Elk Knob State Park: Everything You Need to Know

Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Elk Knob State Park is a hidden gem that offers a great blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure that the entire family can enjoy. Established in 2003, this North Carolina state park has become a popular destination for hikers, nature lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Whether you're seeking a day trip or a longer stay, Elk Knob State Park has something for everyone.

Elk Knob might be relatively small, but it packs a punch when it comes to natural attractions. This area, located near Meat Camp and Boone, NC, boasts a rich history and fascinating geology. Spending a day here allows you to soak in the breathtaking scenery of the Appalachian Mountains and connect with nature in a profound way.

Hiking Trails

When it comes to activities, hiking takes center stage at Elk Knob State Park. The park offers several trails, each with its own charm and unique angle of the surrounding mountains. Elk Knob State Park has some of the best hiking in North Carolina. Here are our top three favorite hikes, all of which can be done in a day by hikers of any skill level.

Elk Knob Summit Trail

  • Length: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 974 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This trail is the crown jewel of the park, so to speak. It leads hikers to the summit of Elk Knob at an elevation of 5,520 feet. This moderately challenging route will reward you with sweeping panoramic views of the neighboring mountains covered in rich, verdant forests.

Beech Tree Trail

  • Length: 1.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 108 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Beech Tree Trail is a simple, leisurely hike that is great for families with small children, pets, or people just looking for a relaxing stroll through the woods. This well-maintained trail makes its way through groves of aspen trees. The most memorable feature of this trail is the local art that is displayed along the way, adding an additional touch of beauty to this peaceful hike.

Elk Knob Backcountry Trail

  • Length: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 905 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

If you're looking for a more immersive experience, take the Elk Knob Backcountry Trail. The Backcountry Trail will take you deep into the woods away from signs of civilization. The trail features a few decent creek crossings, so hiking boots and trekking poles are recommended. With campsites spread along the end of the hike, this trail is a popular backpacking trail.


Elk Knob State Park provides essential amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit. There are well-maintained restrooms and an amphitheater for educational programs and events. The park office is a valuable resource for information about the park, local wildlife, and nearby attractions. Additionally, a picnic area equipped with tables, grills, and restrooms is available, making it an excellent spot for a family outing or gathering of friends.


While it's possible to see the best of Elk Knob State Park in a single day, it's worth taking your time to soak in the beauty of the area. If you're looking to stay the night, the park offers a few camping options. There are a dozen first-come, first-serve campsites towards the end of the Elk Knob Backcountry Trail that allow visitors to pitch their tents and lose themselves in nature for a night or two.

If you're planning on roughing it in Elk Knob State Park, keep in mind that campers at backcountry sites are not permitted to have open fires. Additionally, restroom facilities are limited to a pit toilet at the group campsite, so it's essential to be prepared for some rustic camping.

Stay at Blue Bear Mountain Camp

For a more luxurious camping experience near Elk Knob State Park, book you stay at Blue Bear Mountain Camp. Located nearby, our charming retreat offers cozy cabins with modern amenities.

After a long day of hiking, there's nothing better than unwinding in comfort while being surrounded by nature's beauty. Whether you like to sleep under the stars or in a comfortable bed with a roof over your head, Blue Bear Mountain Camp has plenty of options for you. From stargazer domes to our immaculate cabins, we have you covered. Book your stay today!