High Country Association of REALTORS News

Things to do on a weekend - Hit the trails

The great outdoors keep getting greater numbers. A recent report in the local Watauga Democrat newspaper said attendance at North Carolina's parks grew tremendously in 2011. That includes here in the High Country, where the relatively new Elk Knob State Park recorded one of the largest increases in visitation. People know a fun thing when they hike it.

Even on a weekend with a bit of a chill, the chance to get lost in nature can be attractive.

Elk Knob signElk Knob State Park in Watauga County was among the parks with the highest growth. It charted about 22,600 visits in 2010 and about 34,000 visits in 2011, an increase of about 50 percent.

Park Ranger Kelly Safley pointed to fair weather, the completion of a gravel trail to the summit and positive publicity in articles as far as Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington as possible reasons for its popularity.

The 1.9-mile trail, completed Sept. 4, 2011, was built with more than 6,000 hours of volunteer and staff time, she said.

“When the news got out that we had finished the trail, I think that helped a lot,” Safley said.

The trail runs right through the Todd area of Watauga County, just 10 miles outside of Boone. There are more than 40 listings right now in that area, offering you a chance to Live the Dream alongside a state treasure.