Header Photo Courtesy Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
The most popular unit of the National Park system is one of America's great road trips. The High Country portion of the road - where the Parkway was started and completed - is arguably the scenic apex of the experience. Check out our Ultimate Parkway Guide. Open year-round, but sections can be closed by snow.
The world's only privately owned International Biosphere Reserve is non-profit preservation at its loftiest. A spectacular drive takes visitors to the wheelchair-accessible Mile-High Swinging Bridge, thousands of feet above the Carolina Piedmont. A world-class nature museum, interpretive programs, and Environmental Habitats for elk, bears, eagles, cougars, and otters offer outdoor education and entertainment. Awesome trails lead to high adventure in the Grandfather Mountain State Park. Open year-round, weather permitting.
This renowned outdoor drama in Boone tells the tale of Daniel Boone's adventures in the High Country and local pioneers' little-known, pivotal role in winning the American Revolution at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Horn in the West is one of the nation's most historic outdoor dramas. Don't miss adjoining attractions. Hickory Ridge History Museum is a wonderfully interpreted classic collection of 18th and 19th-century log cabins. The Daniel Boone Native Gardens showcases the High Country's world-class biodiversity. If you're searching for history in the High Country don't miss our History & Museums feature.
The Boone Area boasts awesome views - but some of those vistas are inside a mountain! The stalactites and stalagmites of the only show cavern in North Carolina are partially handicapped accessible. Open year-round & great for a rainy day.
Charles Kuralt considered the sagging, scenic 1882 Mast General Store in Valle Crucis a true destination among the nation's general stores. You'll agree. The historical atmosphere is unforgettable, and so is the shopping. This rural emporium that once carried "everything from cradles to caskets" is a trove of Americana and unusual merchandise. There's a branch of Mast in downtown Boone, too. Open year-round.
This High Country family favorite amusingly defies the forces of gravity and physics. Mystery Hill's 1903 Dougherty House Heritage Museum is a historic 1898 home featuring authentic insight into 19th-century life in the mountains. Open year-round.
The Mid-Atlantic and South's greatest concentration of ski resorts and snow tubing facilities brings national quality skiing and winter fun to the Boone Area. But don't let summer stop you! These are the East's highest ski areas. Slopeside lodging offers great views of grassy, wildflower-strewn meadows where mountain biking, hiking, tennis, and golf are part of the fun. Ski slopes are generally open from Thanksgiving to mid-March, weather permitting.
High Country state parks represent a nationally significant spectrum of superb outdoor recreation and priceless preservation. Many feature programs, special music events, outdoor venues for family reunions and gatherings, and even business retreats. Hike to the top of Grandfather Mountain or Elk Knob. Paddle, tube, or cast a line at New River (home to a nationally significant multi-day canoe camping experience). Drive to the top of Mount Jefferson for awesome views. Open all year.
A colorful legend attributed to Native Americans cites the odd updrafts on this spectacular crag that led "Ripley's Believe It or Not" to proclaim it "the only place in the world where snow falls upside down." The Blowing Rock's dramatic views from this cliffside perch, open since 1933 as "North Carolina's oldest travel attraction." Open year-round.
Our trail to the East's loftiest vineyards will elevate your appreciation of fine wine - and great scenery. Take this spectacular loop of the High Country for three sophisticated viticultural experiences on a visit to the Grandfather Vineyard & Winery in Foscoe, the Banner Elk Winery in Banner Elk, and Linville Falls Winery in Linville Falls Community.
The Boone Area's premier family fun park features a Western-themed ride on an authentic steam train-actually the Boone Area's first high-tech link to the outside world from the late 1800s to 1940 (Engine #12 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places). Now the shrill-whistled train nicknamed "Tweetsie" by early residents crosses a trestle, circles a mountain, and encounters robbers and Indians on the way back to a diverse assortment of rides and entertaining options. Great events include a Thomas the Tank Engine visit, October's Ghost Train, and Tweetsie Christmas. Open spring to fall.
Zipline thrills are fun for all ages - and the Boone Area has three outstanding venues for zip-line adventure. You'll soar above-it-all, including trees and meadows, at Hawksnest Zipline, High Gravity Adventures, and Sky Valley Zip Tours. Hawksnest is open year-round and located in Seven Devils, a short 15-minute drive from Boone. High Gravity Adventures is open all summer, includes Kids' Foothills Course, and is located right next to Tweetsie. Sky Valley is open April through October and now features electric adventure vehicles, includes Night Zip and Whistle Pig Adventure Park for kids, and is about a 5-minute drive from the Boone Mall.