What Makes the North Carolina High country Special


We are ideally located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, right in the middle of the Eastern United States. We have access to four airports, all not more than an hour and a half to two hours away: Charlotte-Douglas International, Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greenville, NC, Asheville Regional Airport, Tri-Cities Regional Airport serving Johnson City, TN.

University, Schools and Churches

We have watched Appalachian State University grow from a small teacher college to a full University over the years receiving national attention for its academics as well as its sports programs. There are currently over 18,000 students from all over the world enrolled in degree programs ranging from business to anthropology to music and dance. The ASU football team won three straight National Championships between 2005 and 2007.

Located in the Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina, the Watauga County Schools serve approximately 4550 students in eight K-8 schools and one high school. Each of the K-8 schools is a School of Distinction or a School of Excellence on the NC ABC's Report Card for 2006-07. At the high school, our students' average SAT scores (math and critical reading combined) are the second highest among the state's 115 public school systems and the percentage of students scoring proficient or above on end-of-course tests is considerably higher than the state average.

Our area churches represent every denomination and provide numerous and diverse opportunities to worship.

Sustainable Living

Our area encourages organic farmers and hosts Farmer’s Markets in Boone, North Carolina and West Jefferson, North Carolina. These markets pull farmers from all over the area and are not to be missed with their produce, crafts, flowers and all around story-swapping atmosphere. Our Appalachian University encourages Sustainable Development with many courses and programs sponsored throughout the region. 

Ski Capital of the South

The High Country Host is home to three premier ski resorts, Appalachian Ski Mtn., Ski Beech and Sugar Mountain Resort, all located within 30 minutes of one another. The High Country, also known as the ski capitol of the south, is a favorite destination of families, couples and adventure-seekers. North Carolina has the highest mountains east of the Rockies and the best variety of restaurants, shops, and other year-round attractions of any destination in the Southeast.

Not a skier? We have a variety of other winter sports available for your enjoyment. Each premier ski resort offers an additional winter sport whether it be ice skating, snow shoeing or tubing. However, if tubing is all you and your family desire, you will want to check out Jonas Ridge Snowtubing for "good, safe fun!"

The ski season begins in mid-November and usually runs through the month of March. 

Parks and Hiking Trails

Mount Jefferson State Park

Located in the far northwest corner of North Carolina, unique Mount Jefferson rises more than 1600' above a broad, high plateau to its northeast to reach nearly 4700' in elevation. Traveling north to south, it marks the beginning of a cluster of high mountains along and east of the Blue Ridge stretching to the southwest, including Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, Big Bald, and Mount Mitchell. North of Mount Jefferson the higher mountains shift west to the state lines and include Mount Rogers in Virginia, which is the last peak above 5000' in the Southern Appalachians if you continue north.

The park is designated as a National Natural Landmark due to its outstanding ecological diversity. Rare plant communities grow here, such as a stand of Aspen trees just below the virgin Northern Red Oak forest on the summit. The best way to explore this diversity is, of course, on foot, and Mount Jefferson offers a trail looping around its summit to do so. Magnificent views abound from this loop. 

Grandfather Mountain

This district includes lands along the Blue Ridge Escarpment northwest of the Black Mountains, stretching from Interstate 40 in the South to near the town of Blowing Rock in the north. Its borders include Interstate 40 to the South, US Hwy. 70 to the East, US Hwy. 321 to the North, and the Blue Ridge Parkway to the West.

Linville Gorge

You'll also find excellent trails in the Linville Gorge area, which is the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi river. The heart of the Gorge is a National Forest Wilderness Area. Trails on the rim are less secluded and include spectacular views into the gorge itself. Further north, the Wilson Creek drainage area is known for its waterfalls. Wilson Creek is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River. These are the three main trailhead areas for this site; although several other creeks and streams drain the Blue Ridge and have trails nearby.