Our Go-To Spots for Visitors to the High Country
One of our favorite parts about where we live and roast coffee is how many unique locations there are to explore outdoors. We've traveled to other places enough to know that finding the definitive lists of what to do to get the most bang for your buck can be difficult. So we decided to start compiling a few of our favorite spots for various activities to share with you!
Find below a list of places with short descriptions. These are only scratching the surface so look for more to come! Click on location titles to pull up driving directions.
As with any outdoor activity, make sure you plan ahead, bring plenty of water and snacks, and be prepared for whatever adventure you choose!
Option 1 - Rough Ridge Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway: A moderate uphill 0.8mi, Rough Ridge offers expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll see Pisgah National Forest’s expansive reach, and to the southwest you can spot the Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain peaks of the Linville Gorge. Full of iconic scenes, check this one out for a quick hike that offers an awesome place to stop and watch sunset, just don’t forget your headlamp!
Option 2 - Profile Trail on Grandfather Mountain: Located off of Highway 105, the newly built trailhead offers plenty of parking as well as bathroom facilities. Don’t underestimate this one, a mostly uphill 3 mile hike will bring you to Calloway Gap where you will have the choice to go another 0.1 miles left to Calloway Peak, or take on the 1.5 mile arduous hike to the right that will direct you to McRae Peak, a beautiful vista with 360deg views. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks and be aware the McRae Peak hike will have you climbing ladders and down narrow rock chutes that furry friends may not be able to pass.
Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park: Located just east of Boone off of Highway 421, Rocky Knob is a gem of the High Country. From hard, technical downhill riding on Ol’ Hoss to slower-paced beginner riding on the Keen Der Garden Trail everyone is sure to have fun. Young kids will love playing on the pumptrack while parents can relax and let them play out some energy. Rental bikes available at Magic Cycles and Boone Bike. Don’t forget your helmet and stay off the trails if they’re wet!
Option 1 - Bass Lake Loop: An easy, flat 0.8 mile loop on gravel Bass Lake offers runners zen and serenity on a beautiful run around the lake that can be repeated or split off onto one of several side trails. Great for serious runners looking to get a workout in or casual runners who just want to tick away a mile or two Bass Lake won’t disappoint. Located just outside of Blowing Rock on US-221 this is an easy trip from town.
Option 2 - Flat Top Fire Tower: An easy hike but not-so-easy run the 2.7 miles up to Flat Top Fire Tower will test the will of even the fittest of runners as the gravel path rises, switchbacks, and climbs sometimes steep grades. Start at Moses Cone Manor, a beauty of a landmark, and head up the trail under the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pass through dense woods into a clearing about halfway up that during summer is full of blooming wildflowers. Back into the woods for the final stretch and the hardest climbing, you’ll be rewarded at the end with the ability to ascend the firetower for breathtaking views of Boone, Grandfather Mountain, and Blowing Rock.