Blowing Rock, NC
Call for flooding updates if it has been raining heavily: 336-921-3390
The 1,475-acre reservoir offers excellent boating, canoeing, kayaking and swimming opportunities. Miles of hiking trails surround the lake, including the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. An additional 25 miles of mountain biking trails can be found at the Warrior Creek and Dark Mountain areas. A playground, sandy beach, basketball court and horseshoe pit provide additional recreation opportunities. A small entrance fee is charged at the park.
Directions: From Boone, take Highway 421 South toward Wilkesboro. Turn left onto S. Recreation Road and go approximately 1.5 miles. Campground entrance is located at the end of the road.
Cost: $5 per car per entry; Season pass is $40 - unlimited for the year - will get you into any Corp of Engineers Park for swimming or boating.
From Watauga/Avery/Ashe Counties - Take US 421 to Wilkesboro, then 5 miles west on NC Highway 268. From Charlotte, NC, north on 77 to Wilkesboro, then 5 miles west on NC Highway 268.
Price Lake is a 47 acre lake in which visitors are currently able to rent Canoes and Kayaks. Located just past Julian Price Park at Mile Marker 297.
Cherokee National Forest, TN
Watauga Lake is more than a spot to swim. Canoeing, kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, fishing and wakeboarding are also popular. For families, a public beach is located in one of the recreational areas, and picnicking and swimming is popular. The Appalachian Trail also crosses the lake at the visitor’s center near the dam, making it possible to hear some interesting stories from hikers passing through.
Directions: From Boone, travel on Highway 421 for approximately five miles. Turn left on Highway 321, and continue for approximately 11 miles to the Tennessee border. Continue 12 miles on Highway 321 until you reach State Road 67, and turn right. Follow State Road 67 north about a half a mile to the bridge that crosses Watauga Lake. In total, this is about a 45-minute drive from Boone featuring many scenic views.
Hickory Nut Gap Road
Banner Elk, NC 28604
While not a natural swimming hole, Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk has both a shallow swimming area designated for children and a deeper swimming area for adolescents and adults. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours. Non-motorized boats, canoes and kayaks can also access the lake.
Directions: From Boone, take Highway 105 south approximately 12 miles. Make a right onto Highway 184/Tynecastle Highway to Banner Elk. Stay on the road for approximately four miles until you come to Hickory Nut Gap Road on your left. The lake is located up Hickory Nut Gap Road.