Situated in a part of Western North Carolina commonly referred to as the High Country, Boone is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Whether you’re a paddler, climber, thru-hiker, trail runner, fly fisherman or dedicated snowsports enthusiast, you’ll feel right at home in this southern mountain town. Use this guide to 48 Hours in Boone next time you head for the High Country. It’s a great blueprint for adventure and features some of the best craft beer and local food that Boone has to offer.
Ski, Snowboard, Tube
In Boone, snowsports are part of the culture, and with an average annual snowfall rate around 34 inches and a handful of great ski areas to choose from, it’s easy to see why. Take a drive down Boone’s bustling King Street on any given winter day and you’ll see this culture manifested in roof racks towing skis and snowboards and local outfitters offering a plethora of winter sports gear. If you’re planning a winter trip to Boone, do yourself a favor and make arrangements to hit one or more of these great High Country ski resorts and tubing parks.
Beech Mountain Resort
Established in 1969, Beech Mountain Ski Resort is a destination in its own right. The resort lies within the limits of the town of Beech Mountain which, at an elevation of 5,506 feet, holds the distinguished title of ‘Eastern America’s Highest Elevation Town.’ A quick but winding 45 minute drive from Boone will put you in the midst of some Western North Carolina best skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.
In addition to some of the Southeast’s best slopes, Beech is home to a microbrewery—Beech Mountain Brewing Co. and the 5506′ Skybar, situated at the resort’s highest point and offering stunning views of the surrounding High Country. There are also multiple options for slope side lodging. For more info check out their website and their 24 hour webcams.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Another great skiing and snowboarding option near Boone is Appalachian Ski Mountain. With three green slopes, three blues, three blacks and multiple freestyle terrain parks to choose from, Appalachian Ski Mountain can keep visitors entertained for an entire day or more.
Also perched at an elevation near 5,000 feet, Sugar Mountain Resort boasts more than twenty slopes and eight lifts. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Sugar offers snowshoeing, tubing, ice skating, and several shopping and dining options.
Still new to the skiing and snowboarding game and not quite ready to commit? Then Hawk’s Nest Tubing Park is your place. Touted as the largest snow tubing park in the Eastern United States, Hawk’s Nest can accommodate tons of visitors with its thirty-plus snow tubing lanes. Another benefit to tubing at Hawk’s Nest is that it won’t break the bank. Passes start as low as $27.
The Boone area does not want for stellar fishing holes. In fact, it is widely considered to be one of the premier fly fishing destinations in the Southeast. Whether you’re heading out in search of wily wild trout or hoping to hook up with trophy stockies on bigger waters, you’ll find your fly fishing fix in the Western North Carolina High Country.
“One of the greatest things about this area is you’ve got fiver major rivers and all the feeder creeks and streams that feed these rivers,” says local fly fishing enthusiast Scott Farfone. “The fishing possibilities are endless.”
Boone Fly Fishing Destinations
Valle Crucis, Watauga River
The width of the Watauga and the openness of its banks as it flows through Valle Crucis separate this river from its Southern Appalachian counterparts. More reminiscent of the type of rivers found out west than those typically located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the conditions found on this stretch of water are considered a welcome respite for the rhododendron weary fly fishers among us. In Valle Crucis you’ll find ample public fishing access leading to rainbows, browns and the occasional brookie. From the months of October 1 to June 5 this portion of the Watauga becomes a designated Delayed Harvest stream, which means all netted trout must be released to fight another day.
Commonly listed alongside North Carolina’s top ranked trout streams, Wilson Creek is just one of the several great fisheries located in the Catawba Drainage. But if you’re looking for something in the in the Western North Carolina High Country that is easily accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway it is among the absolute best. One of the few rivers on our list afforded a Wild and Scenic designation, Wilson Creek harbors brown and rainbow trout in a variety of pools, runs and riffles and has been compared to the the streams of Northern California’s Sierra Nevada. While you’re in the area don’t miss out on the chance to fish Harper Creek, Gragg Prong, and Lost Cove Creek, all tributaries of Wilson.
If you’re new to the area and in need of some advice, let one of these trusted local outfitters help you along the way.
- Foscoe Fishing Company and Outfitters
- Elk Creek Outfitters
- Trophy Water Guide Service
- Due South Outfitters
- Appalachian Angler Fly Shop
Mountain bikers around the country tout the trails of Southern Appalachia as some of the country’s absolute best, and the Boone area is no exception to that reputation. If your adventures tend to start on two wheels Boone, NC is the place for you.
“What the Boone area has to offer mountain bikers is miles and miles of endless forest to get lost in,” says professional mountain biker and area cycling guide Darrell Prillaman.
“We’ve got everything that people think of when they think of Western North Carolina mountain biking, rhododendron tunnels, rocky ridge lines, gorgeous creek crossings, and trails that end in swimming holes.”
Rocky Knob Bike Park
This 185-acre bike park is located right in Boone’s backyard. It contains about eight miles of mountain bike trails for all skill levels along with 4 skills parks and a pump track. The park was created in 2009 with grants secured by the Bikes Belong Foundation and Specialized Bicycles. For more info check them out online.
Hit the Slopes for Downhill
When the local slopes dry up in the summer they become a mecca for downhill mountain bikers. Beech and Sugar Mountain Resorts are both popular destinations for downhill MTB enthusiasts. In fact, Beech recently hosted the downhill mountain biking national championships.
A vast and varied selection of local craft beers, nightly live music performances, and locally sourced ingredients make this gastropub a favorite of Boone residents and visitors alike. The vision of a local family with deep ties to the community, The Local offers patrons traditional southern fare and 20 rotating taps. Its the perfect place to get your craft beer fix after a long, adventurous day in Boone’s backyard.
The Proper is Boone’s best tribute to southern table fare and the southern way of life. If you’re looking for a brunch spot, this is your place. Expect to encounter such traditional brunch staples as house made buttermilk biscuits, gravy bacon cheddar home fries, quiche of the day, pulled pork and grits and fried chicken and waffles. But don’t take my word for it. Their Instagram account will have you salivating in no time.
Lost Province is billed as a brewery, and with a dozen or so in-house beers on draft, it’s a great one, but there’s much more to it than that. The wood fired food offerings are up there with some of Boone’s very best. If pizza is what you seek Lost Province has you covered. With a full menu that includes classics like the Margherita and Hawaiian as well as more innovative creations like the Sweet Beet, which incorporates fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, fire roasted sweet potatoes, beets, walnuts, rosemary and jalapeño honey, this is one of the most hopping pizza destinations in town.
Located in the heart of downtown Boone, the Coyote Kitchen specializes in Southwest Caribbean soul food. Some of the more popular dishes include pork belly tacos, the chipotle chicken sandwich and a burrito called the Marley, loaded with jerk chicken, butter beans, roasted sweet potato, sour cream, fried plantains, and grilled pineapple.
The Best of the Rest
- Appalachian Mountain Brewing’s Farm to Flame Food Truck
- Hob Nob Farm Cafe
- Joy Bistro
- Stick Boy Bread Co
Libations and Nightlife
You may remember these guys for their Long Leaf IPA, the beer with the most votes in the Best Sixer Ever contest we held back in the spring. Sean Spiegelman and Danny Wilcox—two of the passionate people behind AMB’s success—have been garnering brewing accolades and community support since they opened their doors in 2011, and for good reason. The beer is top notch and the taproom is a destination worthy of working into your Boone plans. Don’t leave Boone without dropping in on AMB. Boone Saloon
When Boone locals are seeking a late night watering hole with regular live music on the docket and sports on the flatscreens, they head for the Boone Saloon. In addition to local live music, late night stiff drinks, and local camaraderie, the Boone Saloon offers a full menu loaded with stellar pub fare like wings, a classic BLT, and the “Eggsceptional Burger”—fried egg, bacon, and horseradish on a toasted bun. If you happen to catch the Boone Saloon earlier in the day ask about the “Dunch Menu” which includes such items as the five dollar biscuits and gravy, french toast and huevos rancheros.
The Best of the Rest