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Grandfather Mountain. Mile High Swinging Bridge. Photo by Todd Bush Photography

Destination: Banner Elk

Enjoy the Great Outdoors in Banner Elk

Editorial supplied by the Town of Banner Elk

©Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster

Although a small town, Banner Elk is big-time when it comes to outdoor activities. Visitors looking for everything from soft adventure to adrenaline rushes will find plenty in this resort town tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

North Carolina’s only alpine coaster, Wilderness Run, offers a unique, twisting downhill experience in rider-controlled cars that reach up to 27 miles per hour. Next door at Wilderness Run’s adventure course, visitors can scramble over cargo nets, scale rock-climbing structures, and traverse swinging bridges and logs. Those who reach the course’s highest point, 40 feet above the ground, enjoy views from the crow’s nest and can hop in a swing to get the feeling of floating in midair.

In summer, the ski slopes at Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort convert to downhill mountain biking trails, before returning to their true calling every winter. Sugar and Beech are the two largest ski resorts in the Southeast, providing skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and ice skating.

Photo Courtesy of Beech Mountain
Photo Courtesy of Beech Mountain

For softer outdoor adventure, visit nearby Grandfather Mountain and take in the panoramic views during a walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, then learn about animals native to the NC High Country at the mountain’s animal habitats. Another nearby attraction is Elk River Falls, one of the most popular high-volume waterfalls in North Carolina.

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

In the heart of town, the Banner Elk Greenway meanders gently through the town park and central business district. It also easily connects to Lees-McRae College, a leafy in-town campus that invites walkers to stroll amongst historic rock work and intricate architecture.

Outdoor dining is a staple in Banner Elk from spring through fall, while summer brings Thursday evening amphitheater concerts and monthly weekend Art on the Greene shows at the Historic Banner Elk School.

Photo by Mark File

Two of the nicest wineries in the NC mountains are rooted in Banner Elk. Enjoy outdoor tastings at Banner Elk Winery and Grandfather Vineyard & Winery through the warmer seasons, and cozy indoor tastings during the High Country winters.

couple walking through a winery in banner elk

Year-round culinary excellence is found in a Banner Elk food scene that far outpaces its size. From nationally recognized fine dining to comfort-food cafes and farm-to-table fare, options abound for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The town has even earned the title of “Culinary Hot Spot of the High Country.”

A variety of Banner Elk lodging options accommodate getaways of all sizes and styles. Complete details about lodging, restaurants and activities can be found at www.BannerElk.com.

Woolly Worm Festival. Photo by Todd Bush Photography

BANNER ELK EVENTS NOT TO MISS

Art on the Greene
May 25-26
Historic Banner Elk School
828-898-5398
BannerElk.com

Art on the Greene
July 6-7
Historic Banner Elk School
828-898-5398
BannerElk.com

Star-Spangled Banner Elk Fourth
July 4
Main Street & Tate-Evans Park
828-898-8395
BannerElk.org

Grandfather Moutain Highland Games
July 11-14
MacRae Meadows at Grandfather Mtn.
828-733-1333
GMHG.org

Art on the Greene
Aug. 3-4
Historic Banner Elk School
828-898-5398
BannerElk.com

Art on the Greene
Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Historic Banner Elk School
828-898-5398
BannerElk.com

Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain
Oct. 12-13
Sugar Mountain Resort
828-898-4521
SkiSugar.com

Woolly Worm Festival
Oct. 19-20
Historic Banner Elk School
828-898-5605
WoollyWorm.com

Trunk or Treat
Oct. 31
Historic Banner Elk School
828-898-5398
BannerElk.com

A Small Town Christmas
Dec. 6-8
Various locations
828-898-8395
BannerElk.org


 
high country visitors guide cover 2024

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