High Country Association of REALTORS News

Live the Dream #24 - The Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Want a mountain home just off a walking trail to the beach? You're in luck! ..... kinda. The Mountains-to-Sea trail, North Carolina longest, slinks through portions of the High Country area. The 1,000-mile pathway extends from the Great Smokey Mountains to the Outer Banks.

It's been under construction and consideration for more than 30 years. Roughly half the trail is hiking trails, the other half consisting of backcountry roads. It begins just south of Knoxville, works its way up north to the High Country, then gently slopes down to the coast. It has fans throughout the state, some more biased than others.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail“I’m a little biased, but I think the southern Ashe section has the prettiest vistas, most unique vegetation, and some of the largest stretches of mature hardwood forest along the entire route of the trail,” said James Hallsey, southern Ashe coordinator.

Stretching from the U.S. 421 at Deep Gap, and running to N.C. 16 as it heads down the mountain to Wilkesboro, Hallsey’s southern Ashe group was resonsible for building, and now maintaining, the 16 miles of trail that was completed in 2010. “It’s been a fun four-and-a-half or five years,” said Hallsey. “Trail layout and construction began in 2006, and we finished up last year. We’re now in maintainance mode.”

As an aside, the Mountains to Sea trail isn't the only famous hike which wanders into the High Country. The Appalachian Trail meanders through Elk Park in Avery County.