There is a lifetime of outdoor adventures to be had in Western North Carolina. It’s relentless beauty and varied terrain, can make it very easy for you to become addicted to exploring every mountain, river, and valley. For many, this region is a modern day, neighborhood Shangri-La. Welcome to the land of legends, the land of history, and the land you need to explore this coming weekend.
If you are in love with the forests and trek to new places each weekend, or even if you are just beginning your love affair with nature, Boone, NC is a great place to play. It has many trails to bike and hike, as well as panoramic vistas to soak in; you can’t go wrong. Here are some of the best spots for mountain biking and hiking around Boone.
Just outside of Boone, the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park has 185 acres of land perfect for beginner and intermediate riders. It has a great pump track, a new skills area, and even a playground for kids to explore, bike, and just enjoy being outside. This is an awesome place for those who want to work their way up to the more serious trails around the region, and for those looking for a great day out with their family.
If you are looking for something a little more challenging, the W. Kerr Scott Recreation Area is a great place to go for the next level of trail riding. The biking here is serious, intense and some of the greatest around. And, the trails are historical routes once travel by Daniel Boone, so not only will you get in a good ride, but a little history as well.
There are three main trail systems within the park: Dark Mountain, Overmountain Victory Trail, and Warrior Creek. All of the singletrack in these areas will challenge and reward skilled riders, as well as amaze you with the stunning views. But, the best trail in the area hands-down is the 31.2-mile IMBA Epic Trail, which is ranked the third best trail to ride in the state. So, strap on your Osprey backpack with the new hydration system and hit the trail.
If you want to hike instead of ride, Boone has numerous destinations perfect for getting families outside as well as areas for more serious hikers looking for a good workout and lots of miles. If you are looking for something quick and easy that has a view, then your obvious choice is the Mile-High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain. From the bridge, on a clear day, you can see up to 100 miles away, including possible sights of Charlotte, NC. Grandfather Mountain is also home to a state park that has 11-miles of trails, ranging from easy to moderate, making it very family-friendly. Make sure you stay here for sunsets—they are hard to beat.
If you want a more serious hike, look no further than the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. An hour from Boone, Linville prides itself in being the Grand Canyon of the east. While that might be an exaggeration, the region is amazing and needs to be explored by all.
Ranging in elevations between 1,300 and 4,120 feet, Linville Gorge is one of the wildest gorges in the eastern United States. It’s also an outdoor paradise for backpackers, hikers, and nature lovers. It has 39 miles of trails that drop from the top of the ridge and into the river valley below, so there is an almost endless amount of exploring to be had. Remember, if you do decide to descend into the gorge, you need to be ready for tough-to-locate routes, be prepared for anything, and have the right backpack. It’s a tough hike if you aren’t wilderness savvy, so stay away if you are new to hiking.
If you want more information on hiking in the region or have questions about specific trails, you should stop by Mast General Store before you head out. Mast General Store has 10 stores in nine cities around the region, and the staff and crew pride themselves on having both a wide variety of goods and for being approachable. They take away the technical intimidation and help you find the perfect gear for your adventure.
One of the best parts of Mast General Stores is that they carry the newest and best Osprey backpacks. The staff here loves Osprey because packs like the Skarab and Skimmer are sized and shaped differently to better fit men and women, respectively. By carrying the load on your back properly, you can avoid undue stress and are able to enjoy the great outdoors even more.
You now have no excuse but to get outside: Location, check. Gear, check. Amazing sights and trails, check. What are you waiting for?