Hiking in the High Country!

Ashe County is home to both the New River State Park and Mount Jefferson State Park. Both parks contain excellent hiking, canoeing, fishing and mountain biking opportunities and are favorite spots among residents and visitors of Ashe and Alleghany County. The New River State Park has a handful of great hiking trails, namely the Spur Trail, Farmhouse Loop trail, Fern Nature Trail, Running Cedar Trail and the Hickory Trail. However, because the New River is the centerpiece of the park, canoeing and fishing on the river are more popular activities.  

Mount Jefferson State Park has numerous hikes that showcase the mountain and surrounding scenery. The Summit Trail is a strenuous hike to the peak of Mount Jefferson at 4,665 feet. The view from the top, the highest point in Ashe County, offers breathtaking sites of Ashe County NC and the surrounding Appalachian Mountains.

Three Top Mountain is not a place often mentioned in guidebooks for understandable reasons—it’s completely segregated from the common tourist corridors, and even though its paths are well-trodden, its total isolation from humanity can be disconcerting to even seasoned hikers. From the parking area, you’ll have a two mile trek to the summit on a former ATV trail.  In practice, it feels like more than two miles, since you’re walking uphill the entire way.  Most of the trail is obvious, but at some intersections you’ll have to intuit the proper route.  Fortunately, we  found this was easily accomplished so long as we kept heading uphill.

Only about 20 minutes north of Boone, NC lies Snake Mountain, made of a rock called amphibolites and privately owned land. Normally, in the Boone area if something is privately owned, the public is not permitted to enter, but there are  no such reports of any troubles on Snake Mountain. There is an established, but steep trail that goes up a grassy ridge on the north end of the mountain. The trail basically follows the gassy patch.

Some of the best hiking can be found on The Blue Ridge Parkway which runs directly through Ashe County and offers numerous trails including Jumping off Rock Trail, Tompkins Knob Trail and Lump Trail. These hikes are well-marked and easy to find in the Ashe County section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Blue Ridge Mountain Hiking NC is a favorite past time with numerous NC Hiking Trails available. Lump Trail is at Milepost 264.4, Thompson Knob Trail is found at 272.5  and Jumping off Rocks Trail is located at Milepost 260.3.

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