The Best Hikes in the High Country

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Whether you have come from near or far, one thing that draws people to the high country is the recreational activities, specifically hiking! I mean can you blame anyone? The Blue Ridge Mountains are gorgeous throughout all of the seasons. Spring? You can feel and hear the mountains waking up with blooms and leaves emerging. Summer? The green leaves look like velvet covering every ridge like a blanket. Fall? The reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Winter? Although bare, peaceful, and quiet. Just driving around, looking at the mountains and views is enough to fill up the cup of gratitude, but getting outdoors, moving, and grooving to see things from a bird’s eye view is the icing on the cake! Below are some of the best hikes in the surrounding area.

1. Beacon Heights

beaconheights

Wanting to do something that is not super strenuous, is quick, and feels like you are alone on the side of a mountain? Then this is the perfect hike for you! Starting out at the parking lot, you will hike along a slight incline to the top! There are two different vantage points, luckily, they are not super long so you can look at both! One gives a nice view of Grandfather Mountain and the other is overlooking mountains. On a VERY clear day, some people can even see the Charlotte, NC skyline.

Location:

Beacon Heights Parking Lot
Linville, NC 28646

Length:

Approximately 1 mile round trip!

Difficulty:

Easy, but does have a slight incline.

2. Rough Ridge

roughridge

Get your camera out and make sure you get the iconic picture sitting on the rock! You truly will feel like you are sitting on the edge of the world! This hike is great as there are various points to be able to see the blue ridge mountains and the Linn Cove Viaduct. Did you know that this connecting viaduct was the last part of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be completed? This hike is a must and should definitely be on your list when visiting the high country. The parking lot at the trailhead does get packed quickly, especially during peak week for the leaves in fall, but the trail is rarely overcrowded.

Location:

3218 Blue Ridge Pkwy,
Linville, NC 28646

Length:

Approximately 2 miles round trip, depending on which outlooks you stop at.

Difficulty:

Moderate

3. FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN TRAIL

flattopmountaintrail

360 views? Changing landscape? A fire tower? What is better? Starting out at the historic Moses Cone Manor, you will hike through pastures, leading to several switchbacks, ultimately reaching the Flat Top Lookout Tower. Climbing to the top of the tower will give you 360 views of Blowing Rock, Boone, and surrounding areas! You can even see Appalachian State University’s campus from the tower so if you are an alum, a current or prospective student this is a hike for you!

Location:

The Flat Top Rd,
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Length:

4.8mi Round Trip

Difficulty:

Easy / Moderate (if there is difficulty in walking up hill for extended amount of time)

4. BASS LAKE LOOP TRAIL

basslakelooptrail

This little hike is for people who want to be outdoors in nature, but maybe either do not have enough time to fit in a long hike during your stay or for those who just want a leisurely stroll. This loop around Bass Lake is a nice, relaxing, and great place to go if you are wanting to stick closer to town. From this loop, you can see the Moses Cone Manor. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can follow trails to the house!

Location:

Bass Lake Loop,
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Length:

0.90mi (1 walk around the loop)

Difficulty:

Easy

5. HAWKSBILL MOUNTAIN TRAIL

hawksbillmountaintrail 1

Located within Linville Gorge and Pisgah National Forest, I truly call this the Grand Canyon of the East Coast. Although more of a drive, this gem is worth it! On this steady incline and multiple switch backs, you will definitely want to sit and take in the view once getting to the top. This hike is perfect for both sunrises and sunsets, people even camp there. Regardless of the time of the year, this hike is amazing! When you summit to the top, your view will be of the gorge and it’s rock faces. While the Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the seven natural wonders in the world, I’d say Hawksbill in Linville Gorge is North Carolina’s own wonder destination!

Location:

Hawksbill Mountain Trail Head,
Nebo, NC 28761

Length:

2.2 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty:

Moderate

hiking

Whether you are wanting to take a leisurely stroll or hike straight uphill, these various hikes are sure to check off some of your ‘must do’s’ while in the high country. As always, when hiking and being out in nature, remember to Leave No Trace or leave it better than you found it! Happy hiking and happy trails!

Helpful Hiking Resources:

For further information about the hikes listed or wanting to find other various hikes in the area, either visit or download the app here.

For information on the Blue Ridge Parkway, updates on trails, closures, etc check out this website.

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