Snowshoeing & Cross Country Skiing

Snow shoe hiking 2015

Keep your eyes on our weather and snow reports to follow winter snow conditions. Cross Country skiing in the NC High Country fluctuates with snowfall, but the Boone NC Area boasts the Deep South's deepest natural snow. Roan Mountain gets 100 inches at 6,300 feet. Average snowfall is just under 50 inches at Moses Cone Park in Blowing Rock. 


Cross country, or Nordic skiing, can be a lot like walking on skis, but proficient skiers stride and glide with ease and speed. Only the Nordic skier's toe is attached to the ski, permitting that striding glide that carries you "cross country." The flat terrain is best for novices, and there's plenty of that in the Boone area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, especially on Cone Park's broad carriage paths. Nordic skiers usually use a "step turn," like ice skaters, but with the classic telemark turn, advanced skiers tackle the winding trails of Roan Mountain, downhill ski slopes, and even isolated backcountry areas drifted deep with snow. 


Cross country skiers may head to Boone to traverse the high country trails if they are already equipped, but there are currently no outfitters offering rentals, or lessons for nordic skiing, in the area. 1st Tracks in Boone sells Nordic skis, and Footsloggers in downtown Boone has snowshoes for sale. Sugar Mountain Resort offers guided snowshoeing trips on the ski mountain acreage.

Tours on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturdays

Snowshoe at Sugar Mountain



Keep an eye on the weather at Ray's Weather to find out whether there is a snow event in the forecast or currently on the ground. Tackle the skiable Boone Area trails below.


This Blowing Rock bulge of forest on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a Currier & Ives cross country ski site. Twenty-five miles of road-width carriage paths wander through towering white pine forests. The snow-muffled landscape is a magical place where beginners can sense the spirit of the sport. The Bass Lake Trail accessible from U.S. 221 S. is one option that is part of the Moses Cone Estate.  


At other High Country locations, the Blue Ridge Parkway is gated to vehicles when snow covers the road. The Price Lake Trail is good with deeper snow. The Grandfather Mountain portion of the road near Linville is an easy ski across the Linn Cove Viaduct-awesome scenery everywhere. Click here to download the Tanawha Trail map. The trails at Linville Falls are other good options when the snow is deeper.


Roan Mountain is the place for serious Nordic skiers- see our Roan Mountain trail guide or check out the video at the top of the page. Snow is so much more reliable at Roan's 6,300 feet elevation! Forty-five minutes from Boone, Roan's evergreen-covered summits are straight out of the far north. There are beginner options-the summertime road to the summit is gated and gradual with distant views of Mount Mitchell.

Trails flank the road, including the Appalachian Trail with its wild, switch-backing descent back to your car. When the road to the top levels out, ski into the first parking lot on the right to turn left on the Cloudland Trail. Or stay with the road, and on the left, the Rhododendron Gardens Trail reaches an observation deck.

To reach Roan's Carver's Gap Trailhead abd Rhododendron Gardens - drive to Banner Elk, then go left on NC Highway 194 past the road to Beech Mountain. Turn right on US 19-E into Tennessee, and in the town of Roan Mountain, turn left on TN  Highway 143 and drive 14 miles to the ridge-top trailhead.


Many of the town's well-maintained trails-at elevations as high as 5,000 feet-are great for snowshoeing and the town's recreation program has snowshoes for rent free of charge. There's also Beech Mountain's new Emerald Outback Trail System.


Don't forget Elk Knob State Park, the only North Carolina State Park where cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter recreation are the main mission. The Elk Knob Trails are great for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Under heavy snow, the town of Boone's Greenway Trail can be a great ski tour.