New to Thru: Six Quintessential Hikes from Boone to Blowing Rock

Welcome to the High Country! If you, like us, spend all your time off-trail itching to get back on, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve chosen six of our favorite local treks to start you off on the right foot this season. From gentle slopes to epic climbs, there is a nearby adventure to suit every hiker.


Green Knob Loop: Despite its accessibility and relative ease, this trail remains fairly quiet. There
are two parking areas with access to the loop: one at Sims Creek Overlook and the other at Sims Pond
Overlook, but we recommend starting at the latter. Proximity to the creek allows hikers to enjoy a quick
splash in the shallows on hot summer days. The most difficult part of this trail is the steady climb up
through the cow pasture, but following this, the route is primarily downhill.
Trail type: Loop
Trail length: 2.2 miles
Elevation gain: 515 feet
Pet-friendliness: Leashed pets allowed

Middle Fork Greenway: Though still under construction, once complete, the Middle Fork
Greenway will connect Boone and Blowing Rock via a scenic, environmentally-friendly thoroughfare. One
mile of the route has already been completed, and makes for a refreshing morning trail run or a leisurely
stroll with the family. The existing section extends from Tweetsie Railroad to Sterling Creek Park, and
consists of a flat, paved path.
Trail type: Point-to-point
Trail length: 6.5 miles once complete (1 mile currently open)
Elevation gain: Generally flat
Pet-friendliness: Leashed pets allowed


Boone Fork Trail: Ready to level up to a moderate hike? This is the perfect first one to try. You’ll be rewarded with rhododendron tunnels, scenic creek crossings, and a waterfall. This trail is typically wet, so be sure to tackle it with the right footwear. Getting there early is a good idea—this loop is popular, and may become crowded by mid-morning.
Trail type: Loop
Trail length: 5.2 miles
Elevation gain: 528 feet
Pet-friendliness: Leashed pets allowed

Rich Mountain Carriage Trail: Once a carriage path, this well-maintained trail consists of a loop with an out-and-back offshoot. Taking the side trip means a steady climb as you spiral up to the top of Rich Mountain, where the perfect picnic spot awaits. At the end of the loop, Trout Lake offers an opportunity for stripping off those boots and socks and dipping your feet in the cool water.
Trail type: Loop to out-and-back
Trail length: 6.3 miles
Elevation gain: 593 feet
Pet-friendliness: Leashed pets allowed

Elk Knob Summit Trail: Standing at the top of Elk Knob is worth every vertical foot of climb: at 5520 feet, you’ll be able to see for miles over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The incline remains steady throughout, and the switchbacks winding up the slope are pleasantly long. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the wildflowers that flourish in the old-growth forest along either side of the trail.
Trail type: Out-and-back
Trail length: 3.8 miles
Elevation gain: 961 feet
Pet-friendliness: Leashed pets allowed


Daniel Boone Scout Trail: Ready to kick it up another notch? How about summiting the
highest peak in the Blue Ridge? Winding upward through ancient forest for 3.5 miles, you’ll be treated to
fascinating rock formations, clear streams, and stunning views. Upon reaching Calloway Peak, the highest
point of Grandfather Mountain, you’ll understand how one explorer in 1794 assumed he’d climbed the
tallest peak in North America. While the first portion of the trail is pet-friendly, there are ladders at some
of the steeper points farther along. Before heading out, be sure to secure a free permit for this hike at
the Profile Trailhead parking area.
Trail type: Loop to out-and-back
Trail length: 7.0 miles
Elevation gain: 2,007 feet
Pet-friendliness: Pets allowed

Being nestled in the Blue Ridge certainly has its perks. From the gentle slopes of Green Knob Loop to the demanding climb up the ladders of Calloway Peak, there is a trail in the area for every experience level. The streams, forests, and sweeping vistas will not disappoint. Be sure to keep a record of your adventures on a Have You Hiked It Checklist, available at Footsloggers, to secure a copy of our limited edition hiking journal.