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Glen Burney Trail in Blowing Rock (A Beautiful 3-Waterfall Hike in the High Country)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on September 20, 2023.

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The Glen Burney Trail in Blowing Rock is an amazing hike and leads to not one, but three of the most magical waterfalls in the High Country. The 3.1-mile trek will take you down and back up through the dense forest.

You will feel so far away from the Annie Cannon Park Gardens across the street.

This trail is very popular and if you have never been before, we’re here to help with directions, tips from multiple hikes here, and photos of all three waterfalls.

Read More: 25+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Boone (within 2 Hours)

The Glen Burney Trail in Blowing Rock

Background (Origins and Today)

Glen Burney Trail

The Glen Burney Trail is believed to have been originally developed in the mid-1800. It was used by Native American hunters and then by logging companies.

Today, the trail is a beautiful and easy escape just off the beaten path from downtown Blowing Rock. The Appalachian State University Blue Ridge Conservancy Student Group keeps the trail clear of trash and makes annual improvements.

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Location and Directions

Glen Burney waterfall hike

The address to the Glen Burney Falls Trailhead is 243 Laurel Lane. For visual learners, our map at the bottom of this post shares the location of the Glen Burney Trail and some nearby places in and around Blowing Rock.

If you’d rather find the trail without GPS, head downtown and find Laurel Lane off of Main Street. The trailhead will be on your left with limited parking, but there is a parking garage on your right if the lot is full.

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The Glen Burney Trail Hike

The Glen Burney Trail is much easier going down than up.

The total change in elevation is just over 800 feet and it happens rather quickly. While the trail’s difficulty is listed as “moderate,” we found it to be among the most strenuous of the waterfall hikes near Boone and Blowing Rock.

Read More: The Best Day Trips from Boone

Our Recommended Route

Our recommendation is for you to head straight to the bottom and last waterfall, Glen Marie. Then hike your way back up with breaks at Glen Burney and Cascades.

Highlights of the Hike

The Glen Burney Trail starts out slow and easy with a moderate decline. At approximately a quarter of a mile, the trail becomes steeper and rockier, with more exposed roots.

However, The trail is well marked and easy to navigate as you pass over the creek and walk by beautiful homes.

Read More: 13 Amazing Restaurants in Banner Elk and Nearby (+ Where to Drink!)

The Ruins

The Ruins Glen Burney Trail

The first Glen Burney Trail landmark sits about half a mile from the trailhead. It’s the ruins of an old sewage treatment station from 1929.

This assembly of concrete blocks that have been mossed over and steps that descend are all that is left. You’ll first see it from the top. The trail will then descend and switch back so you will pass the bottom of the ruins.

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The Cascades

The first Glen Burney waterfall you'll hear and see is the Cascades.

Of course, you (and we) came to see waterfalls, right? Just kidding. The journey is the real destination, as they say, and the Cascades is the first waterfall that you see on the Glen Burney Trail about 0.7 miles into it.

The view from the top is stunning and tempting but the bottom of the falls offers a better view looking up at it.

Caution: We do not recommend every hiker head to the bottom of the falls. If you do, please wear proper footwear and practice absolute caution.

Read More: 30+ Great Things to Do in Boone (Hikes, Eats, and More in App Town)

Glen Burney Falls

Glen Burney Falls is the easiest waterall to reach and most beautiful in our opinion.

After one mile of hiking, Glen Burney Falls is the next waterfall that you will encounter. There is a side path to the right that has a newly constructed observation deck to view the top of the falls.

Continue on to the bottom of the falls by taking a right at the intersection. the waterfall will be a short distance from this fork in the road.

Glen Burney Falls flows 50 feet over a gradual rock face that is covered in moss. New Years Creek streams down the front and hikers can get close to the falls.

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Glen Marie Falls

Glen Marie Falls Blowing Rock NC

Continue back to the intersection and descend deeper into the forest to reach Glen Marie Falls. Many reach the top of this waterfall and turn around, but it is possible to continue down to the bottom.

Glen Marie is a 3-tiered 75-foot waterfall, but the upper sections of the falls are not visible from the bottom.  

Read More: 25+ Amazing Waterfalls near Banner Elk (within 2 Hours’ Drive)

Backtracking to Blowing Rock

The Cascades on Glen Burney Trail
Looking down on me looking up at the Cascades.

We think the Glen Burney Trail Blowing Rock is one of the best waterfall hikes in Western North Carolina. It’s perfect whether you’re in town for a day trip from Asheville, spending the weekend in Boone or Blowing Rock (relaxing at luxurious places like Chetola Resort).

We recommend going early in the morning to spend your afternoon relaxing, taking Glen Burney Falls trail photos, strolling around Blowing Rock, or exploring the rest of the High Country.

Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)

Places Near the Glen Burney Trail

Blowing Rock

Town Tavern is one of the best Blowing Rock restaurants and really close to Glen Burney.

And speaking of Blowing Rock, the Glen Burney Falls Trailhead sits just off Main St, across the street from Annie Cannon Gardens. The main reason we recommend an early Glen Burney Trail hike is so you can work up an appetite to eat at one of our favorite Blowing Rock restaurants afterward.

Town Tavern is one place that’s close to the trailhead and their burgers are perfect following the hike!

Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Linn Cove Viaduct near Blowing Rock North Carolina
Linn Cove Viaduct.

You may have come into Blowing Rock via the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of our all-time favorite roads in North Carolina.

The mountain area and State parks around Blowing Rock is one of our favorite sections of the road, as you’ll find some amazing stops in either direction:

Read More: The Best NC Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes

More Things to Do in Blowing Rock (Beyond the Glen Burney Trail)

2 thoughts on “Glen Burney Trail in Blowing Rock (A Beautiful 3-Waterfall Hike in the High Country)”

  1. Hi, that’s pretty impressive to carry your child on this trail. I hiked the full trail on 1/23/24 to see the frozen falls and the trail was definitely difficult to treacherous. I’m an avid hiker, but even for me, this wasn’t easy bc of the icy, snowy and muddy conditions. I didn’t give up, but man, I could see how less experienced hikers would have a difficult time with this hike in BR.

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