Elk Knob State Park

Quick Facts

Elk Knob State Park

North Carolina

(828) 297-7261

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Elk Knob State Park is one of the newest additions to the North Carolina state parks system. Elk Knob is one in a series of amphibolite mountains in the southern Appalachian range. The area contains a high diversity of natural communities, many of them uncommon or rare. A very diverse flora is found in Elk Knob State Natural Area, due partially to the high elevation and the rich soils. The rich, or "sweet" soils, are derived from the weathering of amphibolite, a metamorphic rock type. Rare and endangered plants such as Gray's lily, trailing wolfsbane, large purple fringed orchid, and flame azaleas are found in the natural area. Hike an old road that leads to the summit of Elk Knob. Along the trail, hikers will catch glimpses of the mountainous terrain of Watauga and Ashe Counties. Upon reaching the summit, hikers will have spectacular views of The Peak, Three Top and Bluff Mountains, Mount Jefferson, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Mt Rodgers (Va.), and the Iron Mountains in Virginia and Tennessee. Throughout Elk Knob State Natural Area, wildflowers cover the forest floor with an abundance of color from early spring through the fall. Professional photographers, as well as the hobbyist, will find beautiful wildflower and breathtaking landscape photo opportunities.

Map of Elk Knob (NC)

Latitude, Longitude: 36.152143, -81.987626

READ MORE

Activities

  • Bicycling

    In all parks, bicycles are permitted only on those trails or other park areas specifically designated for their use.

  • Camping

    Camping is not permitted in park, camping can be found nearby.

  • Climbing

    An old road leads to the summit of Elk Knob.

  • Hiking

    The hike to the summit on this road is steep, rocky, and strenuous.

  • Historic Sites

    Park rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Elk Knob State Natural Area. Watch for notices of these programs on park displays and through local media. To arrange a special exploration of Elk Knob State Natural Area for your group or class, contact the park office. Elk Knob has a rich natural and cultural history, and by special request, park rangers will do on-site and outreach environmental education programs.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Motorized vehicles are permitted only in designated areas and not permitted on park trails.

  • Picnicking

    A small picnic area is available. There are 11 picnic sites with grills and tables.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Throughout Elk Knob State Natural Area, wildflowers cover the forest floor with an abundance of color from early spring through the fall. Professional photographers, as well as the hobbyist, will find beautiful wildflower and breathtaking landscape photo opportunities.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter sports include snowshoeing and other snow play.

Directions

Driving

Elk Knob State Park is located in Watauga County approximately 9.5 miles north of Boone.

Traveling north to Boone on US Highway 421, take NC 194 North approximately 4 miles and turn left onto Meat Camp Road. Follow Meat Camp Road 5.5 miles to the Elk Knob-Snake Mountain Gap and turn right into the natural area.

From Eastern and Piedmont North Carolina, follow I-40 West to US 421 North to Boone.

Traveling East on I -40 from Asheville, take US 221 North to US 421 South in Boone then to Hwy 194 North.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(828) 297-7261

Links