When you want to power down the trails while enjoying the beauty of Boone, head on over to Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park. Although it’s a Watauga County Parks and Recreation production, this park wouldn’t exist without immense volunteer work by locals. Through their efforts, they created over 10 miles of trails plus multiple skill areas for all ages to enjoy.
In order to enjoy all this 185-acre park has to offer, you just need a mountain bike and a helmet. Don’t try to skip the helmet either. They are absolutely required, and your fellow riders will call you out on it. It doesn’t hurt to bring extra tubes for your tires plus whatever tools you need for quick fixes. Although many people will lend a hand if needed, it’s best to come prepared, so you can help out, too.
You’ll find the trailhead by heading down US 421 on Wilkesboro. Then, turn down the aptly named Mountain Bike Way to reach the parking lot. Lock up tight to avoid car prowlers, and then take your bike over to the posted sign to read all the safety rules. Although it’s a mountain bike park through and through, you still have to watch for hikers, people walking their dogs, and kids running around at the playground.
As you pedal into the park, you’ll find signs pointing to all the different trails and skill areas. The trail sections favor intermediate to advanced riders for the most part. For mountain biking beginners, there’s a fun pump track and the 0.3-mile Keendergarten trail. On the pump track, riders shove off the starting line and then keep the bike without touching the pedals. The trail, on the other hand, takes riders on a short loop filled with climbing turns and wood features throughout.
More advanced riders have five other distinct trails to consider throughout the park. Rocky Branch is considered the easiest of the bunch, although it’s pretty long at 2.6 miles. Middle Earth increases the difficulty considerably with its steep grades and loose rock. The Boat Rock trail proves rather challenging overall, but it has its easier sections. Since it’s 3.6 miles long, the brief breaks are quite welcome by even the toughest of riders.
Although ‘Ol Hoss is the shortest trail at just ¾ of a mile, its wicked switchbacks will get your heart pumping like crazy. Then, as a reward for all your hard work, PBJ lets you pump, berm, and jump to your heart’s content. With so many progression-based trails to enjoy, it’s easy to keep pushing your skillset forward with every visit.
Just be sure to break it up a bit with visits to the four skill areas as well. Since they’re located between each trail, these skill areas offer a chance to get more technical while you catch your breath. You might just want to stick around for a while as your bike handling expertise improves with each trip through the challenges. But it’s well worth pushing on and trying out new trails as much as possible during your visit. In addition to getting to work on your mountain biking skills, your trips down the trails will treat you to the finest views in all of Boone, North Carolina.
As you travel along the trails, aim to pick up debris you find whenever it’s safe to do so. The park stays nice largely thanks to volunteers who take their free time to clean and maintain the trails. So, give back to those individuals by packing out whatever you brought with you – and taking a little extra trash to the bin whenever the opportunity presents itself.
-Adverse weather conditions often result in park closures from December through April. Continuing to ride through the freeze-thaw cycle wreaks havoc on the trail surfaces, after all.
-The park does not have any restrooms available from December 1st through March 31st.