“The High Country: Beacon Heights to Devil’s Garden Overlook
— Jim Grode
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Need to Know
At Mile 15.7 (eastbound), MST crosses Boone Fork, which requires wading. Depending on the water level, you'll probably wade in water up to your knees. It is worth the hassle as the MST from the creek crossing to Shulls Mill Road offers an easy stroll along an old turnpike road through the forest.
Camping on BRP/NPS land is limited to designated, approved areas. It is illegal to camp along the MST on these lands unless there is signage allowing camping or if you have a proper permit on other approved land.
Traveling eastbound, this section begins at Beacon Heights and follows the Tanawha Trail
as it travels along the base of Grandfather Mountain, which is one of only 553 certified biosphere reserves in the world. It continues past the resort town of Blowing Rock, travels near West Jefferson, and ends near Sparta in the northwest corner of N.C. near the Virginia border.
Most of this trail is well-marked with the MST blaze—a 3” white circle. Where the MST runs conjunctively with the Tanawha Trail
, the Tanawha Trail
uses a white feather as signage. The section that follows carriage trails in Moses H. Cone Memorial Park has good signage but limited reference to MST. The Boone Fork Trail
(BFT) near Price Park Campground uses an orange diamond. Bluff Mountain Trail (BMT) is maintained primarily by the National Park Service.
There are several different locations using the name Boone Fork. Make sure you get the right location when looking for a specific site. Don’t confuse Upper Boone Fork Trail along the Tanawha Trail
section with Boone Fork Trail
in Price Park.
The nearby towns of Linville, Blowing Rock, Boone, West Jefferson, and Sparta offer all amenities. They also make it easy to break this segment into several day trips.
For more information, including camping, lodging, parking, resupply information, and trail angels, as well as detailed, turn-by-turn directions, download a trail guide
from the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.