High Country Experiences

High Country Experiences

Wineries & Breweries

Take your own winery tour in our Sugar Mountain area and enjoy spectacular scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains, beautiful outdoor settings, weekend live music, and plenty of local wines.

GRANDFATHER VINEYARD

225 Vineyard Lane Banner Elk, NC 28604
grandfathervineyard.com

This longtime favorite winery is located five miles from the Sugar Mountain entrance off NC Highway 105 (going toward Boone). Relax on the banks of the Watauga River in the shadow of the beautiful Grandfather Mountain, while enjoying a big variety of unique wines. Located at an elevation of 3,300 feet, their distinctive terroir and challenging level of elevation creates a flavor profile in the Appalachian High Country AVA. At the Tasting Room, choose from four tasting options with a variety of wines ranging from dry, sweet, sparkling and dessert style. Their vineyard grows 10+ different varietals of grapes, including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, St. Croix, Lando Noir, Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc. They are open every afternoon, seven days a week. Children and dogs are welcome. They have snacks, or you can bring your own picnic.

BANNER ELK WINERY

60 Deer Run Lane / Banner Elk, NC 28604
bannerelkwinery.com

Head to Banner Elk, just five miles from the Sugar Mountain entrance, for North Carolina High Country’s original winery. It is also one of the most acclaimed with many, many award-winning wines with new French-American and American varieties of grapes. Stop in for a tasting year round, open daily from noon until 6:00 PM. Find a laid back atmosphere and fun for the whole family, including your four-legged friends. During cooler months, the large tasting room is very inviting. Most folks take advantage of the big outdoor terrace and lawn with sunset views over the Blue Ridge. One of the favorite wines is their Banner Elk Blend, a dry Bordeaux style blended red wine. Their Seyval Blanc white wine is made from estate-grown French American hybrid grapes. Don’t miss their gold medal Cabernet Sauvignon, Heirloom Blend, Merlot, Sangiovese, Marechal Foch Reserve and the beloved Banner Elk White. Their Banner Elk Blueberry and Ice Wines make great souvenirs for porch sipping back home.

Linville Falls Winery

9557 Linville Falls Hwy / Newland, NC 28657
linvillefallswinery.com

Visit our Tuscan-inspired tasting room where you can experience our award winning High Country wines and sit back and relax in front of a roaring fire on our hand-laid Crabapple stone patio. Be sure to stroll the many trails throughout the 40 acre farm along with the 100 year old red barn. We’re open daily from 12 noon to 6 pm and conveniently located on Highway 221 in Linville Falls. To visit, it’s a short drive from Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone, Blowing Rock and Linville.

Activities

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster

wildernessrunalpinecoaster.com

New in 2020! The first Alpine Coaster in the North Carolina Mountains is located at the base of Sugar Mountain. Ride individual carts at speeds up to 27 MPH on multiple 360-degree loops. It’s a cross between a roller coaster and toboggan sled run. They are open every day year-round, including our winter ski season.

Sugar Creek Mining Company

3045 Tynecastle Hwy / Banner Elk, NC 286
sugarcreekgemmine.com

Mine your own North Carolina gemstones! Grab a bucket and our expert staff will set you up on our flume line, then our staff will help you pan your gems and identify them. If desired, our expert gem cutters can cut your rough gemstones and set it into a piece of jewelry.

Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine

13780 Hwy 226 South / Spruce Pine, NC 28777
gemmountain.com

Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine is nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, located 50 miles between Asheville and Boone, North Carolina. Situated right off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 331, Gem Mountain offers a fun, family-oriented attraction that your whole family will be sure to love! Charles and Kay Buchanan, owners and operators of Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine, are confident you will treasure the gem hunting experience! Many valuable gems are found each day and everyone walks away with something they love. Gem mining is fun for mom and dad…kids too! Our covered Flumes allow for prospecting rain or shine. Newly renovated, our modern gem washing facilities make it an easy and relaxing way to discover Earth’s treasures. We supply all of the necessary equipment needed. After you get done mining, your stones will be inspected free of charge. Experienced gem cutters are also on hand to cut and design jewelry from your finds.

Snowshoe Tours

Explore Sugar Mountain Resort’s winter wonderland with a Snowshoe Guided Tour. Tours range from a casual walk to an intense workout. Experienced guides accommodate your needs. Read more about snowshoe tours!

Sugar Mountain Tubing

Tube down 700-foot tubing lanes and return to the top via the Magic Carpet Lift! No experience needed and fun for all ages. Tube rental included. Located next to the ice skating rink.

Golf

Play on one of the best 18-hole public courses in Western North Carolina right here in Sugar Mountain. The par-64 layout maximizes every view and mountain brook. Green fees start at just $15.

Skiing & Snowboarding at Sugar Mountain

Skiing & Snowboarding at Sugar Mountain Find one of the South’s premier ski slopes, Sugar Mountain Resort. Choose from full day, half day, twilight or night sessions. Come as you are – equipment rentals and sports shop on-site. Beginners learn skiing & snowboarding at either the adult or children’s schools. Groups are welcome and childcare is available.

Ski Shack

2710 Tynecastle Hwy / Banner Elk, NC 28604
theskishacknc.com

You won’t find a better deal anywhere in the area on Ski and Snowboard equipment rentals …Guaranteed! And at THE SKI SHACK, we pride ourselves on great customer service and a quality product. Once you rent from us, you won’t want to go anywhere else! Everything you need for a day on Beech Mountain or Sugar Mountain. Guaranteed lowest prices on Ski and Snowboard rentals in the area. Stop by The Ski Shack in Banner Elk, and see why we were rated Best Customer Service in the area!

Sugar Creek Ski Rentals

3045 Tynecastle Hwy / Banner Elk, NC 28604
sugarcreekskirentals.com

At Sugar Creek ‘’Simply The Best Ski Rentals’’ we decided to knock down the walls of your traditional ski shop and establish North Americas most comprehensive online ski rental service. We were inspired by the idea of having our service revolve around our guests’ needs and consistently providing them with exceptional ski rental experiences. At Sugar Creek we provide the best equipment and outstanding service all at a location that is convenient to you.

Mountain biking

Each summer, the ski slopes at Sugar Mountain Resort are adapted to one of the most thrilling Bike Parks in the South. Ride the lift to the 5,236-foot summit and ride down 1,200 vertical feet on a network of trails.

Grandfather Mountain

The ultimate place to hike, see wildlife and walk across the Mile High Bridge. The trailhead to the famous Profile Trail is just two miles from the main Sugar entrance.

Whitewater Rafting

At the base of Sugar Mountain, find High Mountain Expeditions for rafting and kayaking trips on the Nolichucky River, Watauga River and Wilson Creek. Or go tubing on the New River.

Wahoo’s Adventures

3385 US-321 / Blowing Rock, NC 28605
wahoosadventures.com

WAHOO’S ADVENTURES is the High Country’s oldest and finest rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing and caving adventure company receiving two ‘Outfitter of the Year’ awards by the Professional Paddlesports Association and we are Voted #1 on TripAdvisor. Since 1978, Wahoo’s has offered the highest quality outdoor adventure experiences available east of the Rocky Mountains. We are Nationally acclaimed for safety, cuisine, and service, continually raising the bar in the Southeastern Paddlesports Industry. We guarantee the highest quality experiences with the most experienced guides at the LOWEST RATES in The High Country! We exclusively offer full service riverside outposts equipped with hot shower and restroom facilities, changing rooms, campsites and so much more! All ages and experience-levels welcome and any size group can be easily accommodated. We are located in The High Country, conveniently close to Asheville, Banner Elk, and Blowing Rock, NC, and Erwin, Johnson City, and Elizabethton, TN. When visiting the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina or Eastern Tennessee, a Wahoo’s Adventure is a MUST!

Hiking

So many great trails for all skill and fitness levels in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway – including Flat Top Trail and trails of Moses Cone Park.

High Mountain Expeditions

3149 Tynecastle Highway / Banner Elk, NC 28604
highmountainexpeditions.com

With over 30 years of experience in guiding adventurous travelers to some of the world’s most spectacular places, High Mountain Expeditions has crafted what we consider to be the best adventures in the world. We are experts in Nolichucky River Rafting, Watauga River Rafting, Wilson Creek Rafting, New River Tubing, Hiking and Caving. High Mountain Expeditions is dedicated to creating your perfect North Carolina or Tennessee adventure. In 1986, High Mountain Expeditions began taking families and adventure seekers alike to some of the most spectacular places in the U.S. Our early efforts helped create a whitewater rafting industry that now shares the beautiful outdoors of the North Carolina Mountains and Tennessee Wilderness with thousands of guests every summer. If you have never experienced North Carolina whitewater rafting – or any of High Mountain Expeditions off-river adventures such as Hiking, Caving or Mountain Biking feel free to explore our site and find the adventure that fits your needs. You can contact a member of our adventure consultant team and they can guide you through the process of arranging your next adventure with High Mountain Expeditions.

Linville Caverns, Inc.

19929 Highway 221 North / Marion, N.C. 28752
linvillecaverns.com

Located at the southern gateway to western NC’s High Country region, Linville Caverns is an ideal destination for visitors of all ages. The beauty of our mountains is echoed within Humpback Mountain and visitors are invited to explore the splendor and wonders nature created ‘’inside a mountain’’. For centuries, the marvels of Linville Caverns were unknown to man. In the early 1800’s a fishing expedition headed by Henry E. Colton, of eastern NC, were astounded to see fish swimming in and out of what appeared to be rather solid rock. A small opening in the mountainous terrain allowed them to enter the subterranean recess that is still home to native trout in an underground stream. Linville Caverns was opened for public touring in 1937. Since that time many upgrades to the pathways and lighting system have enhanced the safe touring experience that now exists. Courteous and experienced guides take you into the subterranean world, giving you the history of the caverns and allowing you to view the grand work of nature. We invite you to visit often and experience the beauty of these age-old mountains from the inside!

Waterfalls

Find some of the most beautiful waterfalls in our area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Linville Falls and Elk River Falls. See our guides for Linville Falls, Crab Orchard Falls and Otter Falls.

Rock Climbing

Learn from the pros from Edge of the World with climbing and rappelling in Little Lost Cove Cliffs in the Wilson Creek Wilderness Area.

Scenic Drives

Cruise the famous Blue Ridge Parkway or lesser traveled country roads for plenty of mountain scenery from your car. Stop along the way at overlooks and attractions.

Lift Rides

On summer weekends, ride the ski lift up to the top of Sugar Mountain. Take a picnic to enjoy the big views and hike out to the rocky summit.

Picnics

Pick up picnic goodies at one of our many restaurants or a grocery store, then head to the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Tate Park in Banner Elk or ride the lift to the top of Sugar.

Apple Hill Farm

400 Apple Hill Rd. / Banner Elk, N.C. 28604
applehillfarmnc.com

At Apple Hill Farm, take a guided walking tour to see a variety of farm animals and take home some Alpaca yarn, socks and more.

Visit our unique mountaintop alpaca farm and store, and connect to what matters – yourself, your family, a real farm experience. Apple Hill Farm is open year-round hosting a number of educational animal experiences, including guided walking tours of our working alpaca farm. On these tours, guests get up close and personal with the alpacas, llamas, donkeys, horses, goats and other animals that work and play at Apple Hill Farm. Every animal has a specific job, and many have a story as well! In addition to farm animals, Apple Hill Farm is also home to the largest selection of alpaca products in the High Country of North Carolina. With more than 20 varieties of alpaca yarn, gloves, scarves, socks, sweaters, vests and stuffed animals there is something for everyone.

Apple Hill Farm welcomes visitors all year long!

Tours:
2pm Daily Mid-May to Mid-October
2pm Wednesday and Saturday Mid-October to Mid-May

Events & Festivals

Free Weekly Concerts

Gather at the Golf & Tennis Club at Sugar Mountain every Wednesday night during the summer for free live music on the big deck – complete with dancing and inexpensive dinner option. See our calendar. Find plenty of other options for live music at wineries, restaurants and nearby towns.

July 4th Weekend

While many of the area 4th of July events have been cancelled for 2020, we will still have the morning Summit Crawl & Fireworks that night.

Fine Art & Master Crafts Festivals

July 17-19, 2020 / August 14-16, 2020 / September 11-13, 2020

New in 2020! This longtime favorite event has moved to Sugar Mountain for two weekends. These juried art festivals feature an eclectic gathering of unique hand-crafted wares from fine artists and master crafters.

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Will return in 2021!

The biggest event of the summer near Sugar Mountain is America’s grandest Scottish Games, held in a spectacular mountain setting reminiscent of Scotland. This very unique festival brings bagpipes, tartan plaids, multiple stages of live music, crafts, food and traditional wares. Watch continuous athletic competitions, dancing, piping parades, sheep dog demonstrations and much more.