Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster

Banner Elk

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster is North Carolina’s first alpine roller coaster, providing thrilling outdoor adventure in Banner Elk.

Wilderness Run is built by Germany’s top alpine coaster company and modeled after popular coasters in Europe. The track’s length of 3,160 feet includes three circular loops, a series of waves and several twists and turns for plenty of excitement.

Guests navigate the track in individual carts that are designed to accommodate up t... Read More

Edge of the World Outfitters

Banner Elk

This downtown Banner Elk outfitter specializes in white-water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and rappelling. The family-run business encourages getting outdoors as a family unit.

White-water rafting trips are popular group excursions as groups board buses in Banner Elk and head to Elizabethton, Tenn., about 45 minutes away. Rafting takes place on the Watauga River with the trip downriver lasting about three-and-a-half to four hours, including lunch. The outfitter serves tasty lunc... Read More

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park


Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is an extreme playground for cyclists in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park occupies 185 acres just east of Boone off U.S. Hwy. 421. Eight miles of custom-built trails weave through the forest, offering a one-of-a-kind way to explore the High Country.

Single-track trails accommodate all skill levels, from the moderate 1.5-mile Rocky Branch Loop to the three-quarter-mile Ol’ Hoss Trail exclusively for experts. The trails are also accessible to hikers and... Read More

Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park

Banner Elk

A great hiking option on the outskirts of Banner Elk is the Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park. This 7.6-mile round trip hike is rated strenuous, climbing some 1,775 feet to the top of Grandfather Mountain’s Calloway Peak, at 5,964 feet in elevation.

The trail begins in rolling terrain and crosses the Watauga River, before increasing in difficulty during the ascent. Much of the hike is under hardwood canopy before breaking into a Canadian fir zone near the crest.

<... Read More

Elk River Falls

Elk Park

Just a short drive from Banner Elk is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the NC mountains.

Elk River Falls, also known as Big Falls, features large volumes of water dropping 50 feet over a rock cliff into a picturesque oval pool.

The trail to the falls is an easy-to-follow trail, but there are ample rocks and roots along the way. It is about a third of a mile to get to the falls (0.6 miles roundtrip).

The falls can be viewed from an area near the top of the falls... Read More

Wildcat Lake

Banner Elk

Wildcat Lake is a premier attraction in Banner Elk, particularly in warmer months. The 13-acre lake is the centerpiece of a public-access facility that includes a white sand beach, swimming pier and fishing dock.

The most popular activities at Wildcat Lake are swimming, sun bathing, fishing and boating. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours. Boating is limited to non-motorized boats along with canoes and kayaks.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission stocks the ... Read More

Emerald Outback

Beech Mountain

The Emerald Outback Trail Park, located near the summit of Beech Mountain, is a multi-use trail system created by the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department. The Emerald Outback stands out as one of the highest trail parks east of the Rockies, with elevations up to 5,400 feet above sea level.

The trail system consists of seven trails covering about eight miles of terrain. Five of the seven trails are rated as moderate to advanced in degree of difficulty, while two trails are... Read More

Beech Mountain Bike Park

Beech Mountain

From early June through late September, ski slopes become downhill mountain biking trails at Beech Mountain Resort.

The Beech Mountain Bike Park provides chairlift service to the top of the 5,506 peak, allowing riders to choose from a variety of trails back down to the resort village.

There are 10 trails in total, ranging from easy to intermediate to advanced to expert only. Read More

High Mountain Expeditions

Banner Elk

High Mountain Expeditions, which opened in 1986, helped pioneer whitewater rafting guide service in the North Carolina mountains. The focus is on providing reliable, knowledgeable and experienced guides.

High Mountain Expeditions has four outposts in the NC mountains, including one in Banner Elk on Tynecastle Highway. The company specializes in rafting adventures on the Nolichucky River, Watauga River and rugged Wilson Creek, as well as tubing on the gently-flowing New River.

... Read More

Sky Valley Zip Tours

Blowing Rock

Sky Valley is a treetop zip-line adventure. Located between Boone and Blowing Rock, the property covers more than 140 acres of old-grown forest. The course includes 10 zip lines, as well as a swinging bridge over a 35-foot waterfall and a cliff jump.

The journey starts with an ATV ride through the river and up the mountain. “Ground School” is an informational session before the zip-line tour where rangers explain the equipment, give zipping instructions and allow participants to tra... Read More

Foscoe Fishing Company


Foscoe Fishing Co. provides expert outfitting and fly fishing guide service for everybody from first-timers to experienced anglers. It is the only Orvis endorsed fly fishing outfitter and guide service in North Carolina’s High Country

Foscoe Fishing operates a full-service fly shop in the community of Foscoe, located between Banner Elk and Boone. Their experienced and knowledgeable guides take guests to some of the best spots for fly fishing on the Watauga, Linville, Toe, Elk and Ne... Read More

The Banner Elk Greenway

Banner Elk

Banner Elk has approximately 1.1 miles of greenway trails. The trails begin at Tate-Evans Park in downtown Banner Elk, which features a trail that loops a third of a mile around the grounds.

The park also has two playground areas, wading pools, a volleyball court, picnic tables, a covered picnic shelter and an amphitheater. Special events and concerts occur in the park throughout the year.

The greenway trails head in two directions from the park. The lower portion goes southw... Read More

Hawksnest Ziplines

Seven Devils

Hawksnest features four miles of zip-line cables for riders to cruise over trees, lakes and creeks, taking in panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The attraction is located just off of Highway 105 South between Boone and Banner Elk, high atop Seven Devils.

Whether you are a first-time zip-liner or you have several rides under your belt, Hawksnest is a fun place to experience the thrill of a zip line while surrounded by mountain scenery.

The most popular option is the ... Read More

Apple Hill Farm

Banner Elk

Advanced tickets required for tours

One of the best kept secrets in the North Carolina High Country is the Apple Hill Farm, located just outside Banner Elk.

Apple Hill is a working alpaca and llama farm, with a popular gift store, that offers tours year-round to visitors.

The tours are guided, educational walking tours that generally last about 45 to 60 minutes. On ... Read More

Off the Grid UTV Tours

Banner Elk

Off the Grid Mountain Adventures offers guided UTV tours that feature mountain terrain, streams and panoramic views. All guests meet up in Banner Elk and are shuttled to a secluded mountain location for an exciting afternoon driving two-seat UTVs in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Guests also receive discounts at Off the Grid’s adventure park in nearby Elizabethton, TN. The adventure park is home to the only 3,000-foot zipline in the area, as well as BASE jumping from a 60-foot towe... Read More

Grandfather Mountain


Grandfather Mountain is a popular tourist attraction located atop one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each year, it attracts about 250,000 tourists who spend the day hiking, viewing animals, visiting the nature museum and picnicking.

One of the mountain’s best-known pastimes is a walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge. At one mile above sea level, the bridge is the highest suspension footbridge in the country. A journey to the end offers 360-degree views of the ... Read More

Banner Elk Stables

Banner Elk

View the Blue Ridge Mountains via horseback at Banner Elk Stables. This Banner Elk attraction offers one-hour guided rides on rustic trails perched along the mountain ridges.

Rides are available year-round, weather permitting to people of all ages. The farm has a large stable of horses suitable for a variety of riding abilities.

Some guests get to ride atop movie stars. Horses from Banner Elk Stables have appeared on the big screen in “For Richer or Poorer,” “Shallow Hal,” “C... Read More