A popular waterfall, Hebron Falls, is easily accessed only 1.5 miles into this moderately strenuous 5.5-mile loop, starting at the picturesque Price Park Picnic Area. A glittering creek runs through the picnic area, where shaded alfresco dining spots are scattered throughout the park. The trail itself is a mostly flat loop popular with hikers and trail runners alike. For the first mile, kids will love the TRACK trail activities.
The Price Park Picnic Area is located at milepost 296.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From Boone, travel south on US Highway 321 for 6 miles and turn right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway ramp. Turn left to travel south about 4 miles. Signs will indicate the picnic area is on the right.
Restrooms and trashcans are located in the parking lot of the Price Park Picnic Area. The comfort stations are closed in the winter.
After crossing the wooden bridge near the restrooms at Price Park Picnic Area, you'll reach a wooden sign with a trail map and notice two possible directions to start the loop: the trail follows Bee Tree Creek to the right, and straight ahead the path plunges into the forest. To follow the Kid's in Trails TRACK Trail, or to reach Hebron Falls the quickest, take the trail to the right.
The trail begins as a wide, flat path through a goldenrod meadow, and winds along with the creek. TRACK trail activities focus on how to spot birds and other signs of wildlife, and how the plants and flowers benefit the environment. As the trail curves to the right, it enters a forest with a completely new ecosystem for children to discover. At the 1-mile marker, the TRACK trail ends and hikers with small children can turn back to the picnic area.
Continuing forward, a sign indicates an upcoming waterfall and the intersection of the trail with the Mountains-to-Sea North Carolina state trail. Instead of crossing the bridge, navigate over the boulders to the left. After another 0.3 miles, a sign indicates a steep side trail leading down to Hebron Falls, a cascading waterfall surrounded by car-sized boulders. After exploring the falls and splashing around the creek for a time, climb back up to the main trail. Turn back here for an easy 3-mile round trip with older children and leashed pets.
Continuing past the falls, the trail narrows and navigates large boulders, stairways, and even a couple of ladders which may not be suitable for some children or dogs. Use caution, as these sections of the trail may be slippery or muddy. The trail follows and crosses the creek for over 2.5 miles before intersecting with the Tanawha Trail, which reaches its terminus at the Price Lake amphitheater nearby. Mile markers and orange diamond blazes are clearly posted along the way.
The two trails merge and then split at Price Lake Campground's loop B, with the Tanawha Trail continuing straight towards the amphitheater and the Boone Fork Trail turning left on a narrow path, parallel with the campground road. Keep an eye on the map here to stay on track back to the picnic area. You'll trek back into the forest before emerging back into the meadow where the trail began.
Help preserve this area by keeping on designated trails, taking pictures of flowers and wildlife instead of interacting with them, packing out any trash, and being considerate of others enjoying the trails. Always use caution at waterfalls and don't climb on the slippery boulders.
Click through the images below to learn more about how to help preserve the awe-inspiring environment around Boone!