Trail head: approximately 9.5 miles north of Boone. Take Hwy 194
Elk Knob State Park
5564 Meat Camp Road
Todd, NC 28684
Camping reservation: 828-297-7261
After turning a right into the state park at the top of the mountain. You will follow a gravel road for a bit then park in the parking lot.
Distance: 3.8 miles out and back
GPS: 36.332586, -81.69064
Elevation Gain: 1000feet
At an elevation of 5520′ , Elk Knob is one of the ,tallest peaks in Watauga county with spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
The trail starts off in the parking lot and the trailhead leads upwards in a zig zag fashion. At the 1 mile point you will see an opening with a great mountain view. There is also a bench here to rest your legs preparing for the next mile to the top of the mountain. When you get towards the top of the trees you are almost there. The path at the top says North and South. Get out your camera the views are amazing. Either one has spectacular panoramic views with display panels that identify the mountains views. There are also benches at the top to take in the views and rest a bit if needed.
Hiking Humpback Rocks is a relatively short hike following a 2.0-mile (3.2 km) trail loop. With a roughly 45-minute hike to ascend 740 feet (230 m) to the peak, and a 20-25-minute descent, this ranks as one of the shorter hikes along the Blue Ridge, however it remains one of the most rewarding. The peak affords a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding terrain. To the north you can see into the southern section of Shenandoah National Park, to the east check out the patchwork of farms, to the southwest you see thick woods and mountain ridges of the George Washington National Forest.
Hikers may continue to follow the Trail for .5 miles (0.80 km), passing along the top of a cliff with views to the south and east before descending 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to a blue blaze trail. This trail leads .3 miles (0.48 km) into the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area. The distance between Humpback Gap and the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area is 3.6 miles (5.8 km). A map of the hike and of the Humpback Gap Overlook is available through the Blue Ridge Parkway website.
Continuing past Humpback Rocks itself, the summit of Humpback Mountain is only a few minutes further. The Appalachian Trail is only a short hike to the north, at milepost 6.
The Humpback Rocks Visitors Center is located at milepost 5.8, six miles south of the Rockfish Gap Interchange of I-64 and US 250. It is most easily accessed by either one of these two highways. Head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway for 5.8 miles (9.3 km) to reach the Humpback Rocks Visitors Center, or continue another 0.2 miles (0.32 km) to arrive at the Humpback Gap parking area on the left.
The Appalachian Trail can also be accessed from the Humpback Gap parking area. Southbound hikers can reach it by continuing south on the Humpback Rocks trail. Northbound hikers can reach it taking the one mile (1.6 km) blue blazed path at the northern end of the parking lot, or the one mile (1.6 km) white blazed path just off of the Howardsville Turnpike.
Overview: This is a very family walking trail in Blowing Rock North Carolina. It is part of the Moses Cone Memorial Park Trail system. The hike is about one mile in length but is a beautiful walk around the lake during any season. This hiking trail is a great stretch your legs type of hike after you have been driving in the car all day. Pets are welcomed on this trail but must be on a leash. I would definitely recommend this hike during the fall season for a brisk walk and great picture taking.
Make sure you have comfortable hiking shoes
You must sign your name to the Grandfather Mountain List for the Ranger
Bring plenty of water at least 2 bottles and a back pack
Bass Lake Loop Trail Map
*Click on thumbnails for larger viewing and slideshow
Video View From Flat Rock View on Grandfather Mountain
Trail head: Milepost 355.4 Blue Ridge Parkway
Distance: 0.5 miles Duration: 6 minutes Skill Level: Moderate / Strenuous
Lofty Mount Mitchell, near Burnsville, North Carolina, rises to an elevation of 6,684 feet and is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. The mountain is the centerpiece of the 1,946-acre Mount Mitchell State Park, which is easily accessible off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Mount Mitchell State Park offers numerous hiking trails as well as a museum, restaurant, concession stand and gift shop. A new observation deck, accessible by wheelchair, offers breathtaking panoramic views.
Mount Mitchell State Park contains extensive spruce-fir forest, an ecosystem that is common in northern climes, but which is only found in a narrow band in the Appalachian Mountains. This natural community is characterized by evergreens, particularly red spruce and Fraser fir.
Some of the uncommon animals that inhabit Mount Mitchell are the endangered northern flying squirrel, New England cottontail, bobcat, and many species of salamanders. Some of the birds that breed here are more typical of northern conifer forests: red-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, and golden-crowned kinglet.
Long before it was a State Park, Mount Mitchell was a popular tourist destination. In the 1920s, after the logging operations ceased on the mountain, the former logging railroad from the nearby town of Black Mountain was converted into a tourist train. Three years later, the rails were removed, and the rail bed became a motor toll road. For more than a decade, tourists visited the area along this route, until the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway put the toll road out of business.
The mountain was named in honor of Dr. Elisha Mitchell, an educator and scientist from Chapel Hill, who died while climbing the mountain in 1857 in his effort to prove it was the highest peak in eastern North America. The grave of Dr Mitchell lies next to the observation deck.
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