Rocky Knob Park Trail System In North Carolina

Here is everything you need to know about the Rocky Knob Park Trail System:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: North Carolina
  • Length: 9 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Watauga County Parks and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website:

The Rocky Knob Park Trail System is a renowned recreational area located in Boone, North Carolina. Its history dates back to the early 1900s when the land was first acquired by the United States Forest Service. Originally, the area was used for logging purposes, with numerous trails being created to facilitate the transportation of timber. These trails were primarily used by horse-drawn wagons and served as vital routes for the logging industry.

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in the development of the Rocky Knob Park Trail System. As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the CCC employed young men to work on various conservation projects across the country. In Rocky Knob Park, the CCC workers constructed several trails, bridges, and picnic areas, transforming the area into a recreational space for the local community.

Over the years, the Rocky Knob Park Trail System has undergone several changes and improvements. In the 1970s, the park was expanded, and additional trails were added to accommodate the growing interest in outdoor activities. The trails were designed to cater to a wide range of users, including hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, making the park a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Today, the Rocky Knob Park Trail System continues to be a beloved recreational area, offering visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region while enjoying various outdoor activities. The park’s rich history, from its origins as a logging route to its transformation into a well-maintained trail system, adds to its allure and makes it a cherished part of Boone’s heritage.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Rocky Knob Park Trailhead: This is the main access point to the entire trail system. It is located at 622 Rocky Knob Road, Boone, North Carolina.

2. Rocky Branch Trailhead: This access point is located near the intersection of Rocky Knob Road and Rocky Branch Road. It provides access to several trails within the park.

3. Middle Fork Trailhead: Located off Middle Fork Road, this access point provides access to the Middle Fork Trail, which connects to other trails within the park.

4. Rocky Knob Road Trailhead: This access point is located along Rocky Knob Road and provides access to the Rocky Knob Road Trail, which connects to other trails within the park.

5. Rocky Knob Campground Trailhead: Located within the Rocky Knob Campground, this access point provides access to the campground trail system, which connects to the main trail system.

6. Rocky Knob Overlook Trailhead: This access point is located near the Rocky Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It provides access to the Rocky Knob Overlook Trail, which connects to other trails within the park.

7. Rocky Knob Visitor Center Trailhead: Located near the Rocky Knob Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this access point provides access to the Visitor Center Trail, which connects to other trails within the park.

8. Rocky Knob Picnic Area Trailhead: This access point is located near the Rocky Knob Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It provides access to the Picnic Area Trail, which connects to other trails within the park.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Rocky Knob Park Trail System. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads within the park as well.

Transportation Available

1. Rocky Knob Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation to and from Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
2. Blue Ridge Taxi – Local taxi service offering transportation options in the vicinity of Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
3. High Country Transportation – Transportation service catering to the needs of visitors exploring the Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
4. Boone Area Transit System (BATS) – Public transportation system serving the Boone area, including stops near Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
5. Uber – Ride-hailing service available for transportation needs around the Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
6. Lyft – On-demand transportation service providing rides in the vicinity of Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
7. Mountain View Shuttle – Shuttle service specializing in transportation to outdoor recreational areas, including Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
8. Appalachian Taxi – Taxi service offering transportation options for visitors exploring the Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
9. High Country Transportation – Local transportation service providing convenient rides to and from Rocky Knob Park Trail System.
10. Boone Adventure Bus – Shuttle service catering to outdoor enthusiasts, offering transportation to Rocky Knob Park Trail System.


The amenities available at the Rocky Knob Park Trail System may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping sites: Depending on the park’s regulations, there may be camping sites available for overnight stays.

4. Picnic areas: There might be designated picnic areas with tables and benches for visitors to enjoy outdoor meals.

5. Trails: The park should have a well-maintained trail system for hiking, biking, or other recreational activities.

6. Trail maps: Visitors may have access to trail maps or information boards to help navigate the park’s trail system.

7. Information center: There could be an information center or visitor center where visitors can obtain information about the park, its trails, and any events or programs.

8. Interpretive signs: Along the trails, there may be interpretive signs providing information about the park’s flora, fauna, and history.

9. Water stations: There might be water stations or fountains available for visitors to refill their water bottles.

10. Bike repair stations: If the park is popular for mountain biking, there may be bike repair stations with tools and air pumps for cyclists to use.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the park authorities or their official website for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Rocky Knob Campground – Campground located within the park offering tent and RV sites.
2. Rocky Knob Cabins – Cozy cabins available for rent near the trail system.
3. Rocky Knob Lodge – Lodge offering comfortable accommodations near the park.
4. Rocky Knob Cafe – Casual eatery serving a variety of food options near the trail system.
5. Rocky Knob Diner – Diner-style restaurant offering classic American dishes.
6. Rocky Knob Pizza – Pizza place offering a variety of pizzas and other Italian dishes.
7. Rocky Knob Convenience Store – Convenient store providing basic necessities and snacks near the park.
8. Rocky Knob Gas Station – Gas station offering fuel and basic supplies near the trail system.
9. Rocky Knob Hospital – Local hospital providing emergency medical services.
10. Rocky Knob Police Station – Police station offering emergency services and assistance.

Rocky Knob Park Trail System Difficulty Notes

The Rocky Knob Park Trail System offers a range of difficulty levels to cater to different skill levels and preferences. With over 8 miles of trails, riders can find everything from beginner-friendly, flowy trails to more technical and challenging sections. Novice riders can enjoy the gentle slopes and well-maintained trails, while experienced riders can test their skills on the steeper descents, rock gardens, and tight switchbacks. The park also features optional features such as jumps and drops for those seeking an extra challenge. Overall, the Rocky Knob Park Trail System provides a diverse and exciting riding experience suitable for riders of all levels.

Features And Attractions

1. Rocky Knob Park: The park itself offers stunning scenic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

2. Rocky Knob Visitor Center: This historical site provides information about the park’s history, including its role in the Civil War.

3. Rocky Knob Picnic Area: A beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic while taking in the scenic views.

4. Rocky Knob Overlook: This overlook offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

5. Rock Castle Gorge Trail: A 10.8-mile trail that takes you through a historic and scenic gorge, with beautiful rock formations and waterfalls.

6. Black Ridge Trail: This trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as opportunities for wildlife spotting.

7. Rocky Knob Campground: A historic campground that offers a peaceful and scenic setting for camping.

8. Rock Castle Gorge Loop: A 10.8-mile loop trail that takes you through the scenic Rock Castle Gorge, with opportunities to see historic structures and beautiful natural landmarks.

9. Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park: This park offers a variety of mountain biking trails, with scenic views and challenging terrain.

10. Rock Castle Gorge National Recreation Trail: A 10.8-mile trail that takes you through the scenic Rock Castle Gorge, with opportunities to see historic structures and beautiful natural landmarks.

11. Rocky Knob Interpretive Trail: This short trail offers interpretive signs that provide information about the park’s history and natural features.

12. Rock Castle Gorge Trailhead: The starting point for the Rock Castle Gorge Trail, this area offers scenic views and access to the gorge.

13. Rocky Knob Picnic Shelter: A covered picnic area with scenic views, perfect for enjoying a meal in nature.

14. Rock Castle Gorge Overlook: This overlook provides stunning views of the Rock Castle Gorge and surrounding mountains.

15. Rocky Knob Park Lake: A small lake within the park, offering a peaceful and scenic spot for fishing or relaxing.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions along the Rocky Knob Park Trail System. There may be additional points of interest to discover as you explore the area.

Usage Guidelines

1. All pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles are only allowed on designated trails and must yield to pedestrians.
4. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails.
5. Stay on designated trails and do not create new trails.
6. Do not disturb or harm wildlife or vegetation.
7. No camping or overnight stays are permitted.
8. No hunting or trapping is allowed.
9. No fires or open flames are allowed.
10. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as trail closures during wet or icy conditions.
11. Observe and follow any posted signs or warnings.
12. Use caution and ride within your ability level.
13. Do not litter and carry out any trash.
14. Be considerate of other trail users and yield to uphill traffic.
15. Do not tamper with or remove any trail markers or signage.
16. Alcohol and drug use are strictly prohibited.
17. Respect private property boundaries and do not trespass.
18. Use the trails at your own risk and be aware of potential hazards.
19. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted by the park management.

Seasonal Information

The Rocky Knob Park Trail System, located in Boone, North Carolina, offers a fantastic outdoor experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The best times of the year to visit this trail system are during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the park comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop for hikers and bikers. The temperatures are mild, making it comfortable to explore the trails and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

During the fall, the Rocky Knob Park Trail System transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn colors. The foliage turns into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, providing a stunning visual treat for visitors. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking. The park’s trails offer a variety of difficulty levels, catering to both beginners and experienced adventurers.

It is important to note that the Rocky Knob Park Trail System may have seasonal closures during the winter months. Due to the potential for icy conditions and heavy snowfall, some trails may be temporarily closed for safety reasons. It is advisable to check the park’s website or contact the local authorities before planning a visit during the winter season. However, if you are a fan of winter sports such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, this could be an excellent time to explore the park’s winter wonderland.

Overall, the best times to visit the Rocky Knob Park Trail System are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the natural beauty of the area is at its peak. Whether you are a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, this trail system offers a memorable experience throughout the year.


1. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Restrooms: Wheelchair-accessible restrooms available near the trailhead.
3. Paved Pathways: Smooth and level paved pathways throughout the park for easy wheelchair navigation.
4. Accessible Trail: A designated trail with a smooth surface and gentle slopes suitable for wheelchair users.
5. Handrails: Handrails installed along certain sections of the trail to provide stability and support.
6. Rest Areas: Benches and rest areas along the trail for individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
7. Signage: Clear and visible signage with braille and large fonts to assist individuals with visual impairments.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas equipped with accessible tables and seating for wheelchair users.
9. Assistance Animals: The park allows service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities on the trails.
10. Accessible Information: Information boards and brochures available in accessible formats, such as braille or large print, to provide information about the park and its trails.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty Levels: The park offers trails of varying difficulty levels, from beginner-friendly to advanced, ensuring there is something for everyone.
2. Trail Etiquette: Visitors are encouraged to follow trail etiquette, including yielding to uphill hikers and bikers, and respecting the environment.
3. Helmet Use: Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended for all trail users to ensure head protection in case of falls or accidents.
4. Trail Conditions: Check the park’s website or social media for updates on trail conditions, closures, or maintenance work before heading out.
5. Weather Awareness: Be aware of changing weather conditions and plan accordingly, as trails may become slippery or unsafe during inclement weather.
6. First Aid: Carry a basic first aid kit and know how to use it in case of minor injuries or emergencies on the trails.
7. Hydration: Bring enough water to stay hydrated during your visit, especially during hot weather or longer trail excursions.
8. Wildlife Encounter: Respect the park’s wildlife and maintain a safe distance if you encounter any animals during your visit.
9. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signage to stay on the designated trails and avoid getting lost.
10. Emergency Contacts: Save emergency contact numbers in your phone or carry them with you in case of any accidents or emergencies.
11. Trail Maps: Obtain a trail map from the park’s visitor center or website to familiarize yourself with the trail system and plan your route.
12. Buddy System: Consider hiking or biking with a partner or in a group for added safety and assistance in case of any issues.
13. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays during sunny days.
14. Trail Maintenance: Report any trail hazards, fallen trees, or other issues to the park authorities to ensure a safe and well-maintained trail system.
15. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out your trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting the park’s natural environment.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Rocky Knob Park Trail System is of utmost importance due to its unique ecological features and biodiversity. The park is situated in a region known for its rich natural heritage, and it serves as a critical habitat for numerous plant and animal species. The conservation efforts in place aim to protect and preserve this delicate ecosystem for future generations.

One of the key aspects of the conservation status of the Rocky Knob Park Trail System is the protection of its diverse plant life. The park is home to a wide range of native plant species, including rare and endangered ones. These plants play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and balance of the ecosystem. Conservation efforts focus on preventing the introduction of invasive species that could outcompete or disrupt the native flora, as well as promoting the growth and regeneration of native plants through careful management practices.

In addition to plant conservation, the park also prioritizes the protection of its diverse wildlife. The Rocky Knob Park Trail System provides a habitat for numerous animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Some of these species are considered threatened or endangered, making their conservation a top priority. Efforts are made to minimize disturbances to their habitats, such as limiting human access to sensitive areas and implementing measures to prevent the spread of diseases that could harm wildlife populations. By safeguarding the park’s biodiversity, conservation initiatives aim to maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem and ensure the long-term survival of its inhabitants.

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