Outdoor Adventure Comes To Life In Banner Elk, NC

Avery County, NC

Exciting outdoor adventures – both new and old – await this summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Banner Elk, North Carolina. This high-elevation resort town is surrounded by thrilling experiences.

The newest adrenaline rush comes with downhill speeds reaching up to 27 miles per hour. Wilderness Run, North Carolina’s first alpine coaster, opened last summer, with a 3,160-foot track that includes three circular loops, a series of waves and lots of twists. Riders use hand brakes to control the speed of their individual carts.

“You’re looping, dipping or turning. There is no point where you are just riding,” says Eric Bechard, who co-owns the coaster with his wife, Tara. “It’s very fast and a whole lot of fun.”

Another Banner Elk-based experience is Off the Grid Mountain Adventures, which offers guided UTV tours featuring mountain terrain, stream beds and panoramic views. Guests meet up in Banner Elk and are shuttled to a secluded location for an exciting afternoon driving two-seat UTVs in the Blue Ridge.

Mile-high adventure is always on tap at nearby Grandfather Mountain. This long-standing nature park is home to the Mile High Swinging Bridge, a suspension bridge perched at 5,280 feet with panoramic views of the NC High Country. Other attractions at Grandfather Mountain are animal habitats for elk, cougars, bears and otters, a nature museum and fudge shop, and miles of hiking trails geared toward all skill levels.

Downhill mountain bikers have options within minutes of Banner Elk’s lone stoplight. Lift-accessed trails stay open throughout the summer at two ski resorts – Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain. 

Other outdoor activities include Elk River Falls, two whitewater rafting outfitters, and numerous hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

After a day of recreation, Banner Elk satisfies the appetite with an impressive collection of restaurants. The town has earned the nickname “Culinary Hot Spot of the High Country” for its cuisine. From fine dining to casual bistros, Banner Elk serves up a variety of choices.

Afterwards, retire to the front porch of your rental cabin, where the cool evening air is a welcome respite during a North Carolina summer.

For visitor details go to www.BannerElk.com.

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