So, you’ve settled into your hotel room and discovered the remarkable summer scenery that those of us who live in the High Country have known about since we’ve lived here.

Now what?

The Boone area has myriad options for both “watchers” and “doers” in Ashe, Watauga and Avery counties.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but here are a few highlighted ways to spend the day in the tri-county area.


Grandfather Mountain

Highland Games

One of the jewels of the High Country, Grandfather Mountain is home to the Grandfather Highland Games, which are July 11-14.

They kickoff with which include the 5k Bear run, the lighting of the torches. Saturday starts with a marathon run that begins at Appalachian State’s Kidd Brewer Stadium and ends at MacRae Meadows, and the games themselves, a collection of Scottish competitions, which include not just athletic events, but also bagpipe playing, Scottish dancing, and different types of food. A track meet is also held for anybody who wishes to participate.

A must-see for anybody who wants to spend a day outside in the High Country.

Blood, Sweat and Gears

The biggest cycling event in the area, the 21st annual Blood, Sweat and Gears bike ride takes plays June 22.

The ride is a 100-mile loop around Watauga, Avery and Ashe Counties involving more than 1,000 cyclists from throughout North Carolina and the Southeast. The cumulative climb of the 100-mile ride is 8,188 feet with the clip to the gap at Snake Mountain reaching an 18-20 percent grade near the top.

Snake Mountain, the centerpiece of the ride, has an elevation of 5,564 feet.

Usually the 100-mile ride sells out quickly, but a 50-mile ride is also offered on the same day.

Both rides begin and end at Valle Crucis School, which is approximately five miles south of Boone.

The BS&G, a nonprofit ride, raises money for various charities in the area. For more information on the ride, the BS&G website is

Places to have fun

Auto racing

Need more speed in your day? Try spending Saturday night at Mountain View Speedway. Watauga County’s only auto racing speedway is located at the Watauga County Fairgrounds east of Boone; prices are $10 for adults, $2 for kids age 7-11. Kids age 6-younger are free. The phone number at the race track is (828) 773-6869.

Want to take to the track on a smaller scale? Try racing go-cars at Fun ‘n’ Wheels, located at 2788 Highway 105 in Boone. It’s open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and its hours are from 10:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.


High Country Lanes

If outdoor activities are not your style, there’s the old-fashioned sport of bowling. The High Country Lanes is open at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and is open at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The lanes are also open Sundays from noon until 11 p.m.

Located across from the Wellness Center, the phone number is (828) 264-3166.

Cardinal Lanes

Cardinal Lanes is located at 787 US 221 Business in West Jefferson. The phone number is 336-846-7077.

Swimming pool

The Blowing Rock City Pool, located in Broyhill Park at 173 Lakeside Drive in Blowing Rock will open May 25th.

The pool is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m for public swim and from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m for public swim Monday-Friday. It will be open Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 8:30 p.m.

Roller skating

Wilcox Skating is located at 6880 US 421 in Vilas west of Boone. The phone number is 828-297-3296.

Miniature golf

Sunrise Mountain Mini Golf course, located at 1675 N.C. 105 is open during the summer. For more information, call (828) 265-4653.

Daniel Boone Native Gardens

Want to get back to nature, but in a slightly different setting? Try the Daniel Boone Native Gardens.

Located near downtown Boone at 651 Horn in the West Drive, the Native Gardens features a collection of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. More than 200 specials of plants bloom throughout the growing season.

The Native Gardens is open May-October and a $2 donation is asked for people ages 16-older. Dogs are not permitted except for service animals, and wheelchair access is available at the Rockery entrance. For more information, call (828) 264-1299.

Horn in the West Theatre

The 68th season of the outdoor drama Horn in the West will be presented June 21-Aug. 10.

The play tells the story of the area’s pioneers, with the help of Daniel Boone and their Cherokee allies, fight for independence against British during the revolutionary war period. The theater is located at 591 Horn in the West Drive just east of downtown Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-2120.

Tweetsie Railroad Wild

West Theme Park

Tweetsie Railroad Wild West Theme Park features Tweetsie Railroad itself, a locomotive that circles the park.

The park also has live entertainment based on the old west, refreshments, rides and the Deer Park Zoo where kids can feed the animals. The zoo has approximately 90 animals, not counting the “visiting” squirrels, rabbits and birds who close in looking for free food.

The park also has the famous “Ghost Train” during Halloween.

Mystery Hill

Scientists have tried to explain some of the mysteries at Mystery Hill. Water and balls flow and roll uphill. Other unexplainable things happen at Mystery Hill, located between Boone and Blowing Rock on U.S. Highway 321.

Hiking/walking trails

Rocky Knob Mountain Park

The area is blessed with several places to take a hike. Rocky Knob Mountain Park, located just east of Boone, is one of the most popular areas to hike a variety of trails that are either for beginners or expert hikers.

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is a 185-acre park with not just hiking trails, but also trails for biking.

Boone United Trail

Boone United Trail, located at 471 New Market Blvd. in Boone, offers a 2.5 mile loop through a hardwood forest for the novice hiker. The trail begins behind the United Methodist Church, goes halfway up the summit of Howard’s Knob and returns to the church.

Brookshire Park

Brookshire Park has a walking trail surrounding an open field that is used for regular recreation and for youth soccer in the fall. The trail extends into some open land and past two soccer fields, including the one used by Appalachian State’s men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Howard’s Knob County Park

Howard’s Knob County Park, located north of Boone, offers trails to hike and picnic trails. Howard’s Knob also overlooks the town of Boone, offering an overall look at the town.

Grandfather Mountain State Park

Grandfather Mountain has several hiking trails that fit all abilities. The views from these trails are spectacular.

People can also go camping on Grandfather Mountain and see wildlife that includes otters, bears and a panther.

Rock Climbing/caving

Rock Dimensions is a good place to start to find out the best places to go rock climbing or to learn the sport. The phone number is (828) 265-3544.

Rock Dimensions also offers instructors to guide individuals or groups through a cave in Eastern Tennessee.

In case the weather is not conducive to outdoor climbming, there is Center 45 Climbing and Fitness off of Bamboo Road, which is just off of U.S. Highway 421 east of Boone. It has climbing walls with different skill levels.


Boone Golf Club

The Boone Golf Club, located south of town just off of U.S. Highway 321, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this summer. It is an 18-hole golf course that is open to the public. The phone number is (828) 264-8760.

Driving range

Need to sharpen your swing before hitting the links? The Mountaineer Driving Range & Gold Center, located at 115 Beverly Heights Ave., just off of the Highway 105 extension, is a good place to get some practice time in before heading to the course.

Jefferson Landing

Jefferson Landing, located in Ashe County, is a semi-private course located off N.C. Highway 221. It is the longest course in the High Country at 7,110 yards. The phone number is (336) 982-7767.

Mountain Aire Golf Club

Another golf club in Ashe County, Mountain Aire Golf Club is the third oldest course in the High Country. Phone number is (336) 877-4716.

Willow Creek

A nine-hole course located off N.C. 105 has three holes that are more than 200 yards and has five water hazards. The phone number is (828) 963-6865.

Sugar Mountain Golf Club

This course is owned by the village of Sugar Mountain and is open to the public. The phone number is (828) 898-6464.

Mountain Glen Golf Club

A place that was built following a devastating fire in Newland, Old Mountain Glen is open to the public. The phone number is (828) 773-5804.

For more detail on these and other courses, turn to our Summer Times golfing section.

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