December 19, 2012

Rocky Knob Park: Boone, NC

We arrived in Boone, NC for a weeklong getaway for the holidays and found ourselves ready for a nap after the red-eye + 2 hour drive. We made a quick trip into town the found ourselves relaxing couch side for a bit, something I rarely do. Luckily I had packed along a few magazines for the plane, one of which was my latest issue of Mountain Flyer magazine. It's a really cool mag centered around the Rocky Mountain region and often has tales of endurance races & back country rides. So, when I thumbed through issue 27 and spotted an article about a mountain bike park in Boone, NC I was quite surprised!! Gotta read this.

In short, the author had grown up in the Boone area but moved west to Colorado, but re-discovered his mountain biking roots on a recent return to Appalachia. A quick lookup online and I found the place was only 5 miles away!! I knew I wouldn't be able to break away for a ride (this time), I convinced K to go check it out with me on a hike in a couple of days. There was a break in the weather on Wednesday of our stay with temps in the mid 50's, so we went for it.

What we found at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike park was something special. We only saw a few riders since it was midday on a Wed, but one of them was Kristian, the 'man with a plan' who gave the Mountain Flyer author the grand tour. We hiked 2 of the 7 total miles there, but based on what I saw, I need to ride this place!
4 miles south of Boone on rte 421 you'll find this.
Current trailmap of the park.
Plenty of signage at the trailhead.

Banked turns!!
Hikers were directed in the oncoming direction of bike flow & not allowed on a few trails.
Rhododendron canopy. 
Short hiker bypass.
Well contoured & pleasant grades.

Beginner's skills area.
Plenty of signage at the trail junctions.
Good news, a bike shop is only a few miles down the road for rentals.
Banked hairpin.
One of the locals, he lapped us at least 3 times!
Trail features are marked.
The advanced skills area.

Wood bridges built right into the rocks.
Looks like a fun play area.

Heading back towards the trailhead.
There are two bike shops in Boone and I believe both rent mountain bikes. Magic Cycles & Boone Bike & Touring are both downtown. If I rent a bike I'd just ride from the shop as it was only 4 miles or so to the park. I have read online that the park does close down in winter based on weather/snow. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to ride it either this coming fall season or next.

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