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Great trail, view is amazing, but a little too short for my taste.

Great trail! We hit it counterclockwise and headed for Hebron Falls. Wish I had brought board shorts and a beach towel, there are plenty of swimming holes along the way.

3 days ago

Definitely more on the easy to moderate side. The only reason I would say it’s hard is the length of it and some areas can be tricky to go down to the water. Yet again the only reason why it took my boyfriend and I so long is because of all the stops along the way had so many photo opportunities! You’re by the stream the whole way to some falls. Kid friendly, they even have a scavenger hunt in the beginning for the kids who come along! Lots of dogs were there too! We stumbled onto this trail by accident and we were not totally prepared so the only thing I wish I had brought with us was bringing enough water and have proper footwear to go into the water! After the hike, you can explore downtown Blowing Rock! Only a few minutes away and lots to explore in their cute little town! Would love to come back again one day soon and be more prepared next time!

Wonderful views. Can't wait to go back. Go early to beat some of the crowd!!

trail running
5 days ago

One of the best "loop" trails around Boone/Blowing Rock. I second that you should do it clockwise. Moderate to hard, due to the many creek crossings and boulder fields you'd have to traverse. Can't exactly trail-run the whole loop, but at least half is doable. Finished in just over an hour; had to wait to pass a few groups of hikers, had to walk in some tricky sections, etc.
Trail is mostly under the canopy, so if it has rained, you can expect mud in many spots, and overall wet conditions. Watch for orange markings on the trail - BFT shares sections of the Tanawha and Mountains to Sea Trails, so watch the signs and the markings. Almost went towards the outer banks by mistake =)

5 days ago

The best trail in the park in my opinion. The day I hiked it was super foggy/rainy so views from the summit were zero. The fog up there made it feel like being in a cloud, so it was still very neat.

Amazing view and enjoyable hiking..

10 days ago

came here on my first trip to North Carolina. was an amazing hike and well worth the drive

great trail with several great photo opportunities, it's a well marked trail I would rate it moderate to hard , I would suggest doing it clockwise going through julian price campground and finishing up in the picnic area less uphill this way.

13 days ago

Good walk in the woods, some of the trail has water nearby which makes for a nice background noise.

17 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous!!! The epitome of Smokey Mountain Hiking!

on Sycamore Trail

19 days ago

My husband and I really enjoyed this trail and would do again when we come back to visit our friends who live a very short distance form the park. We went on a weekday around 7:30am shortly after the Crabtree entrance to the park opens which is 7am all other entrances open at 8am. Parking was free and easy. Was well shaded which kept the temperature down and the creek that you walk along side where the trail loops was great and not really any bugs attacking you although we did bug spray ourselves well prior to which is pretty good considering it was late July. Nice, even well maintained trail much more so than the CA trails that we're familiar with. Had quite a few roots and some rocks but we weren't bothered by this as we were wearing hiking shoes/boots but this trail is definitely doable in sneakers just a matter of personal preference and comfort level. I wouldn't personally consider this trail moderate it was a nice, relaxing hike but still kept your heart rate up with some changes in incline here and there and of course the humidity which was to be expected. Just FYI, there was not any drinkable water available at the time of our hike on 07/26 to refill our water bottles halfway through the hike as the nearest water fountain was out of service and the sink located outside the restroom nearby is non-potable water which it clearly indicates on the side of the water pipe so plan to bring plenty of water with you. We had not brought our Camelbaks like we normally would have as we were visiting from out of state and were attempting to keep the packing on the lighter side but will do so next time, lesson learned. But overall a great new hiking experience.

20 days ago

Beautiful 6 mile loop (approximately). Shaded the entire trail. Some nice elevation gains throughout. Sounds of the flowing river in the background. We had a blast!

Amazing views!!! We had a lot of fun exploring the different trail options. Be sure to check out the waterfalls!

Had an amazing hike with some beautiful scenery. Took us about 2 hrs and 45 minutes to hike BFT.

20 days ago

I may be biased as I just moved here from the mountains of NC, but this trail was pretty bland in my opinion. I’d consider this more for running rather than hiking. I thought that there was gonna be a nice river on the trail; however, it was also pretty dull/bland and it’s not very appealing.

No clue why this is rated hard. I’d say moderate edging toward easy. We took our year old Great Dane and all 4 kids (ages 7-19), and hiked it with no issue (and trust me when I say these mommas are no where close to “in shape”). Great hidden swimming holes along the way. I definitely recommend walking this one backward (start off to the left instead of going right after you cross the bridge at Julian Price).

Very smooth trail for beginners

28 days ago

Very busy trail on the south side of Umstead. It's pretty rustic so most of the time you're looking down to avoid stumbling over roots or rocks. I'm amazed how people run this trail with ease. In general, I favor the northern side of Umstead as they provide more solitude and are less rustic.

Me and my family hiked the Boone fork trail during Winter in January. This was my/our families first trail. It was hard but mainly because of our family situation, lack of information, and the weather we were in. The trail physically is moderate but with the winter weather things can be hard if you aren’t prepared. Let me explain because I think this information will be helpful to someone who’s planning something similar to what we did.

It was me (32), my pregnant wife! (34) and our 5 kids (2,8,9,11,12). The temperature outside was between 10 and 20 degrees when we started. Mind you this was our first outdoor experience in that kind of weather. We are from Florida. We had breakfast just before we started at 10am and we went (clockwise) through the campsite to begin the trail. I read reviews saying 3 hours to finish the trail on average so I figured we could take our time and be done by the end of the day no problem. Well boy was I wrong. It took us 6 and a half hours to complete the trail. That’s more than an hour per mile. If you’ve never hiked before or your considering doing this hike with your kids during the winter my suggestion is to expect an hour or more per mile. And you want to start at a time where you know you can finish before dark. Luckily we made it back at 5:30. The sun was almost down, the temperature was dropping fast (7 degrees) and it was pretty scary to be in that situation. The later half of the hike was extremely stressful for us and took the fun out of it that we initially had. Some of my kids were exhausted and struggling to carry on and I literally carried my 2 year old on my shoulders the whole way except for give or take a mile in the beginning. What’s worse is my 2 year old began fussing non stop towards the last 1.5 miles and I panicked thinking she may be getting hyperthermic. I wrapped her up to my stomach using a backpack in reverse and began to lead my family in survival mode through the end of the trail. Luckily some gram crackers (I forgot I had) rejuvenated her a little in my arms and a little chant of “you can do it, you can do it!” kept her awake enough the rest of the way. The trail opened up and you could tell we were almost to the parking area and relief set in after worrying about the quickly fading sun and temperature drops. Amazing hike and scenery but extremely dangerous if you don’t know what to expect and you’re not prepared.

So that’s why I must share. If you’re wanting to do this trail in the winter with your small children don’t read my experience and automatically decide against it. You CAN do it you just need to know what to expect and how to plan for it so that you and your family are safe. Here is my advice:

1. Dress waterproof and warm. Have kids wear ski type gear and gloves/mittens that are as water proof as possible. Don’t let them make snowballs a lot. Their gloves will get wet and they will need to keep their hands warm some other way. Staying dry is most important in 0-20 degree temperatures.

2. Don’t let kids play on iced over creeks. One wet foot is going to end your trip. Imagine being 3 hours in and your son gets his boots soaked. You’ll have to dry his boots over a fire, or give him some extra shoes that you brought or give him your socks and carry him. All these options aren’t worth your time and energy. You will have to step on ice to cross creeks if you hike this trail in the winter so you need to lead and you as a parent need to decide what path across the ice your family should take to avoid any accidents.

3. Tell kids not to cross anything unless you are with them. Many times we approached a creek only to see half our kids already on the other side. The creeks get bigger the further into the hike you go. Some requires makeshift bridges to cross safely!! Make them wait! This is so important. One wrong step. Fun is over and so is your trip. One waterway was fast flowing and deep and a small kid could easily fall in and get sucked under the ice. That’s when I made a bridge .

4. If they are big enough have kids bring backpacks for extra items like socks, gloves, water and food. Multiple times I ended up carrying their stuff because they were hot and it would have been so much easier had they each had a backpack (minus the 2 year old). Plus backup items can save your trip and trying to fit everything in one backpack may mean you end up not bringing something. Thank goodness I had an extra pair of my gloves that my son was able to use after soaking his playing in the snow.

5. Give your kids whistles. I gave everyone a whistle in case we got separated. At one point we discovered my sons hat was missing. I back tract but had no luck finding it. Speed walking ahead and blowing my whistle ever 5-10 seconds allowed me to know when I was catching up to my family. Much better in an emergency situation than yelling! They could collectively whistle back and it brought piece to hear them.

28 days ago

6. Start the hike early and pack a lunch. Try to start by 8am and plan to take a break for lunch half way through. We had 4 water bottles and no food for 7 people and 6 1/2 of hiking. Apart from having more daylight, having a decent lunch would have greatly affected our situation. But instead we felt the pressure of starvation and exhaustion. The big kids were okay but it was too scary with a 2 year old. Again, problem solved if you just pack a lunch and had more time to get back. Multiple people with backpacks will make bringing food possible . If you started by 8am in 3-4 hours (by noon) you would be half way done if you hiked casually. That would give you 6 hours of daylight to eat and hike back to the car. And you could actually enjoy it!!

7. Consider bringing a machete. I had one and had to use it to make a safe passage across a high flowing part of the river/creek. I could have searched for stuff already down but it saved time and gave me the piece of mind knowing I had protection and the ability to gather things in the event that I needed to start a fire or build a shelter for some reason.

8. Plan to carry your 2-4 year olds. There’s no way my 2 year old who could barely walk in her snow boots could make this entire hike. Have some way of harnessing your child to you for hiking. An actual harness is best but if you have to you can always put your child’s legs through your back pack arms and carry them on your chest or your back. Just have some cordage to tie the back pack straps together so that the straps don’t slide off and you do t have to strain to hold your backpack on like I did!!!

So these are some of the most important things to do for safety and planning. One other thing you can do is to plan to hike for a certain amount of TIME and turn around knowing you only have the same amount of time to get back. Whatever you do though plan to be back by 5pm. In January between 5-6 it started to get dark. You do not want to be stuck in the woods with your family while it’s dark and freezing cold. We did not have cellphone reception (ATT). We could have died if that happened. Which reminds me, bring head lamps just Incase and be prepared to make fire and shelter if you need to. Near the waterfalls there are giant boulders you could Shelter up against and make a fire in front of if you had to. If you start early though you shouldn’t have to worry about shelter or fire.

The truth is my experience started out great but ended on a dangerous note. We all loved it and hated it at the same time. If you take my advice though and plan accordingly you and your family could have a wonderful experience hiking in the winter outdoors. We loved it but I never want to fear for my two year old like that again. And I don’t want that for you either. So you dont have to rule out a winter hike, just take my advice and you will have fun. I’m planning on doing it again but with more time , backpacks with extra gear and food.

Planning to hike the Boone Fork Trail in the winter with your family and want to know more? You can email me at billy.james.bright@gmail.com

30 days ago

Not too long of a hike, but gets steep and challenging right at the top. BEAUTIFUL views from multiple lookout points - and great photo opportunities at hanging rock!

1 month ago

Excellent trail. We got there early as this one seems best enjoyed before the large groups arrive. Would recommend regular shoes if you can step carefully, but plenty of beautiful spots to stop by water along the way.

nice trail along the Creek for about the first two miles. Hebron rock colony - car sized boulders in the river all the way down to the valley. we had for small children with us and they did great. very scenic

Excellent. Hiked with my wife and sons (9.5 and 7). Both did well. Total time was just under three hours. Trail is next to water for 75% of the time. Wonderful to hear the sound of running mountain stream. Multiple crossings. After rain, these crossings could be a bit messy; prepare to get feet a bit wet. My youngest did the hike in Keen sandals and was perhaps best prepared!

1 month ago

very good trail, I made the mistake of having to many drinks the night before and it made the trail a little bit tougher

This trail would have probably been less strenuous starting from the left. If you start on the right, the first 3.5 miles are very uphill. If you bring a dog, consider going with someone. It was very difficult to get my dog over the ladders and stairs by myself. Wear shoes that can get wet! There are numerous stream crossings with slick and unstable rocks. If you are out of shape or not entirely sure of your balance, the middle three miles are quite difficult.

1 month ago

Good moderate hike for varied ages and dogs. Well marked, well traveled, and very beautiful.

The views at the top were gorgeous, and it was a good workout..but very crowded, loud and lots of trash! I would only go back very early in the morning or maybe in the fall/winter months.

1 month ago

Hubby and I did this trail but didn’t realize it was “hard”. Some beautiful sights that make it worthwhile. It might be wise to bring a first aid kit and snacks (don’t ask lol). It took us 3-4 hours but we haven’t hiked in quite awhile and we are slow! We went in hiking sandals and were fine. 10/10 would do again.

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