I love to take in the beautiful mountain scenes around me and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I chose to attend Appalachian State University. In fact, I think it’s one of the main reasons most students chose this school, to feel at one with nature. However, when it comes to being active, I do not have the best stamina, so finding the right hiking trail is important to me. Before becoming a student, I would visit Boone and Blowing Rock all the time with my parents. This got me familiar with the Blue Ridge Parkway and most of its overlooks. Here are some of my favorite short hikes along with some beautiful pictures to convince you to choose one of these spots on your next adventure!
- Beacon Heights
This hike is definitely one of my favorites and my older sister was actually the one who showed it to me. Beacon Heights is on the Blue Ridge Parkway and it’s just about a mile-long round-trip. It’s a beautiful and serene view, and I wish I could gatekeep it because whenever I’ve gone hiking, it’s been a pretty secluded spot compared to other overlooks.
2. Grandfather Mountain
For this hike, you approach an entrance where you pay $20 a person to go up the mountain. At this point, you can either take the Grandfather Mountain profile hike or drive up the mountain to get to the swinging bridge. I took the option of driving up the mountain to take in the beautiful views from the comfort of the passenger seat. This was definitely a cheat and I bet hiking the profile trail would result in the same feeling, but it was the peak of summer, so I didn’t want to be drenched in sweat. On my drive up the mountain, I spotted the cutest mom and baby deer!
3. Linn Cove Viaduct
This may not even be considered a hike as it’s not a trail, but I find that the Linn Cove Viaduct provides picture-perfect memories. When you approach the Linn Cove Viaduct parking on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll “hike” along the dirt path until you reach the rocky area. There are makeshift steps that have been made using rocks, and you’ll get to see some pretty cool graffiti as you make your way down. At the bottom, you’ll find larger rocks to sit on if you please and even a baby waterfall that flows into a creek.
4. Roan Mountain
Although this hike isn’t in North Carolina, it’s just under an hour’s trip from Boone! If you ever want to go on a small road trip that will guarantee a great hike and views, consider Roan Mountain, which is on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The best part of this hike was the openness of the landscape, as you can see miles ahead of you and it really shows how high in elevation you are. It’s not too tough of a hike, but a good shoe is recommended as the path is uneven so this can lead to some ankle pain. When spring hits, this is the hike to go on as you’ll see beautiful rhododendrons!