Our original plan was to head towards Grandfather Mountain and do that crazy trail, but we arrived into Wilksboro, NC around 12:00pm in the afternoon and determined after a little research that we wouldn’t have enough time to complete it. It’s a VERY rough trail, and when we do make that venture for it, Caroline, unfortunately, will not be attending.
So that brings us to a NC State Park not far from Grandfather — ELK KNOB STATE PARK. Located in Todd, NC with (according to reviews) amazing mountain top overlooks, because, come to find out, Elk Knob State Park has one of the highest peak in NC, even better. 🙂
Once we reached the park entrance we had already traveled through a small town, and it had appeared we were in the middle of nowhere. The roads are curvy and we noticed quite a dramatic change in temperature. Back home it was a wonderful perfect day in the high 60’s(F)…here it was 38(F).
We made a pit stop at the Park Ranger Station where we obtained our NC State Park Passport. As the NC park system turned 100 years old last year and in an effort to get people hiking, this great adventure seeking passport was created. As we had been attempting to visit all 50 state parks, we didn’t know about this great opportunity to dive a little deeper. As you reach certain milestones in the passport and obtain more stamps, you are rewarded apparently with “prize packs”. We shall see what this really entails, as we are going to do some backtracking and try to get ALL of the 50 stamps by year 2017’s end.
After this informative stop, where the Ranger also informed us that the peak views on the main Summit Trail would not be visible that particular day because of the foggy conditions. We decided to take on the Backcountry Trail (2M).
This trail brought you along the multiple campsites that Elk Knob has to offer (3 individual sites, and 2 group sites). Each site was laid out perfectly as the whole trail runs alongside the North Folk New River. Reservations are not required on the individual campsites, but they are for group campsites. The ONE negative is that NO FIRES are allowed at all in this park, and if you are overnight camping, YOU ARE REQUIRED to carry in a barrel and store your food inside… because, those bears like to eat.
As we began hiking it wasn’t bad at all, a few hills here, a few hills there. I have faith that any normal person could complete this trail with no issues. But what I really want to comment on is how well maintained this park is. The Backcountry Trail in particular, was VERY well kept and absolutely beautiful. Some parts were made into stone steps, with moss overgrowing all over and with the river flowing in the background this was a great relaxing, meditative hike.
Along the way we stumbled upon some cool things on the ground. Tree seeds, ready for pollination (pine cones, etc.), perfectly formed rocks, and lot’s of moss.
As we made our way to Campsite #2, we set up our hammocks and began to eat lunch. Today we had a lovely Turkey, Ham, and Cheese Sandwich, Bananas, Beef Jerky, and Sour Cream & Onion Pringles… <3. This campsite is perfectly aligned with the river flowing right beside it, very calming. We sat here about an hour and began hiking some more.
As you continue through, there are some pretty good waterfalls along the way and a lot of nature surrounding you. Again, very peaceful, and an overall wonderful hike. We would love to camp here, but we also love fires. This place would be great in the heat of the summer with a big group of friends for a short and sweet overnight camp.
And just like that we acquired our very first STAMP.
Thanks for reading.
ELK KNOB STATE PARK WEBSITE: