Last Updated on September 27, 2022
Last Updated on September 27, 2022
And if they’re not right next to these wonderful mountain towns, rest assured that you can reach each one within a reasonable (if not short) drive.
For each of these Boone hikes, we’ll include length in miles and difficulty, based on our experiences. Length and difficulty levels (from Easy to Strenuous) will be listed after the first mention of individual trails.
We’ve ordered these trails by distance from Boone (closest to furthest away) and grouped them by category. Here’s how the guide is organized, with a couple of big-name hikes near Boone mentioned:
- Before You Go: Leave No Trace Reminder
- Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes near Boone (Linville Falls, Boone Fork via Julian Price Park, Beacon Heights, and More!)
- NC State Park Hikes near Boone (Elk Knob State Park, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, and More!)
- Linville Gorge Trails near Boone (Table Rock Mountain, Hawksbill Mountain, and More!)
- More Pisgah National Forest Hikes near Boone (Elk River Falls, Roan Mountain, and More!)
- More Hikes near Boone (Otter Falls, Glen Burney Trail, and More!)
Our travel map shares a visual representation of these hikes near Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk in case you’re hoping to save time.
Hikes near Boone (Travel Times and Organization)
Travel times from Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk are included and broken down by distance (in miles) and time. Times vary according to when you decide to travel, due to weather, traffic congestion, and other factors.
Also, many trails get very crowded throughout much of the year. If you visit and see that parking lots are full, please do NOT park in undesignated spaces and plan another time for your hike.
Read More: The Best North Carolina Road Trips
Leave NO Trace (and Stay On Path!)
Before we get into these hikes near Boone, it’s important to ask that you please leave no trace when visiting. That way the next person can enjoy them just as you did.
Also, stay on designated paths so you do not damage any of the fragile ecosystems that are trying to coexist with us humans.
Another reason to not venture off-path is that you could get lost or seriously injured. Deaths have been reported from many of these trails for failing to stay on the path.
Read More: 100+ Hiking Trails in North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes Near Boone
Moses H Cone Memorial Park (MP 294)
- Boone to Moses H Cone Memorial Park: 9 miles (15 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Bass Lake: 2 mile (5 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Bass Lake: 17 miles (30 minutes)
But before you move on, here are a few trails that we think you should check out.
- The Bass Lake Trail (not to be confused with the one in Holly Springs, Wake County) is actually a couple of easy hiking trails and parking is very close to downtown Blowing Rock.
- There’s a really easy loop (0.8 miles), though a longer option is The Maze (3 miles, Moderately Easy). The loop is wheelchair-accessible and especially good for strollers, which you’ll love if you’re traveling with a little one.
- The moderate Flat Top Mountain Fire Tower Trail (5.6 miles roundtrip) begins from Flat Top Manor. It’s an old carriage trail that ends at a fire tower. It might threaten your fear of heights (like ours) but the top offers incredible 360-degree views of Blowing Rock and the mountains all around. While the trail is long, the path is wide and not very steep. This hike near Blowing Rock takes you along a beautiful meadow and to plenty of stunning photo opportunities!
Read More: The Best NC Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes
Green Knob Trail (MP 295)
Trail Length: 2.3 mile loop | Difficulty: Easy
- Boone to Green Knob Trail: 11 miles (19 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Green Knob Trail: 3 miles (5 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Green Knob Trail: 15 miles (30 minutes)
The Green Knob Trail is another hiking trail really close to Blowing Rock. This one snakes along the Mountain to Sea Trail inside Pisgah National Forest.
You’ll begin this 2.3-mile trail at Sims Pond Overlook on the Parkway (MP 295.7), though there’s another option down the road at Sim’s Creek Overlook (295.2). Start at Sim’s Pond Overlook and go counter-clockwise on this loop for beautiful wildflowers and dense forests.
You’ll pass through rhododendrons, wide-open pastures, creeks, and more.
Read More: Great Hikes Near Asheville
Boone Fork Trail via Julian Price Park (MP 296)
- Boone to Boone Fork Trail: 10 miles (20 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Boone Fork Trail: 10 miles (26 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Boone Fork Trail: 12 miles (23 minutes)
With a hawk feather-shaped blaze to acknowledge its meaning in Cherokee, the 13.5-mile Tanawha Trail (Moderately Easy) is made up of a few wonderful hikes near Boone.
Boone Fork Trail (5.2-mile loop) is many people’s favorite because of all of the beautiful flora that awaits. You’ll start at Julian Price Park Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 296) and cross a variety of terrains.
The trail will take you through rhododendron-covered paths, wooded areas, and even a few bouldery waterfalls!
Cascades Falls at EB Jeffress Park (MP 272)
- Boone to EB Jeffress Park: 15 miles (21 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to EB Jeffress Park: 21 miles (32 minutes)
- Banner Elk to EB Jeffress Park: 33 miles (51 minutes)
Cascades Falls is one of our favorite hikes near Boone and one of many we also discuss in our guide to waterfalls in the area. The get started, you’ll park at EB Jeffress Park just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 272).
The namesake 35-foot waterfall awaits along a short one-mile loop. There are a couple of levels for you to watch it, and you’ll agree that this one is absolutely worth the relatively easy to moderate walk.
Back at EB Jeffress Park, you can enjoy lunch at one of the picnic tables that overlook mountains and valleys below.
Also, unlike many of the other hikes near Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk in this guide, this one offers plenty of parking and restrooms to go with those picnic tables.
Rough Ridge Trail (MP 303)
- Boone to Rough Ridge Trail: 18 miles (31 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Rough Ridge Trail: 11 miles (17 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Rough Ridge Trail: 14 miles (24 minutes)
One of the best hikes near Boone for Blue Ridge Mountain views is the Rough Ridge Trail (1.5 miles roundtrip). It’s a popular hiking trail, especially for sunset, but we enjoyed taking in the sunrise from there, too.
Rough Ridge is a quick climb up, which is what makes this a moderate hike. We’ve mentioned this already but with Rough Ridge, but the ecosystem here is especially fragile.
It is VERY important for you to stay on the path to preserve it.
Beacon Heights Overlook Trail (MP 305)
- Boone to Beacon Heights Overlook Trail: 21 miles (34 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Beacon Heights Overlook Trail: 15 miles (29 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Beacon Heights Overlook Traills: 12 miles (20 minutes)
The Beacon Heights Overlook Trail (0.5 miles roundtrip) is probably the shortest and easiest Tanawha Trail hike, making it ideal for kids. Its parking area is on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 305) and is popular throughout much of the year.
The half-mile round hike ends on a bald rock face, which provides stunning views of the mountains beyond. Some prominent peaks that you can see include Grandfather and Grandmother mountains, as well as Table Rock and Hawksbill.
Linville Falls (MP 316)
- Boone to Linville Falls Visitor Center: 29 miles (44 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Linville Falls Visitor Center: 26 miles (39 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Linville Falls Visitor Center: 19 miles (30 minutes)
Three incredible viewing areas for Linville Falls in Pisgah National Forest await along Erwin’s View Trail (1.6-mile round trip, Easy). This is easily one of North Carolina’s most popular waterfalls, featuring two levels of cascades that flow over a rocky outcrop.
And if you want to get an up-close view of the falls, the 1.4-mile Plunge Basin Trail is a moderate, yet rewarding adventure.
Continue reading below for more Linville Gorge hikes near Boone.
Grassy Creek Falls
- Boone to Grassy Creek Falls: 77 miles (1 hour 33 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Grassy Creek Falls: 43 miles (1 hour 7 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Grassy Creek Falls: 36 miles (56 minutes)
Some reports differ but we’ve personally verified with a local business owner that the falls are open. Please let us know if this changes.
You can reach this waterfall after a mile walk from the parking lot, or a little longer from your room at the Switzerland Inn. You can get a closer look from the base of the waterfall via steep and narrow paths.
Please be careful when venturing down and again, please be respectful and leave no trace.
Crabtree Falls Trail (MP 339)
- Boone to Crabtree Falls: 51 miles (1 hour 16 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Crabtree Falls: 48 miles (1 hour 12 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Crabtree Falls: 41 miles (1 hour)
Crabtree Falls is a 65-foot waterfall that rushes over mossy rocks and fallen logs. It’s incredibly popular and photogenic, which is why you must arrive as early as possible to get good photos.
The trailhead sits at milepost 340 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the 2.6-mile loop is considered strenuous, mainly because of some steep and rocky sections.
Some folks go out and back on this trail but we recommend doing the loop. This route may be longer, but the return trip is much easier (and more scenic) after a steep climb out.
Read More: The Most Beautiful Waterfalls near Asheville
NC State Parks Hikes near Boone
Elk Knob State Park
- Boone to Elk Knob State Park: 11 miles (19 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Elk Knob State Park: 18 miles (32 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Elk Knob State Park: 28 miles (48 minutes)
Elk Knob State Park in Meat Camp is one of our newest state parks, with nicely maintained trails that you’ll love. Volunteers came together in 2011 to help build the trails and the park is still open to volunteers helping with other park projects.
With a change in elevation of 1,000 feet, the climb to sweeping vistas on the park’s Summit Trail (3.8 miles round trip, Strenuous) is steady and windy. There are two overlooks at the top, which include views of Grandfather Mountain, Mount Jefferson, Mount Mitchell, and more.
Other fun hiking trails at Elk Knob State Park include the Backcountry Trail (4 miles round trip, Moderate) and the Beech Tree Trail (1-mile loop, Easy). The latter is a Kid’s TRACK Trail.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
- Boone to Profile Trail: 13 miles (22 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Profile Trail: 13 miles (26 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Profile Trail: 7 miles (13 minutes)
The highest mountain on the Grandfather ridgeline, Calloway Peak via the strenuous Profile Trail (7.6 miles) is one of the most stunning views. The change in elevation is over 2,000 feet so this isn’t a simple walk in Grandfather Mountain State Park.
While it is free to park, permits are required and can be found at the trailhead’s shelter. The trail is out and back and definitely a rocky scramble, so be prepared with proper attire.
If you are looking to find easier access to the eastern side of Grandfather Mountain, the Asutsi Trail (0.8 miles roundtrip) is a great option.
Meaning “bridge” in Cherokee, the Asutsi is a short 0.4 miles one way and connects to the Boone Fork Trail parking area. The trail begins on US 221, and is the only winter access to the connected Nuwati Trail (2.4 miles round trip, Easy) when the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed.
More hikes near Boone inside Grandfather Mountain State Park include the Daniel Boone Scout Trail (6 miles round trip, Strenuous) and the Grandfather Trail (4.8 miles round trip, Strenuous).
Read More: Delicious Restaurants in Boone
- Boone to Grandfather Mountain: 19 miles (32 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Grandfather Mountain: 11 miles (19 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Grandfather Mountain: 13 miles (23 minutes)
Writing about Grandfather Mountain is tricky because there’s a FREE section managed by North Carolina State Parks and an admission-required section (roughly 720 acres) that the non-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation maintains.
The ticketed section of Grandfather is what we’ll focus on here. There are a number of hiking trails inside the park, but most folks go for the 228-foot long Mile High Swinging Bridge. You can easily access it by car and elevator.
However, you can also park below and hike to the bridge. It’s 0.35 miles from your parking spot.
Read More: Day Trips from Boone
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area
- Boone to Mount Jefferson State Natural Area: 26 miles (32 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Mount Jefferson State Natural Area: 33 miles (43 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Mount Jefferson State Natural Area: 43 miles (59 minutes)
You can drive to Mount Jefferson’s summit and enjoy beautiful views of its surroundings. But, first, of course, you should hop on one of the park’s five fairly short yet difficult hiking trails.
You can stare out toward Virginia and Tennessee from the Jefferson Overlook. The kid-friendly TRACK trail (1.1 miles) runs from the summit to Luther Rock. From Luther Rock, you can see the New River to the east on clear days.
Stone Mountain State Park
- Boone to Stone Mountain State Park: 55 miles (1 hour 11 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Stone Mountain State Park: 61 miles (1 hour 22 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Stone Mountain State Park: 73 miles (1 hour 41 minutes)
Personally, I like starting from the Upper Trailhead Parking that is closest to the falls. However, the Lower Trailhead Parking on the opposite is nice, too, for its proximity to the Hutchinson Homestead.
If you want to extend your time on the loop, you can via the Cedar Rock Trail (2 miles round trip, Moderate), Wolf Rock Trail (3 miles round trip, Moderate), and the Middle Falls/Lower Falls Trail (1-mile round trip, Moderate).
Away from the loop is the strenuous Widow’s Creek Trail (5 miles round trip). We also think you should know about Widow’s Creek Falls (the Park’s most beautiful!) just before that Widow’s Creek Trailhead parking lot.
Lake James State Park
- Boone to Lake James State Park: 55 miles (1 hour 18 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Lake James State Park: 49 miles (1 hour 5 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Lake James State Park: 36 miles (48 minutes)
Lake James State Park sits at the base of the most rugged terrain in North Carolina, and offers sparkling blue waters perfect for boating.
There are also some really cool hikes near Boone here!
One of them is the multi-use Fonta Flora State Trail, which snakes 19 miles and loops around Lake James. The Fonta Flora is popular for mountain bikers but hikers are also welcome.
Read More: The Best Day Trips from Asheville
South Mountains State Park
- Boone to South Mountains State Park: 58 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to South Mountains State Park: 51 miles (1 hour 11 minutes)
- Banner Elk to South Mountains State Park: 58 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
South Mountains State Park is also the largest North Carolina state park with 20,871 acres of preserved land. It displays the same rocky features as the nearby Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, but state officials have made it more accessible.
Still, there are quite a few lengthy trails in this park, making it one you can explore forever. The park’s most popular feature is the 80-foot High Shoals Falls that sits along a 2.7-mile loop.
Mount Mitchell State Park
- Boone to Mount Mitchell State Park: 66 miles (1 hour 41 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Mount Mitchell State Park: 63 miles (1 hour 38 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Mount Mitchell State Park: 57 miles (1 hour 27 minutes)
Mount Mitchell State Park is where you’ll find the highest peak east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet. While you can hike to the top of Mount Mitchell and have the rush of accomplishment, you can also drive to a nearby trailhead and quickly summit.
The 1/4-mile paved accessible trail leads to an observation deck with panoramic views.
Another great hiking trail in the park is the Deep Gap Trail, which runs 4.3 miles through Mount Craig, the second-highest peak.
One thing to appreciate and be mindful of is the area’s higher altitude. This means flora and fauna mimic that of colder climates.
It also means that the weather can be unpredictable and change fast.
Linville Gorge Trails near Boone
We shared Linville Falls already but will feature more Linville Gorge Wilderness Area hikes near Boone here. This protected space in Burke County is one of the most rugged places you’ll find anywhere.
It is managed by Pisgah National Forest, but due to the Gorge’s status as a protected Wilderness Area, some of the trails here aren’t very well marked.
Here are a few that will likely not get you lost, as they’re the best-maintained trails of the bunch.
Hawksbill Mountain Trail
Trail Length: 1.5 miles round trip | Difficulty: Moderate
- Boone to Hawksbill Mountain Trailhead: 32 miles (52 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Hawksbill Mountain Trailhead: 29 miles (51 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Hawksbill Mountain Trailhead: 22 miles (39 minutes)
Hawksbill Mountain Trail is one of many hikes that offers beautiful views of the Linville Gorge. And on clear days, you can see the Charlotte skyline!
The hike takes you up and down about 700 feet in elevation and is perfect for peak fall colors. It’s the first of two Linville Gorge hikes that lie along State Road 1265 (also known as Table Rock Rd). Can you guess what the second one might be?
Note that the road is unpaved and not well maintained, so it is not recommended for a low-clearance car. However, we did well while driving slowly up in a Prius!
Trail Length: 0.4 miles round trip | Difficulty: Easy
- Boone to Wiseman’s View: 33 miles (1 hour 2 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Wiseman’s View: 30 miles (1 hour)
- Banner Elk to Wiseman’s View: 23 miles (48 minutes)
Wiseman’s View might not be considered much of a hike, since it’s one of the shortest in our guide. But it absolutely belongs because of the incredible views of the Gorge that await.
Wiseman’s two stone observation areas peer down and out into the Linville Gorge and even offer incredible views of Hawksbill and Table Rock. As a bonus, this is one of the few hikes with accessible viewing areas and a bathroom at the parking area.
The road to Wiseman’s View (Kistler Memorial Highway) is rough, but we’ve managed to get up there in a Toyota Camry. The road is a fun ride if you have an SUV, though.
Table Rock Mountain Trail
Trail Length: 2.2 miles round trip | Difficulty: Strenuous
- Boone to Table Rock Mountain Trailhead: 36 miles (1 hour 13 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Table Rock Mountain Trailhead: 34 miles (1 hour 11 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Table Rock Mountain Trailhead: 27 miles (59 minutes)
Table Rock Mountain is the second trail along Table Rock Rd, five miles from the Hawksbill trailhead. And like its neighbor, this 3,930-foot peak also offers sweeping views of the Linville Gorge.
Your hike to the top will be sometimes steep but is rewarding at the top. As we mentioned earlier, the road to the trailhead is quite bumpy, so take it slow and easy.
More Pisgah National Forest Hikes near Boone
The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area is one of the best parts of Pisgah National Forest, but there are even more hikes near Boone within exploring here.
China Creek Trail
- Boone to China Creek: 10 miles (20 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to China Creek: 3 miles (5 minutes)
- Banner Elk to China Creek: 17 miles (34 minutes)
The China Creek Trail (5.2 miles roundtrip) was built in the 1920s by the Mayview Manor Hotel. It was an invitation to guests seeking a deeper experience of the beautiful and clear China Creek and Thunderhole Creek.
While the hotel is no longer around, this easy trail has long remained a popular Blowing Rock hike.
Read More: Delicious Blowing Rock Restaurants
Upper Creek Falls
Trail Length: 1 mile round trip | Difficulty: Moderrate
- Boone to Upper Creek Falls: 29 miles (42 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Upper Creek Falls: 26 miles (39 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Upper Creek Falls: 19 miles (28 minutes)
Upper Creek Falls is closest to Banner Elk and on hot days, this is the perfect swimming hole!
The 80-foot cascading waterfall drops over a gradual slope and even has a rope for some Tarzan-esque fun. If you do visit, please be careful and don’t go alone. There is no lifeguard on duty so please act responsibly.
Elk River Falls
- Boone to Elk River Falls: 30 miles (52 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Elk River Falls: 32 miles (54 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Elk River Falls: 12 miles (23 minutes)
Elk River Falls (2/3 miles roundtrip) might be one of the most photogenic waterfalls near Banner Elk, and the hike to this 50-foot plunging waterfall is an easy one. that we highly recommend! It is a short quarter of a mile trail to the falls with some steep steps.
Bring your swimsuit, too, as the water on the other side of the main falls pool is a popular place to hop in the cool mountain water! Just no jumping off the falls, please. Serious injuries and deaths have been reported here.
Tom’s Creek Falls
- Boone to Tom’s Creek Falls: 46 miles (1 hour 3 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Tom’s Creek Falls: 43 miles (1 hour 1 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Tom’s Creek Falls: 36 miles (49 minutes)
The 80-foot two-tiered waterfall flows into a rocky riverbed below. The Tom’s Creek Falls hike is one of few with an accessible trail and observation deck!
Roan Mountain via Carvers Gap
- Boone to Carvers Gap: 44 miles (1 hour 9 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Carvers Gap: 46 miles (1 hour 11 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Carvers Gap: 26 miles (39 minutes)
Roan Mountain is a wonderful series of summits that sit along the North Carolina-Tennessee border. There are more than five summits here, with a mix of grassy balds and rocky outcrops.
Both can be experienced from the Carvers Gap entrance. Follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail and you’ll be treated to some of the most beautiful views of North Carolina’s portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Read More: National Parks Sites in North Carolina
Roaring Fork Falls
- Boone to Roaring Fork Falls: 58 miles (1 hour 28 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Roaring Fork Falls: 55 miles (1 hour 25 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Roaring Fork Falls: 49 miles (1 hour 12 minutes)
In fact, you can hike to Roaring Fork Falls and its neighbor Setrock Creek Falls (read below) on the same day. First, you’ll need to reach Roaring Fork Falls, which is more of a stroll than a hike.
The path is mostly flat and paved, though, as it was once a fairly active forest service road. In the end, you’ll be treated to a 100-foot long cascade that weaves along the rocks, framed by rhododendrons and greenery.
Boone to Catawba Falls: 64 miles (1 hour 29 minutes)
Blowing Rock to Catawba Falls: 70 miles (1 hour 21 minutes)
Banner Elk to Catawba Falls: 55 miles (1 hour 15 minutes)
Catawba Falls is a three-tiered waterfall in Old Fort (McDowell County), on the eastern outskirts of Asheville. It’s a bit out of the way, compared to these other hikes near Boone, but absolutely breathtaking and worthy of a spot in this guide!
The 100-foot waterfall is reachable after a 1.5-mile trek through moss-covered, shady forest.
Read More: Amazing I-40 Exits in North Carolina
Setrock Creek Falls
- Boone to Setrock Creek Falls: 61 miles (1 hour 36 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Setrock Creek Falls: 58 miles (1 hour 33 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Setrock Creek Falls: 52 miles (1 hour 20 minutes)
Setrock Creek Falls is just down South Toe River Road from Roaring Fork Falls. The 75-foot waterfall is reachable after an easy, short hike.
To and from the waterfall is a mostly flat 1-mile path. The trail originates at the Black Mountain Campground.
The parking lot may look full when you arrive, but don’t let that scare you away.
The hike and falls might not be as crowded for multiple reasons.
One reason is that the campground serves as the trailhead for the 12-mile round trip Old Mitchell Hike that’ll take you to the summit of Mount Mitchell.
More Hikes near Boone
Glen Burney Trail
- Boone to Glen Burney Falls: 8 miles (16 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Glen Burney Falls: 0.3 miles (2 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Glen Burney Falls: 18 miles (33 minutes)
Just down the hill from Main St in Blowing Rock is the Glen Burney Trail. It’s an awesome 3.2 mile roundtrip hike that leads to three beautiful waterfalls.
You’ll hike down and back up through the dense forest along the way, and at times, feelings of isolation will definitely kick in! Many folks love the Glen Burney Trail, so try to get there early because the path can get crowded on busy days.
Read More: The Historic Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock
Otter Falls Trail
- Boone to Otter Falls: 13 miles (23 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Otter Falls: 13 miles (27 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Otter Falls: 9 miles (17 minutes)
Located in the resort community of Seven Devils, Otter Falls (1.2 miles roundtrip) is a relatively new trail and not as popular as the others.
If you visit early in the morning and have it to yourself, the waters of Otter Falls will make you feel like you’ve ventured into a truly magical place.
The trails may seem confusing, so take a picture of the trail map before you leave. No matter what, just keep heading down and toward the sound of water and you’ll get there. Trust me!
Read More: Ski Resorts in North Carolina
Crab Orchard Falls
- Boone to Crab Orchard Falls: 13 miles (26 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Crab Orchard Falls: 13 miles (26 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Crab Orchard Falls: 6 miles (12 minutes)
Crab Orchard Falls sits about five minutes away from the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, which by the way, is another fun place to visit in the area if you’ve never been.
Back to the waterfall, though, which is slow, gentle, and cold to make this one of the most worthwhile places to go hiking near Banner Elk. The steep one-mile round trip trail starts at the Valle Crucis Conference Center, in case you’re having a hard time finding it by GPS.
- Boone to Carter Falls: 59 miles (1 hour 8 minutes)
- Blowing Rock to Carter Falls: 65 miles (1 hour 19 minutes)
- Banner Elk to Carter Falls: 76 miles (1 hour 33 minutes)
Thanks to the well-connected trail system in Elkin, there are actually a few ways you can reach Carter Falls. However, the shortest hike is from the Carter Falls Trailhead, a half-mile from the waterfall.
You can hop on the Powerhouse Trail and make it a mile-long loop back to the parking lot or backtrack via the Carter Falls Trail. However, the Powerhouse Trail will also take you by the also-beautiful Lower Falls section.
After your hike, don’t forget to grab a meal at one of these delicious restaurants in Elkin!
Ready for These Wonderful Hikes near Boone?
Believe it or not, there are more awesome hikes near Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk, so we’re going to continue exploring this area. If you’ve visited some of these hikes, we’d love to know which are your favorites. Is there one we left out?
And for anyone who’s never been to this area, what’s the first path that calls to you? Let us know in the comments!