Among the oldest in the world, the Blue Ridge Mountains Range is second to only South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt. The range was created by the uplifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates 1.1 billion to 250 million years ago. It extends from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, through parts of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, to Mount Oglethorpe, Georgia.
The 615 miles long Range is among the most famous drives in the United States, bringing visitors from all over the world offering unforgettable views, trails for every level and hiking and wildlife like no other. A whopping 15 million people visited the Park in 2016 and the numbers only go up every year as the popularity of the mountains grow and more people make their way to these distinctive colored hills, searching for the tranquility and beauty that can only be found here.
If you find yourself making plans to visit the Blue ridge Mountains there is one hike that you should put on your list and make sure to spare few hours for. It offers miles of trails snaking by creeks, waterfalls galore and a wide variety of flora and fauna that is one of its greatest attractions for visitors here.
The Boone Fork Trail in Blowing Rock, North Carolina is a moderate 5 mile loop located at Milestone Post 296.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway right before Price Lake, 5 minutes drive from the town of Blowing Rock and a short drive from Moses Cone Manor, which is another quick stop you should add to your itinerary if ever in the area.
The big parking lot for Boone Fork Trail would be on your right if coming from the direction of Blowing Rock or Boone and to your left if coming from the Price Lake side. There is ample parking and several picnic opportunities with benches by the river and grills for use. Restrooms are located right at the entrance of the trail before crossing the bridge.
Once you get to the sign for the trail take a left and take the trail clockwise. It’s the better way to go since you won’t be climbing the whole way and this way you’ll leave the best for the last (all the big waterfalls). The path is very well marked and during the warm months surrounded by wild flowers.
You will pass by the campground before the path and start weaving between the well wooded forest. There are plenty of opportunities for rock climbing and there would be many times where you’ll have to cross stream so prepare to get a little wet. It’s all worth it though since for almost the whole middle 2.5 miles of the trail you’ll be walking by a stream and pass over multiple cascades.
About half way you’ll find your first big waterfall. Take a left down the path and enjoy a seat on one of the many rocks. If you packed a picnic in your backpack that would be your best chance of enjoying it by yourself as the next waterfall is much more easier to get too from the beginning of the trail and most people just go there instead of doing the whole loop so it’s usually busier.
Once you get some rest, enjoyed a snack and taken enough pictures, head back up the path and continue following the trail. From here you’ll reach the most popular waterfall on this hike. A sign would be visible to your left pointing to a steep path down with the name of “Hebron Falls”. A series of massive boulders will appear in front your eyes with water streaming down them and on a good spring day, or after a hard rain, you’ll see them in their absolute glory.
The trail back from here is easy. About 1.3 miles long, pretty much all the way flat, passing through the hovering trees, before leading to the last waterfall (or the first one if you decide to take left at the beginning of the trail). The Falls here are the absolute best swimming hole on a sunny summer day and so easy to get too if you have little ones in toe.
After this waterfall you have about half a mile back. Follow the path cut between the tall grass following the river and make sure to stop before the bridge and take a deep in the shallow waters or just sit by the river with the sound of nothing but the flowing waters and the singing birds. If you have kids with you let them splash around and build sandcastles by the river bank. It’s a wonderful spot to cool off after the long hike.
We hope you add this hike to your list of adventures while on the Blue Ridge Parkway and make sure to share them with us by tagging us at #TRAVELBUGGED!