance of trails and local bike shops in the area. Annually, many events take place throughout the area that attracts cyclists from surrounding states. Several bike races and events take place here in the High Country, which are becoming popular among mountain bikers everywhere.
Scattered all over Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk are many trails to challenge all abilities. Located in Blowing Rock you will find Benson Hollow Trail, which is considered to be one of the “Best Mountain Biking Trails in North Carolina.” Other trails, such as 18-Mile Ride and Buckeye Trail are close to Boone and Blowing Rock and also top the list.
Beech Mountain offers a variety of biking along its 51 miles of paved routes. All routes begin at the Visitors Center, across from Town Hall. Beech Mountain Parkway offers a climb in elevation of 1400 feet in a mere three and a half miles that offers a challenge to those training in the High Country. Traffic on Beech Mountain is minimal, and the 25 mph speed limit offers a safe environment for cyclists.
During the summer months, Sugar Mountain offers cyclists with free access to the many trails that intertwine throughout the Village. Sugar also makes their lifts available so that cyclists may ride to the top and practice their downhill skills.
Also common to the area are races and bike challenges that attract individuals from all over the 50 states to the High Country throughout the summer. Blood, Sweat and Gears Challenge is a grueling ride, considering the route includes a 21 mile portion on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a climb over a 4,500 gap on Snake Mountain, and another 10 miles of “flat” areas near Deep Gap. The century race is a 100 mile loop that begins and concludes in Valle Crucis North Carolina.
Another more common race in High Country happens in Wilkesboro, the Burn 24 Challenge, is a premier 24-hour relay race. This challenge takes place at Dark Mountain Tails, and registers 400 racers. The Showdown at Sugar Mountain is a NORBA National Championship Event that appeals to professionals and amateurs alike. The event takes place in May, and attracts participants from all 50 states.