Not that long ago, I got to hike the difficult but rewarding Boone Fork Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was mainly in search of the Hebron Falls/Rock Colonies along the trail. The path got its name from the Boone Fork River that it parallels for much of the hike. You can access the trail through Blowing Rock’s Julian Price Park on milepost 297 of the parkway. If you want to explore the entire trail, it’s a five mile loop full of great sights. I hiked the trail in about two and a half hours. Hiking boots and prior experience are definitely recommended for this trip, as you will encounter a lot of difficult terrain. If you are just coming for the falls, they are about a mile and a half into the loop if you take the right side entrance. You’re in for a long hike if you accidentally take the other entrance like I did when I first visited a few years ago.
The area truly is full of the “rock colonies.” You’ll see sights like the one above often. If you follow the pathway for a short while, you will begin to hear water roaring in the distance. You will reach areas with great views of the rushing Boone Fork River below soon after hearing it. The pathways have markers to tell you how far you are into the loop. You will eventually reach a sign pointing you towards the falls after about a mile and a half.
If you come during the summer, it’s a good idea to bring a bathing suit. There are calmer areas along the way that are appropriate for swimming. Just use caution and don’t swim near the rushing areas of the river. Watch out for slippery rocks, as well.
The gorgeous views make this hike well worth it. You might even catch a glimpse of wildlife along the way. This area is great for birdwatchers – you can visit this link for more information on the birds in the area.
The entire trail loop is great for more experienced hikers, as it features a lot of challenging terrain. You will want to keep an eye on your footing. Uneven terrain is a given around the rock colonies, but there are also slippery rocks in areas where the trail intersects with smaller streams. Shown below is one example of the difficult terrain you will come across. When you reach the top of the ladder, you will be navigating those sloping rocks.
Near the end of this loop, you will see see where the path intersects with the Mountains to Sea Trail that stretches all the way across North Carolina and stops at the Outer Banks. You will find the intersection in a hilly area, shown below.
You could also enjoy the Julian Price Park at the end of the loop. There are a number of grills, picnic tables and other camp ground amenities are available in the park. For more information on these features, you can visit this link.
If you find yourself in the Blowing Rock, NC area and you like a good hike, I would definitely recommend visiting the Boone Fork Trail. It is full of amazing views and is a great place for adventurers.
Until next time,
– North Carolina Road Trip