We left Charlotte at about 8 in the morning and arrived in Boone around 10. The drive was easy and the winding roads leading to the entrance of the Park were lovely. We parked the car and went to the visitor center first where we spoke to the nice lady behind the window for a short bit before grabbing a trail map and making our way to the parking lot for the trail. We noticed that there were several trails that began at the visitor center and upon future research of the map we learned that they are all short and easy trails, perfect for walk with young kids and pets. There is a specific trail for birdwatchers and if that’s something that interests you we recommend it since we heard and saw lots of birds even in the colder winter weather.
The two mile long trail to the summit begins right off the large gravel parking lot. The trail is well marked and taken care off. We read that it took volunteers more than 5 years to construct it and once walking the path you can see why. Rocks, stone stairs and clearing between the trees must’ve been a massive job, but they have done an absolute amazing job.
The trail is marked as moderate to strenuous which is quite correct. Not incredibly steep with the switchbacks but it’s more than a leisurely walk. There are signs along the trail asking people to stay on the trail and not take shortcuts so please follow them to preserve the fragile and beautiful nature.
We loved that the trail had mile markers along the way and wish more parks did that. It was very helpful to know how far we’ve gone and how much further we’ve got to go especially in the steep areas where a .25 mile felt like 5 miles. Pets are allowed on the trail but as with all the Parks in the State they must be on a leash at all times.
At about the one mile market there is an opening with great views of the mountains and a little bench for rest and drink of water.
Once at the summit, a view at 5,220 feet of absolute beauty greets you and signs are there to help you know what’s before you. The vistas are exhilarating and I only wish we were here to see them while the leaves were changing or when the mountain tops were covered in snow.
We first went to the right for the views of the Appalachian mountains and than followed the narrow path leading to the south side providing even more glorious vistas of the ancient Appalachian Range and views of Grandfather Mountain. The signs at both overlooks provide great description on what’s before you and on a clear day you can see as far as Pilot Mountain.
The way back is easy, pretty much all downhill zigzagging between the trees.
We had worked an appetite by the time we got back down and were looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a quick meal with a local brew. From a visit to Boone few years ago we remembered how much we loved Boonshine so we had to go back. Their new location is marvelous and the food they serve is out of this world. We highly recommend you give them a try if ever in the area. Or try their beer if you find it in a store near you. We certainly do wish they had it near where we live.