Cross country skiing is popular at Elk Knob State Park.
NC State Parks
Activities & Interests
Elk Knob State Park
Elk Knob State Park is located in the Meat Camp area of Watauga County. Elk Knob, at 5520 feet, is an amphibolite mountain with grass-covered grounds beneath a hardwood canopy. There are amazing panoramic views at the top of the 1.9 mile summit trail.
Elk Knob contains an excellent example of a northern hardwood forest typically found above 4000 feet in elevation that consists primarily of American beech, maples (sugar, striped, and mountain), northern red oak, yellow birch, and yellow buckeye. The hardwood nature of the forest lends to spectacular fall color.
Rangers hold regularly scheduled events and interpretive programs throughout the year. Watch for notices of these programs on park displays and websites and through local media. To arrange a special exploration of Elk Knob State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
The Appalachian Studies Department at Appalachian State University is working with park staff to provide programming rich in southern Appalachian history and culture. Traditional music, story-telling, and mountain crafts are demonstrated at the outdoor amphitheater.
The park is accessible in winter. Snow shoes are available for rent and cross country skiing is allowed. The one mile Maple Run trail (still under construction) is designed for cross country skiing and hiking.
Every September, the park hosts the Elk Knob Community Heritage Day. For generations local folk have gathered in the gap of Elk Knob to visit with one another. The Elk Knob Community Heritage Day is an annual celebration of this tradition. Participants share a covered dish meal while enjoying historical demonstrations, wagon rides, and local music. There is no charge for this event.
Backcountry, primitive camping is available one to two miles down the back country trail. Campfires are not allowed.
Hours of Operation
November-February: 7 am – 6 pm
March-May, September & October: 7 am – 8 pm
June-August: 7 am – 9 pm
The park office is open 8 am – 5 pm.
The park is closed on Christmas Day.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact the park directly for most current information.
Backcountry camping is $10 per night. Group camp sites start at $13.
- Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve (9 miles)
One of the most beautiful and ecologically significant natural heritage sites in the southeast is Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve.
- Hickory Ridge Living History Museum (9 miles)
Hickory Ridge Living History Museum on the grounds of Horn in the West, a Revolutionary War drama in Boone, NC.
- Horn in the West (9 miles)
Horn in the West, the nation's oldest Revolutionary War drama, is performed in a beautiful outdoor theater in Boone, NC.