#0 of 31 Boone Things To Do

Julian Price Memorial Park

Julian Price Memorial Park Near Blowing Rock, NC : One of the Recreational Highlights of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Written by: Jasmin Diaz
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

From boating, fishing, and hiking to picnicking and camping, Julian Price Memorial Park serves as one of the all-out recreational hubs along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Host to the largest campground on the Parkway, the 4,300-acre park serves up serene scenery—not least the mirrored expanse of its centerpiece, Price Lake—and fantastic access to trails ranging from easy-breezy to strenuous, including longer-distance routes steering toward the great Grandfather Mountain.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Just a stone’s throw from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Julian Price Memorial Park ranks among the beloved playgrounds along the Blue Ridge Parkway tracing the scenic heights of the Southern Appalachians. Its 4,300 acres are contiguous with Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, the two forming the largest set-aside recreational complex along this iconic sightseeing corridor.

The park, by the way, is named for businessman and insurance executive Julian Price, who’d envisioned a Blowing Rock-area lakeside resort for insurance agents but died in a car accident, in 1946, before seeing it come to fruition. A few years after Price’s death, the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company donated the land that became the park to the National Park Service, which manages the Blue Ridge Parkway.

At the heart of Julian Price Memorial Park is the 47-acre Price Lake, a fine place to take out a canoe or kayak—these boats can be rented here—and perhaps indulge in a bit of fishing. You’ll also find the largest campground along the Parkway here: Price Park Campground, which boasts more than 100 tent-only sites and nearly 70 RV sites. In the summertime, interpretive talks go down at a 300-seat amphitheater.

Whether or not you’re camping at Julian Price Memorial Park, the place is ideal for a lazy afternoon—or, better yet, a full day’s worth of R&R and outdoor recreation. There’s a spacious and shady picnic area, for one thing: the perfect place for a stopover along a Blue Ridge Parkway tour.

And hiking opportunities are extensive. For an easy amble—and more quality time spent along Price Lake—consider the 2.7-mile loop that traces the lakeshore. From Sim’s Pond, meanwhile, more ambitious hikers might tackle the 2.3-mile Green Knob Trail, which shows off fine old-growth timber with a lush rhododendron understory and the stellar view atop the 3,920-foot summit of (you guessed it) Green Knob.

Another more challenging (but big-time rewarding) hike is the 5.5-mile loop formed by the Boone Fork Trail, an extensive portion of which overlaps with the famous, long-distance Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Accessed from the Price Park Picnic Area, the trail is a good way to immerse yourself in the lovely backcountry of the park. Highlights include the cascades of Hebron Falls (aka Hebron Colony Rocks), plus a chance to spot wood ducks—easily one of the most flat-out gorgeous native waterfowl species in North America—cavorting along the riffles of the Boone Fork.

The Boone Fork Trail also provides a springboard for the fantastic Tanahwa Trail, which breaks off that loop within Julian Price Memorial Park and heads toward the southeastern flanks of mighty Grandfather Mountain, one of the great landmarks of the Blue Ridge. Pass by impressive rock outcrops and the Linn Cove Viaduct and soak up long-range views—not only to Grandfather, but also the Linville Gorge peaks of Table Rock and Hawksbill mountains—from open mountain heather thickets.

Whether you’re looking for a quick stop to stretch your legs along one of America’s best-known scenic drives, or you want to set up shop for a couple of nights, Julian Price Memorial Park is an all-ages winner of a destination in the North Carolina High Country!

Insider Tips:
-In early summer, rhododendron blooms make the Price Lake Trail in the park especially worth doing.
-From the picnic area to the Boone Fork Trail, there are plentiful opportunities for (carefully supervised) stream play and rock-hopping in the Julian Price Memorial Park: another reason why it’s a great choice for a family destination along the Blue Ridge Parkway.