Situated in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone, NC is a wonderful outdoor destination for those families looking to introduce their children to the Appalachian region. Here, you can find fun and scenic activities like tubing, zip-lining, and, of course, hiking. There are a lot of fantastic hiking trails to experience in this area, many of which are decidedly kid-friendly. But what exactly is a kid-friendly trail?
The below answers that question and offers some great hiking choices that the whole family will enjoy in and around Boone, NC:
What Makes for a Good Kid-Friendly Trail?
When looking for kid-friendly trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains and elsewhere, there are a couple of important things you’ll want to look for that will help ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for the whole family. Such factors include:
Short in length and gentle in terrain
Certainly, many toddlers are like billy goats in that they love to climb and run all over the place. However, when it comes to hiking, shorter trails with gentle terrain are the best to introduce young children to as they are less taxing and, should your child want to call it quits, they are much easier to make an exit from.
Well-maintained trail surface
Gravel and paved hiking trails are the best for young hikers as they pose the least amount of risk for tripping and are generally easy for young hikers to navigate. They also make it easy to bring things like strollers where necessary.
Plenty of amenities
Restrooms, picnic areas, trailside benches, and captivating sights like waterfalls and gurgling streams all add up to create a much more pleasant and enjoyable hiking experience for kids and their families.
Safety and accessibility
Certainly, there are some fantastic remote hikes that offer world-class views and experiences, but they also can pose a very frustrating experience for the unready. When hiking with kids, we recommend choosing hikes with easy-to-access parking areas, well-marked trailheads, and reliable cell phone reception.
Kid-Friendly Trails in Boone, NC
So, with all of the above and other factors in mind, consider the following top kid-friendly trails we recommend in the greater Boone, NC area:
1. Hebron Falls Via Boone Fork Trail
Start at the Boone Fork Parking Lot where you’ll also find restrooms, picnic areas, and a nice creek area where kids can splash and cool off after the hike. The whole of Boone Fork Trail is built as a five-mile loop, but you can cut that mileage in half by aiming to only go to Hebron Falls and back. Hebron Falls is a gorgeous waterfall experience, and how the trail opens up to it is sure to please hikers of all ages.
You can also access these falls by taking what is called the Boone Fork Lower Falls Via Old John’s River way. Here, you’ll park along Old John’s River and walk south towards the waterfalls. This is a bit shorter in distance, but parking here is very, very limited and there are no amenities like restrooms or picnic areas. We’d thus recommend this approach to Hebron Falls if you’re very limited on time.
2. Mountains to Sea: Goshen River Trail
This one does have a bit of a weird entrance. In order to block horses and bikes from using this hiking trail, the county has put up a ladder-looking gate that the small can squeeze around and others can climb over. Once past that, however, you’ll enjoy a nice hike along the Goshen River.
3. Bryan Booe Memorial Trail
The Bryan Booe Memorial Trail leads out from the Bryan Booe Memorial Riverpark in Foscoe along US Highway 105. The trail is simple and well-maintained, meandering through the woods for about a mile. The park itself spans about 25 acres, with one end spanning the Watauga River. Other amenities you’ll find here include a picnic shelter and several nice grassy areas ideal for lounging and watching young children run and play. This park and trail are dog-friendly but the neighborhood itself is very strict about keeping pets on-leash.
4. The Maze Trail at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is itself a fantastic place to visit and is just a short drive south of Downtown Boone. The Maze hiking trail is a flat, smooth trail that winds and curves in the southern part of the park. It’s just over two miles in length and connects to other carriage trails and a hiking loop that goes around the nearby Bass Lake, making it a great choice on its own or as part of a larger visit to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. We like it because it’s flat, relatively short, easy to navigate, and the park itself has plenty of amenities.
5. Greenway Trail to Kenney Trail Loop
This is a 3-mile looped trail that is very popular and is conveniently located within Boone itself, making for a good choice if you’re not looking to drive far. The easiest way to access the trail is by parking at Clawson-Burnley Park and following the trail signs leading along the South Fork New River. Don’t be dissuaded by the open fields at the start of this trail as you’ll soon find that the path will meander over a wooden pedestrian bridge and through a beautiful wooded area.
Learn More About Kid- and Family-Friendly Activities in Boone, NC
Whether you have a child who is already heads-over-heels in love with the outdoors or a toddler whom you’re taking out for adventures for the very first time, Boone has a lot to offer your family. You’ll find a ton of outstanding outfitters here that will help your family create the perfect outing for your group, as well as great parks, activity centers, and more. Learn all about these outdoor (and indoor) Boone activities by checking out other pages. We’re here to help you build that perfect Boone, NC vacation itinerary that’ll have your family reminiscing for years to come.