Explore Near Banner Elk - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Absolutely amazing. Some parts are hard especially if caught in the rain. But well worth the view.

hiking
8 hours ago

this is an awesome trail. very easy to get to. short walk. there is plenty of rocks to climb to get good pics. our kids loved it.

scenic driving
1 day ago

My favorite trail in the mountains!

hiking
1 day ago

Amazing views my 10 year old loved this trail. Bring your camera for great photo op!

I love DBST. It's one of my favorites. Last I heard it was closed due to weather-related damages. I would be glad to help repair it!

I've hiked this trail twice now and it's probably my favorite on the east coast. It's definitely not for the inexperienced or out of shape, but the grueling path is more than worth it. The MacRae Peak path features stunning view after stunning view. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to take them all in and enjoy the fantastic vistas in all directions. The ladder climbs and rock scrambles can be nerve-racking but are a lot of fun at the same time. I took the Underwood Trail on the way back down which is a bit less strenuous and having gravity on your side makes the going a bit easier. It's easy to see pictures and hear from others about the sights along the way, but one thing you have to experience firsthand is the smells on the trail. You're hiking in a mostly alpine environment and the conifers give a refreshing piney scent for almost the whole way; it's like walking through a christmas tree farm.

hiking
7 days ago

Very fun trail with amazing views! In my groups opinion it wasn’t very hard like the reviewers say (and we aren’t in very well shape like most). Would recommend this trail to anyone.

An exciting hike! We went in November and the path was so icy we almost turned around a few times. The views were worth it! We took grandfather trail up and Underwood back down, made for a great loop!

decent hike up. keep making lefts. at one point there's a sign for parking or Trail and if you go right you'll be going down the mountain around another side. it does have an awesome panoramic view at the top which is well worth the hike.

Very nice area to hike on a day trip from Charlotte

Great view, quick hike, will get rather crowded on the weekends. Trail is pretty moderate, but gets a little steep towards the top but nothing too challenging.

Decided to go to Linville Gorge for our first ever hiking/camping trip and we were not disappointed! Ended up hiking Hawksbill twice in one evening, the second time to set up camp on top to make sure we caught the spectacular sunrise in the morning. Definitely worth the second trip and 30 degree night!

hiking
13 days ago

It​ is​ place​ to​ visit​ for​ Fall​ season.

Great trail. Not too difficult with one of the best views in all of NC. Multiple vantage points at the top.

hiking
14 days ago

Moderate climb, muddy with some slick rocks and roots and lots of traffic but 100% worth the amazing 360 degree views of the mountains. Parking was tight, dogs were friendly and people were courteous on the trail when it got a little narrow or tricky. One of the best trails on the parkway!

hiking
15 days ago

Great Hike but very short and easy. Make sure to take a left over the bridge and not a right to get to the top.

Excellent loop with dogs who like to do a little swimming and mud-bogging. Terrain was moderate and lots of shade. Ideal hike for a fall afternoon. The lake and mountains in the distance were beautiful and we crossed over to check out the dam at the end. Nice spot!

absolutely beautiful trail. overnight tent camping at the top. make sure you wear good hiking shoes or boots the trail can get slippery. HIKE THIS TRAIL you won't regret it.

Beautiful trail. Once you hit the half way mark I would rate it as difficult. Be ready to breathe hard but the view is worth it!

Hands down the most fun trail I have ever hiked! Extremely strenuous, so be careful. My only problem is I hate that you have to pay so much to get to the main trailhead. You can access it from the parkway, but it becomes a pretty long day hike.

Heavy low cloud cover today obstructed the view at the top. However, a few peeks into the valley floor revealed brilliant fall colors.

Nice hike up to Sitting Bear rock. Made it half way up to Sitting Bear peak but decided to turn back due trail being covered with fallen leaves which along with the steepness made footing to slippery. Headed back to Hawksbill which is always and enjoyable hike. The color in the gorge was nice. Also the screaming jets were and added bonus.

hiking
18 days ago

The views make this hike a really amazing one. So stellar.

A favorite! A natural slip and slide. Pack a lunch and extra clothes for splashing around in the summer and stay a while.

Took this hike a day after a pretty heavy rain storm. Lots of muddy places along the trail. From the base to the top is pretty much all uphill. The last quarter to the top is extremely uphill. The views at the top are fantastic! You can see Table Rock, Linville Gorge and Lake James. It was an overcast day, but the view was still amazing.

Great family hike! A lot of variety , very pretty steam hike and opening up to a meadow ! Dog loved wide open area! Only concern ( could have been our fault) we had to walk on parkway for 0.7 miles when finished and this was not ideal with dog.

hiking
21 days ago

A fair amount of climbing for a short trail but the trail condition is excellent and that makes the climb a breeze. The overviews are quite pretty and there's an excellent view of the Linn Viaduct. Not much parking so it's best to visit on weekdays.

Lots of fun. Very well marked and the ladders are a blast. The view from the top of McRae is fabulous. We went up the Grandfather trail and back down Underwood. Underwood is much more in the woods and bit more rocky/rooty. You get much better vistas from Grandfather trail, though it was fun doing both of them. The trail past McRae peak is a less travelled, as many seem to turn around at McCrae.

This hike was very interesting. It felt longer than what is actually is . We climbed the steep rock part which is basically the end of the hike but when you come to it there’s a trail to the right that takes you to the top as well and is easier! We took that’s one going done and it was easy. A little muddy but worth it. . We did professional photography at the top and the views are incredible! We went in late October and at the top it was very very windy and freezing but worth it . Definitely wanna do this again in earlier fall

This is my favorite trail. It is a bit treacherous, especially for an old guy like me. I don’t go on it after heavy rain as it is slippery and mistakes could be costly. But it is beautiful and dramatic and fun.

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