Top Hiking Trails near Boone NC

Boone NC is well known by visitors for its attractions, beautiful scenery, quaint and historic downtown, and also as the location for Appalachian State University.   Boone is a popular vacation destination in the "High Country" of the Blue Ridge Mountains.   

In addition to the numerous outdoor activities available in and around Boone NC, Boone is also a very popular destination point for hikers due to the numerous hiking trails near Boone NC.  

We enjoy visiting and hiking in and around Boone.  Here are our top 12 top picks for hiking trails near Boone NC

1 - Goshen River Trail

Goshen River Trail

This 3.1 mile out and back trail is moderate and somewhat challenging withe the large amount of rocks at the beginning.  The trail is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  You'll climb two gates to get on the trail, which follows alongside and up to the Goshen Branch.

The first section of the trail is very rocky, but later turns into a more normal trail with only a few rocks and roots.  You'll go up a steady incline, as the trail follows alongside the beautiful Goshen Branch.   You'll have several small creek crossings along the way. 

At the half-way point is a 20 - 30 foot wide with stepping-stones.  Hiking poles are very handy on this section for added balance.

The trail then descends to a small field, and bridge on the far end that crosses a stream.   You'll turn around at the dead-end and return the way you came. 

 The trail is very beautiful and enchanting with the sounds of the creek.  In the spring, you'll find numerous wildflowers, including Trillium and Trout Lilys.  

To access the trailhead, pull off right before the bridge, where you'll see a Mountains to Sea (MST) trail marker showing.  Again, you'll need to climb over two gates as you pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass to the start of the actual trail. 

2 - Boone Fork Trail

Boone Fork Trail

Photo by Helga Kleinert

Boone Fork trail is a 5-mile roundtrip loop trail located at Julian Price Park, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone NC.   The trail is moderate in difficulty and best for more experienced hikers.

This popular and beautiful train, takes you through pastures full of spring and summer wildflowers, through boulder fields, and over crystal clear mountain creeks.   Along the way, you'll see many small cascades and waterfalls, and be able to visit Hebron Falls.

The hike begins from the picnic area of Julian Price Park (you'll park here as well).  You'll cross the foot bridge, near the restroom facilities.  We recommend hiking the loop counter clockwise (go to the right after the bridge).

The first 3 miles you'll hike along Boone Fork, with a number of cress crossings.  We definitely recommend the extra 1 mile side-trip to Hebron Falls.

The next two miles will have far less people, and you'll hike through old growth forest, and numerous creek crossings, followed by a meadow.  You finish up where you started.

3 - Rocky Knob Park Trail

Elk Knob Summit Trail

For those serious hikers out there that are looking for a challenging hike, this is the hike for you.  

This is a 4 mile roundtrip and strenuous hike that will take you up to a summit, with a 961 ft elevation gain, over 1.9 miles.   The average incline is 11%.

The summit at the top provides incredible views of The Peak, Three Top and Bluff Mountains, Mount Jefferson, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Mt Rodgers (Va.), and the Iron Mountains in Virginia and Tennessee.

The trailhead is located at in Elk Knob State Park, off Old Woods Rd about 10 miles from downtown Boone NC.

4 - Glen Burney Trail

Glen Burney Trail Blowing Rock NC

Glen Burney Trail is a 2.3 mile roundtrip, out and back hiking trail located near Blowing Rock NC.  The trail is rated moderate in difficulty.  The trail features two different waterfalls, Glen Burney Falls and just a little ways further is Glen Marie falls.

The trail is easy going to Glen Burney Falls, but you'll want to watch your footing due to excessive roots and rock.  The hike back out is more difficult.  This trail is often very muddy, so come prepared.

The trailhead is located in Blowing Rock NC, next to the Mayview Lake and the Annie Cannon Park with easy public access.  Due to it literally being in the middle of town, the trail is very popular and busy.  Dogs are allowed, on leashes.

5 - Greenway Trail

Boone NC Greenway Trail

Very close to the town center, and part of the town of Boone NC itself is the beautiful Greenway Trail.   This trail is popular with both visitors and locals, and will take you alongside the south fork of the New River.   

This 3.1 mile loop trail is ideal for everyone, including hikers, cyclists, and is ADA accessible.   It's the perfect trail for families looking to get the kids outdoors to burn off some energy as well.  For more experienced and hard-core hikers, looking for that epic hiking challenge, this trail is probably not of interest to you.   

Along the trail, there is a historic ruin, lots of benches for resting, picnic tables and shelters, and signs about natural and human history.

Dogs are allowed on the trail, but must be on leash and picked up after.

While the trail is literally in the town of Boone itself, while on the trail, you'll feel like you're miles away, as the trail's peaceful streams and surrounding forest pull you away from the town and into nature.

The best parking area for the Greenway Trail is located at Clawson-Burnley Park, across from the National Guard Armory.

6 - Linville Falls Trail

Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls is a beautiful and popular destination for visitors.  The area features two 3 main hiking trails, one of them being Erwins View Trail.

This 1.6 mile hike moderate hike, will take you through beautiful woods, and alongside the Linville River.  The trail features multiple scenic overlooks, and will also take you to the upper portion of Linville Falls where the water divides and spills over two cascades, before merging again and plunging 45 feet down lower Linville Falls, which isn't visible from the first main overlook.

If you continue down the trail, you'll be greeted with multiple overlooks that feature views of both upper and lower Linville Falls.

There is an additional trail that is more strenuous, that takes you to the base of lower Linville Falls, and also a nice and short moderate trail that takes you to Dugger's Creek Falls.

7 - Brookshire Park Loop Trail

Brookshire Park Loop Trail

This really nice 2.8 mile loop trail is located in Brookshire Park near the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex on Brookshire Road in Boone NC at Appalachian State University.  The park also has a picnic shelter and restrooms as well.

the trail is a winding and paved path through Brookshire Park in the town of Boone NC.   The first part of the trail is paved, but later gets more steep and is a rock/gravel base.  The upper portion of the trail gets a bit steep on some places, so the trail s rated moderate.

The trail provides great views at the top! 

8 - Bass Lake Loop

Bass Lake Loop Trail

Photo by: l.hutton

This hike is a very easy hike, and just short of 1 mile at .9 miles.  The trail takes you around beautiful Bass Lake, and provides views of Cone Manor House as well.

The trail weaves in and out alongside the lakeshore.  The trail is very flat, and both stroller and handicap accessible.

The trailhead is located off US 221, about one half-mile south of the US 221 junction in Blowing Rock NC.  From the Blue Ridge Parkway, exit at Milepost 294.6 to US 221 and turn left toward Blowing Rock NC.  About a mile down, are the trailheads, located at the Bass Lake Parking area.

9 - Cascades Trail

The Cascades Trail

This is an easy 1-mile loop hike, that begins at Cascades Overlook at Milepost 271.9.   The trailhead begins just beside the restrooms.  The trail begins paved, but becomes gravel.  Take the right pathway for the loop, and descend through the woods to Falls Creek.   You'll reach a trail junction, go right down some steeper stairs to two really nice overlooks of the cascades along Falls Creek.

You'll continue on the loop on the way back to return to the trailhead and parking area.

10 - Rough Ridge Trail

Rough Ridge

Photo by: Making Memories Photography

Probably one of the best and most popular trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Rough Ridge Trail takes you up above the Parkway, near Linn Cove Viaduct for exceptional views.   This 1.5 mile roundtrip trail is actually part of the longer 13.5 mile Tanawha Trail.

Your hike begins at the trailhead, located at MP302.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.   You'll hike until you reach the Tanawha trail, where you will go left.  

The hike up isn't that long, but you do gain a significant amount of elevation, making this a moderate to strenuous hike.   You'll reach the first wooden observation deck at the 1/3 mile mark.  

To continue on up to the summit, take the trail at end of the walkway, up another 1/2 mile.  You'll reach the summit for incredible long range views at  4,773 feet in elevation.

11 - Grandfather Trail

Grandfather Trail

Photo courtesy of Grandfather Mountain

The "hike of hikes" near Boone NC is the Grandfather Trail, located on Grandfather Mountain.  This strenuous, and technically challenging hike will have you hanging onto cables and climbing ladders to the highest points on Grandfather mountain.

The hike is only for experienced hikers, and not for the feint of heart due to the high elevation sections.  Grandfather trail is 4.8 miles roundtrip, and rated strenuous.  The most steep sections of the trail will require you to use in-place cables and ladders. If you are afraid of heights, this is NOT the trail for you. 

The trailhead is located near the top of Grandfather mountain from the Top Shop Parking area.  This is the same parking area you use to access the Mile High Swinging Bridge.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life and an accomplished author who has many years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of the eastern United States. He has a deep passion for nature, history, and storytelling, and has combined these interests to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a guide to this stunning area that he calls home.

With over 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, Larry has established himself as a leading voice in the field of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has published numerous articles and guides in online publications.

In addition to his writing, Larry is an avid hiker, photographer, and conservationist. He is committed to preserving the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains for future generations and has worked to promote environmental awareness and sustainability in the region.

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