Adventure awaits: exploring the outdoors of Boone

Asher Davidson, Reporter

One of the greatest draws to Boone and App State is the outdoors. On any given day parks, hiking trails, bike parks, rivers and streams are teeming with students and locals. However, with so many options, it is often hard to decide where to go. The wild outdoors of Boone beckons to students, and in order to answer that melodious call, here is a list of eight great spots in and around Boone to start an adventure.

Grandfather Mountain and the Ladder Trail

Just 20 minutes away from Boone is Grandfather Mountain. This mountain is a staple of life here in the High Country and is a place every student should visit. Grandfather Mountain offers a plethora of activities such as seeing wildlife habitats, traversing the mile-high bridge, and great hiking with amazing views from the top. The two best ways of entrance are to either pay for a ticket via the park or to take a slightly more strenuous hike up the ladder trail, where no ticket is needed. 

Greenway Park

Greenway Park is a lowkey destination in Boone located on State Farm Road. The biggest draw of the park is the diversity in public outlets for activities and events. There are plenty of trails and paved paths to run or walk, a couple of fields to play pick-up games and rivers and creeks to play in as well. Greenway Park is also very welcoming of furry friends so remember to bring your dogs to join in on the fun.

Crab Orchard Falls

Crab Orchard Falls offers a beautiful waterfall and wade pool without the major tourist attraction that the famous Trash Can Falls has. There is a 21-minute drive needed to Valle Crucis, but the hike is brief, with a great view and opportunity for photos.

Camping at Linville Gorge

Camping in Linville Gorge always results in fun and adventure. The Gorge offers great views of the surrounding nature and wildlife and many different hiking and camping styles. Campers may choose to drive down Old NC 105 and pull over at a spot along the road or park and hike the full 23-mile-long loop around the gorge. While you’re there, make sure to visit Linville Caverns for a look inside the earth that you just hiked.

Rocky Knob Bike Park

Mountain biking is a popular sport here in Boone, and due to the success of it, there are many diverse and fun trails. Rocky Knob has a variety of trails that give every level of rider a challenge when they visit. Whether you are looking to ride some janky tech or simply want to bomb a flowy jump line, Rocky Knob has got it all and is a must-visit in Boone for any mountain biker.

The New River

Don’t let its name fool you, the New River is the oldest river in the United States and the second oldest river in the world. Located outside of Boone with outpost put-ins near Todd, the New River offers the opportunity for a relaxing trip in any kayak or inner tube. Whether one travels through a tubing company or via their own floating transportation, the New River is a peaceful destination guaranteed to let one disconnect from the hustle and bustle of campus life.

Boone Fork Trail

The Boone Fork Trail is a great, heavily trafficked 5.2 mile loop trail, with difficulty never above moderate. Located off the parkway near Julian Price Memorial Park, the trail makes a fun day trip with many scenic options for picnics. 

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster

While not necessarily in the hiking or biking category, the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster located in Banner Elk is a super fun day activity that makes for a great getaway from downtown Boone. This coaster offers riders the chance to regulate their speed as they ride through the forest and also offers beautiful views from the coaster and the front porch of the main building. Single ride tickets for adults are $16, and a three-ride bundle for adults is $35.