Boone Fork Trail Signpost | Top 10 Blowing Rock Hikes for Conscious Exploration

Top 10 Blowing Rock Hikes for Conscious Exploration

You know, there’s something about Blowing Rock hikes that speaks to the soul. They’re not just paths in the woods; they’re a mix of wonder, challenge, and an open door to everyone. Whether you’ve got hiking boots worn down from years of trails or you’re lacing them up for the first time, Blowing Rock, NC, has a trail for you. So grab your favorite walking stick and join me as we uncover ten different paths, each with its own heartbeat, all waiting to be part of your next unforgettable adventure.

Treading Mindfully: A Hiker’s Responsibility in Nature

In the excitement of discovering new trails and embracing the wild, it’s essential that we remember to take nature seriously. Being an educated traveler isn’t just about knowing the best spots to visit; it’s about understanding our responsibility to the land and our fellow hikers. Hiking responsibly means being mindful of our actions, practicing safety, and respecting the places that give us so much joy. It’s more than just leaving no trace; it’s about leaving a positive mark, one of understanding, care, and connection. Whether it’s staying on marked trails, cleaning up after ourselves, or simply taking a moment to acknowledge the natural beauty around us, we become not just visitors, but caretakers of these precious landscapes. Let’s begin our Blowing Rock hikes with heart.

Key Takeaway:

Discover the perfect trail for your next mindful adventure in the Blowing Rock area.

From leisurely walks to challenging climbs, this comprehensive guide offers something for every conscious explorer. Embrace nature’s beauty while staying true to values of inclusivity and accessibility, all carefully mapped out to match your hiking abilities.

Get ready to embark on a transformative journey that not only respects the environment but enriches your soul. Happy trails!

Boone Fork Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Boone Fork Trail

Boone Fork Trail, nestled in the Julian Price Memorial Park near Blowing Rock, NC, offers a remarkable nearly 5-mile loop that showcases the diverse beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along this well-marked trail, hikers encounter varying landscapes such as dense hardwood forests, crossing bubbling creeks via charming wooden bridges, and meandering through open meadows with glimpses of the mountains and Hebron Falls in the distance.

Trail Information 

Difficulty of Trail: Moderate

This trail provides an engaging challenge for seasoned hikers, with obstacles like boulder hopping, rocky terrains, and ladders. Numerous creek crossings add to the adventure.

There are also many creek crossings, and it is recommended to wear waterproof boots, or your feet will get wet. Hebron Falls is a great side trail to visit and relax by the cascading falls.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 4.8 miles
  • Duration: 1 hr. 55 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 524 ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

September through October

Best Time of Day

Morning: 8:00am to 10:00am

Afternoon: 3:00pm to 4:00pm

 

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Boone Fork Trail has boulder hopping, rocks and roots in the trail, and some ladders along with uneven terrain.

Children

  • Ages 9+: A moderate challenge for kids in this age range, especially if they have some hiking experience. The adventurous nature of the trail might be appealing. Best for older children (12+) with some hiking experience.

Dogs

It may be manageable for larger dogs, but you will need to be able to lift them over ladders.

Boone Fork Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There:

Begin your adventure with a hike at Julian Price Park’s picnic area, located just north of the lake overlook and right at the entrance of the campground (Milepost 296.4). You won’t have to worry about finding a spot, as there’s ample parking available. Just look for the trailhead near the restroom building, and you’re on your way!

Trail Directions

  1. From the Boone Fork Trail Parking area, turn left at the start of the trail.
  2. Follow the trail markers which make a complete loop back to the parking area.
Flat Top Mountain Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Flat Top Mountain Trail

Flat Top Mountain Trail is another one of the amazing Blowing Rock hikes that embraces a 5.1-mile out-and-back path that truly speaks to every hiker’s soul. With a gradual incline and a wide trail, it’s accessible for all types of hikers, from beginners to seasoned trekkers, offering a gentle challenge.

Popular among hikers, horseback riders, and runners alike, reflect on the array of different activities. It’s not just about the hike; it’s about connection, inspiration, and the down-to-earth beauty that makes North Carolina’s outdoors so special. 

Trail Information 

Difficulty of Trail: Moderate

Since the trails were made for carriages back in the day, trails are wide with a gradual incline that makes it an easy climb.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 5.1 mi.
  • Duration: 2 hrs. 5 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 593 ft.
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Best Time of Year

Year round

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Winter (December to February):

  • 9:00AM – 2:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Flat Top Mountain trail is known to have a moderate incline with some switchbacks and a gravel or rocky surface in parts.

Children

Aside from the length, this is a relatively moderate hike for kids. It is recommended to bring a stroller along.

Dogs

Just remember to keep your dog on a leash to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for all hikers, and pack some water and waste bags to keep the trail clean.

Flat Top Mountain Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hike

Trail Map

Getting There:

Driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway, keep an eye out for signs leading you to the Craft Center in Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. They’ll guide you to the historic manor, and from there, just follow the loop to the smaller barn – that’s where you’ll find the restrooms. Head to the trail in front of the restrooms, stroll under the parkway, and voila! The signs for Flat Top Mountain Trail will be waiting at the fork.

Trail Directions: 

  1. Start at Moses Cone Manor: Follow the signposts and begin on the wide gravel path.
  2. Detour to Cone Cemetery (Optional): if you’re a fan of the macabre or looking for a local haunt, take this short detour.
  3. Navigate the Forest Switchbacks: Follow the winding path through the woods following the signposts.
  4. Enjoy Two Overlooks: Along the way to the summit, you’ll encounter two decent overlooks. Pause here, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and capture some photographs to remember these vistas.
  5. Reach the Summit & Fire Tower: When you reach the summit, where you’ll find the fire tower. Climb to the top for breathtaking 360-degree views that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Calloway Peak | Blowing Rock Hikes

Daniel Boone Scout Trail to Calloway Peak

Daniel Boone Scout Trail to Calloway Peak provides hikers with a blend of natural beauty, challenge, and history. This 7-mile round trip trail in Grandfather Mountain State Park offers breathtaking views, rocky terrain, lush forests, and a notable feature that’s intertwined with local history: a plane crash site.

As you hike, you may come across the remnants of this tragic event. While it serves as a somber reminder of the story embedded in the land, I urge you to approach this site with respect and reflection. Out of reverence for the life lost in this crash, please refrain from taking pictures or climbing on the wreckage. This place is more than a curiosity; it’s a poignant spot that invites contemplation and respect for the fragility of life.

The trail itself continues to delight and challenge with its varying elevations, ladders, and spectacular vistas, making it a worthwhile journey for those who are up for a moderate to strenuous hike. The peak will reward you with stunning views that might prompt reflection on the broader journey of life, making this a trail not just for the body but for the soul as well.

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Hard

Hikers will need a permit for this trail. They are available at trail heads to fill out before you start hiking.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 7 mi.
  • Duration: 4 hrs.
  • Elevation Gain: 2,240ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

April through October

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Daniel Boone Scout Trail to Calloway Peak is considered a hard trail for all hiking enthusiasts. While I am all for pushing your physical limits to see what you are capable of, please take extra care in the decision of if this hike is right for you so that there is no risk of injury. 

Children

  • Ages 7-10: The adventure and challenge could appeal to kids in this age range who have previous hiking experience. Supervision, breaks, and safety measures will be crucial.
  • Ages 11+: Older children with good physical endurance and a love for outdoor exploration might enjoy the trail, especially the unique features like ladders and boulders.

Dogs

Although dogs are allowed on the trail, this trail contains ladders that dogs cannot climb. If the dog is not small enough to lift, it is not recommended to bring a pet on this route.

Daniel Boone Scout Trail to Calloway Peak Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Trail Direction

The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway guides you to your journey at the Boone Fork lot, located at Mile 299.5.

Trail Directions

  1. Start at Boone Fork Parking Area: Mile 299.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is where your adventure begins. Cross a bridge over a bubbling stream and follow the Tanawha Trail for a tranquil half-mile to the Nuwati Trail junction. (36.11993, -81.78167)
  2. Cragway Trail: Prepare for a rocky and steep mile with jaw-dropping vistas. Your energy will thank you for conquering this vigorous climb early in the hike. (36.11819, -81.79072)
  3. Discover Flat Rock Trail Junction: Cragway Trail leads you to Flat Rock, where the landscape invites scrambling and offers stunning mountain views. From here, the trail to Calloway Peak unveils a unique ecological transition and a sprinkle of wildflowers in spring. (36.1116814, -81.7939627)
  4. Navigate an Arrow on the Rock: The summit’s rugged approach involves a treacherous scramble. Focus and careful stepping are vital; some hikers have even crab-walked back down. (36.11047, -81.80472)
  5. Find Shelter at Hi-Balsam Shelter: Look for a sign to this shelter, offering breathtaking views and refuge from unexpected weather. Backpackers might be sharing this cozy spot. (36.1107484, -81.8078033)
  6. Climb the Ladder to Calloway Peak: Three ladders lead you to the summit. Take your time and enjoy the exhilarating ascent. (36.11174, -81.80893)
  7. Descend with Caution: The way down is a mindful journey as well. Pace yourself and savor the views. (36.11179, -81.80918)
  8. Reach Calloway Peak Summit: The highest point on Grandfather Mountain is your rewarding destination. Embrace the views, and don’t linger too long; others want to share the magic. (36.1109, -81.81161)
  9. Head to the End of Daniel Boone Scout Trail: A relaxing walk back to the parking lot awaits you. Enjoy the flat terrain. (36.1139648, -81.7809391)
  10. Explore Nuwati Trail and Sign-In Registry: Sign in and keep a copy handy. Whether you continue on the Tanawha Trail or opt for the Scout Trail, splendid views will accompany your final stretch. (36.11667, -81.78081)
Glen Burney Trail

The Glen Burney Trail

For those that yearn for a touch of adventure, the Glen Burney Trail can be a perfect escape within a day accessible just minutes from the downtown Blowing Rock area. Known for its vibrant birding community and fellow hiking enthusiasts, this path offers not only communion with nature but the warmth of shared exploration, forging connections with both the land and like-minded wanderers. The Glen Burney Trail in North Carolina provides access to three distinct scenic areas: the Cascades, Glen Burney Falls, and Glen Marie Falls. 

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Moderate

The trail begins with an easy downhill path to the Cascades but becomes more challenging as it leads to Glen Burney and Glen Marie Falls, especially on the uphill return journey.

The route, filled with exposed roots and rocks, calls for good footwear and an appreciation for the natural terrain. 

Details of Trail

  • Length: 2.3 mi.
  • Duration: 1 hr. 14 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 538 ft.
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Best Time of Year

March through October

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

  • Cascades: The trail can be uneven and may require careful navigation. Exposed roots and rocks are on nearly all of the trail.
  • Glen Burney Falls: Similar to the Cascades section, the path to Glen Burney Falls includes steeper and potentially more challenging terrain.
  • Glen Marie Falls: This is the most demanding part of the hike, with steeper inclines and potentially slippery areas.

Children

Cascades

  • Ages 4-12: Suitable with proper guidance. A mild challenge but a rewarding experience.
  • Ages 13+: An engaging adventure. Perfect for teenagers looking to explore nature.

Glen Burney Falls

  • Ages 7-12: Feasible but demanding. Proper hiking equipment and guidance needed.
  • Ages 13+: Suitable for teenagers seeking a bit more challenge. Good footwear essential.

Glen Marie Falls

  • Ages 9-12: Attempt with caution. This section is more strenuous and should be undertaken with proper preparation.
  • Ages 13+: Suited for teens with hiking experience. Expect a rewarding but demanding hike.

Dogs

  • Cascades: Likely suitable for dogs, especially if they are used to hiking. Be mindful of the terrain, which can be uneven.
  • Glen Burney Falls: Also likely suitable for dogs that are comfortable with a longer hike. Some steeper and potentially slippery sections may require extra care.
  • Glen Marie Falls: This section may be the most challenging for dogs, especially smaller or less experienced ones. Consider your dog’s abilities, as this is the most demanding part of the hike.

Glen Burney Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There:

Located just a half-mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway Moses Cone trails in Blowing Rock, the Glen Burney Trail offers easy public access. It’s situated in town, near Mayview Lake and Annie Cannon Park at 243 Laurel Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.

Trail Directions: 

  1. After parking at the above address, turn left at the start of the trail.
  2. Follow the trail markers in and back out from the trail.

Green Knob Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Green Knob Loop

Gently winding through verdant forests, it leads you to meadows and several overlook spots, showcasing spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Ideal for hikers of various levels, the trail’s moderate difficulty and well-maintained path make it an inviting option for a fulfilling day’s exploration, where nature’s embrace refreshes both body and spirit.

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Moderate

The Green Knob Trail in North Carolina is labeled as “moderate” due to its uneven terrain and some steep sections.

While it provides a challenging experience, it doesn’t require extreme strength, making it feel like a genuine hike without being overwhelmingly difficult.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 2.2 mi.
  • Duration: 1 hr. 12 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 538 ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

March through October.

Seasonal closure may occur due to weather conditions and snow on the parkway. Check for closures here.

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Green Knob Trail has uneven terrain, small rocks, and occasional steep sections.

Children

  • Ages 7-10: With a bit of guidance, kids this age should find the trail an exciting challenge. Pack some snacks, and they’ll likely keep up just fine.
  • Ages 11+: These young explorers should handle the trail with ease, perhaps even leading the way.

Dogs

Just remember to keep your pup on a leash, as the trail may have some steep or uneven sections that could be a bit challenging for overly excited pups. 

Green Knob Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There:

The Green Knob Trail can be accessed from two entrances, both located in Price Park near Blowing Rock. One entrance is found at the Sims Creek Overlook, and the other at the Sims Pond Overlook. Both of these trailheads are conveniently situated off the Blue Ridge Parkway, providing easy access for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Trail Directions

  1. After entering the trail through Sims Pond or Sims Creek parking area, follow the signposts to the right to complete the loop trail.

Price Lake Loop Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Price Lake Loop Trail

Price Lake Loop Trail, located at Julian Price Park in Blowing Rock, NC, is a scenic treasure that invites nature lovers of all kinds. Not only favored for walking and hiking but also serves as a popular spot for birding, camping, and reflection by the water’s edge.

The blend of lake reflections and the encompassing Blue Ridge Mountains create an idyllic setting, whether you’re pitching a tent for a weekend getaway or simply seeking a soul-soothing hike. This trail epitomizes the harmonious dance between human connection and nature’s elegance, providing endless opportunities for inspiration and exploration.

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Easy

This is a nice relatively flat trail. It is mostly paved with some gravel areas.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 2.2 mi.
  • Duration: 42min.
  • Elevation Gain: 72 ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

March through October

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

Price Lake Loop Trail in North Carolina is generally considered to be a gentle and relatively accessible trail. However, it has gravel, dirt, and exposed roots.

Children

  • Ages 0-3: Might be a bit much for the youngest explorers. The trail isn’t too rugged, but a sturdy stroller or baby carrier would be the way to go.
  • Ages 4-6: Little legs can handle this one with breaks. The lake’s views might spark their imagination – just watch them near the water’s edge.
  • Ages 7+: This age range should enjoy the trail! Enough to explore, not too strenuous, and a good length for a rewarding family adventure.

Dogs

This trail is generally considered to be dog-friendly! Just make sure your pup is on a leash.

Price Lake Loop Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There: 

Start your journey at the parking area located at Price Lake Overlook, found at milepost 296.7 on the mesmerizing Blue Ridge Parkway. If it’s a busy day and you’re in need of more parking, no worries! Simply follow the signs leading to the boat ramp and amphitheatre where additional parking and trail access are waiting for you.

Trail Directions

  1. Start at Price Lake Overlook.
  2. Go left over the bridge.
  3. Follow the trail into the woods.
  4. Note beaver signs on trees and muddy areas near the back of the lake.
  5. Follow the flat trail around the lake.
  6. Walk through the campground area.
  7. Return to the parking area.

Cone Manor to Bass Lake Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Cone Manor, Bass Lake Trail, & the Maze Loop

The Cone Manor to Bass Lake Trail near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is a favorite for birding, fishing, and hiking. Connecting the historic Cone Manor to Bass Lake, this path passes through woodlands and meadows, offering a glimpse of local flora and fauna. Whether you’re an avid adventurer or seeking a peaceful escape, the trail’s blend of history and natural beauty makes it a popular choice in the area.

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Moderate

The length of the trail is the only thing that classifies this as a moderate difficulty trail.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 6.3 mi.
  • Duration: 2 hr. 20 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 508 ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

March through October

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Cone Manor to Bass Lake Trail is partially paved with the rest being gravel and dirt trails. Another thing to assess is the length of the trail.

Children

  • Ages 0-3: Might be a bit much for the youngest explorers. The trail isn’t too rugged, but a sturdy stroller or baby carrier would be the way to go.
  • Ages 4-6: Little legs can handle this one with breaks. The lake’s views might spark their imagination – just watch them near the water’s edge.
  • Ages 7+: This age range should enjoy the trail! Enough to explore, not too strenuous, and a good length for a rewarding family adventure.

Dogs

This trail is generally considered to be dog-friendly! Just make sure your furry friends are on a leash.

Cone Manor to Bass Lake Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There: 

Situated in the Cone Memorial Park near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, the trailhead can be accessed via the Blue Ridge Parkway. Look for signs pointing to Cone Manor, and you’ll find ample parking available. From there, you can follow the well-marked paths in a counter-clockwise direction that will lead you to the beautiful Bass Lake, inviting you on a journey that’s both serene and engaging.

Trail Directions

  1. After you have parked at Cone Manor, follow the signposts to hike the trail counterclockwise until you loop back to Cone Manor.

Key Takeaway:

Discover the perfect trail for your next mindful adventure in the Blowing Rock area. From leisurely walks to challenging climbs, this comprehensive guide offers something for every conscious explorer. Embrace nature’s beauty while staying true to values of inclusivity and accessibility, all carefully mapped out to match your hiking abilities. Get ready to embark on a transformative journey that not only respects the environment but enriches your soul. Happy trails!

Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail

Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail

The Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail near Blowing Rock, North Carolina stretches across a moderate distance offering a unique blend of fascinating landscapes and engaging challenges. Moving onward to the Cragway Trail, the path unfolds to reveal breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, ultimately leading you to the Flat Rock View. The dramatic overlooks combined with the intimate connection to the forest make this hike a memorable experience for those seeking both beauty and adventure in their outdoor pursuits.

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Hard

The Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail is considered difficult due to its rugged terrain with steep inclines, rocky paths, and potentially slippery sections. Certain areas may require careful navigation, scrambling, or negotiating obstacles like boulders. The elevation gain also adds to the challenge, making the trail less suitable for inexperienced hikers or those with mobility limitations, but rewarding for adventure-seekers.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 3.9 mi.
  • Duration: 2 hr. 15 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 1,046 ft.
  • Route Type: Out & Back

Best Time of Year

April through October

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail needs extremely careful consideration when assessing if it is right for you and your ability.

Personally, this trail proved to be one that I initially shouldn’t have attempted with my leg and ankle issues as I was laid up in bed the following day because of it. 

Children

  • 12+: Kids 12 years old and older will enjoy this hike depending on their level of fitness and hiking prowess.

Dogs

While dogs are welcome on a leash, this trail would prove difficult even for larger dogs due to the need to climb over large rocks and boulders.

Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There:

Drive to the Boone Fork Parking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Marker 300, elevation 3,905 feet.

Trail Directions

  1. After parking at the Boone Fork Parking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, specifically at Mile Marker 300, locate the trail to the left of the parking area.
  2. Follow the Tanawha Trail by heading left onto it.
  3. Traverse a high bridge that takes you to the permit station, adding a touch of excitement to your journey.
  4. Keep your momentum going as you continue along the Nuwati Trail for a stretch of 0.6 miles, soaking in the natural beauty around you.
  5. When the time is right, make a left turn at the Cragway Trailhead – this will guide you onto the path leading to the Daniel Boone Scout Trail.
Bass Lake Loop Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Bass Lake Loop Trail

Bass Lake Loop Trail in Blowing Rock, NC, is a welcoming spot that invites walkers, joggers, and anyone who loves nature to come and soak in its gentle charm. Winding around the picturesque Bass Lake, this easy loop offers the ease of a flat and well-maintained gravel path, surrounded by beautiful trees and foliage, serene views of the water, and the charming wooden footbridges. It’s a popular spot for birding and fishing, with benches along the way to rest and take in the tranquil surroundings. 

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Easy

The flat and wide trail with nearly no incline or decline makes this trail one of ease

Details of Trail

  • Length: 0.9 mi.
  • Duration: 17 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 19 ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

March through October

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to October):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The flat and wide Bass Lake Loop Trail makes this a win for people of all abilities. Please be advised that walkers and wheelchairs may have more trouble with the dirt and gravel.

Children

Kids of all ages will be able to enjoy this trail with ease.

Dogs

All dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

Bass Lake Loop Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There: 

First, make your exit onto Highway 221 near milepost 294, as this highway intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway in several places. Travel a mile down, and keep an eye out for a short driveway on the left leading to the Bass Lake Parking area, marked by a sign. Park and follow the directions for the trail.

*Note: Be wary if using online maps to guide you; searching for the driveway by name might lead you to Bass Lake Drive inside Chetola Resort, not the parking area you want. 

Trail Directions

  1. After parking at the Bass Lake parking area, turn left following the signposts for the trail 
  2. As it is a loop trail, just follow the signposts back to the Bass Lake parking area.
Rolling green fields with autumn leaves - Rich Mountain Carriage Trail | Blowing Rock Hikes

Rich Mountain Carriage Trail

Rich Mountain Carriage Trail near Blowing Rock, NC, welcomes enthusiasts of cross-country skiing, hiking, and horseback riding. This trail winds through forests and meadows, leading to the summit of Rich Mountain and offering breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a place to reconnect with nature, perfect for outdoor activities and appreciating the changing seasons, with each visit providing a new and inspiring experience.

Trail Information

Difficulty of Trail: Easy

The Rich Mountain Carriage Trail is considered moderate in difficulty primarily due to its length and the gradual elevation gain on the way to the summit of Rich Mountain.

Details of Trail

  • Length: 5.8 mi.
  • Duration: 2hr.17 min.
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft.
  • Route Type: Loop

Best Time of Year

The Rich Mountain Carriage Trail is beautiful and available anytime of year.

Best Time of Day

Spring (March to May):

  • 7:00AM – 10:00AM
  • 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Summer (June to August):

  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM
  • 5:00PM – 7:00PM

Fall (September to November):

  • 8:00AM – 11:00AM
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Winter (December to February):

  • 9:00AM – 2:00PM 

Accessibility & Inclusivity Guide

Accessibility

The Rich Mountain Carriage Trail is 5.8 miles with an incline of 600 ft. with gravel and dirt footpaths.

Children

  • Ages 0-6: Little legs can handle this one with breaks.
  • Ages 7+: This age range should enjoy the trail! Enough to explore, not too strenuous, and a good length for a rewarding family adventure.

Dogs

The Rich Mountain Carriage Trail is known to be dog-friendly. Just be sure to keep your dog on a leash and follow any posted rules or regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on the trail.

Rich Mountain Carriage Trail Map | Blowing Rock Hikes

Trail Map

Getting There: 

To get to the starting point of the trail, first, exit the Blue Ridge Parkway at the junction just before you reach Moses Cone Manor, taking a right if you’re heading North on the Parkway. Then, head towards Shulls Mill Road and pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway. As you continue, you’ll see Trout Lake on your right-hand side. After passing Trout Lake, travel about 1/2 mile further, and you’ll see a gate on your right. This gate marks the start of the trail.

Trail Directions

  1. At the gate, turn right.
  2. Follow the sign posts until the loop finishes back at the gate.

Key Takeaway:

Discover the perfect trail for your next mindful adventure in the Blowing Rock area. From leisurely walks to challenging climbs, this comprehensive guide offers something for every conscious explorer. Embrace nature’s beauty while staying true to values of inclusivity and accessibility, all carefully mapped out to match your hiking abilities. Get ready to embark on a transformative journey that not only respects the environment but enriches your soul. Happy trails!

Conclusion

From the exhilarating vistas of Top  Mountain Trail to the serene beauty of Bass Lake Loop Trail, Blowing Rock hikes are not just routes, but pathways to self-discovery and adventure. These trails invite you to immerse yourself in nature, find reflection, and embark on a journey that transcends mere destination.

As we’ve explored the beauty of Blowing Rock’s trails, it’s worth mentioning that the adventure doesn’t stop here. Just outside this charming area, there’s a plethora of additional trails waiting to be discovered. Venture out to the Beacon Heights Trail near Grandfather Mountain, explore Elk Knob Summit Trail, or hike the paths to Linville Falls and Green Mountain Creek Falls. And let’s not overlook the iconic Linn Cove Viaduct, guiding you to the Tanawha Trail through Banner Elk. These neighboring trails offer equally enchanting. Want to hear the backstory of how the town of Blowing Rock got its name? Read The Blowing Rock Legend: A Tale of Love, Loss, & Magic.

 Will you take the first step? We’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences, so please leave a comment below. Your story might just be the inspiration someone else needs to lace up their hiking boots and set off on their own exploration.

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4 Comments

  1. Oooh these look really fun! I love all the details you gave for each hike (including the important fur-babies!)
    It’s also really nice that so many of these are loops! 😀

    The Flat Rock View via Nuwati and Cragway Trail and the vistas of Top Mountain trail are calling to me…

    1. Thank you! I tried to make it as comprehensive as it could be since I had to look EVERYWHERE for this information when we went. The Flat Rock View was absolutely amazing. I would have to say that it was probably my most difficult physical challenge to date since my accident, but definitely the most rewarding!

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