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About Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, & Sugar Mountain Area

Banner Elk is located in the northwest quadrant of Avery County in the Appalachian Highlands 3,701 feet above sea level. Home to Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk features a lively arts and crafts cultural scene, complete with an intimate pedestrian shopping district. Banner Elk’s food scene has earned it the title “Culinary Hot Spot of the NC High Country.” Several top-notch restaurants are within walking distance of the town’s lone stoplight, including Artisanal, twice ranked in the Top 100 in the U.S. by OpenTable.com.

Summer visitors enjoy cool temperatures and outdoor activities. Banner Elk is home to Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, NC’s first alpine coaster, while waterfalls, hiking trails and Grandfather Mountain are within 20 minutes of town. Fall foliage season is popular in Banner Elk, especially the third weekend of October, when the famous Wooly Worm Festival draws over 20,000 visitors to celebrate this furry little critter long considered a forecaster of winter weather. In winter, Banner Elk is situated within five miles of North Carolina’s two largest ski resorts on Sugar and Beech mountains.

Beech Mountain is Eastern America’s highest town (elevation 5,506) with well-maintained hiking trails and bike routes made famous by Lance Armstrong, alongside premier skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating. Popular events include the Mile High Kite Festival in September, and the Autumn of Oz Celebration in October. The high temperature has exceeded 72 degrees only a handful of times since an official weather service reporting station was established in 1992.

In and around the Village of Sugar Mountain you will find a Frank Duane designed 18-hole public golf course, Har-Tru clay tennis courts, miles of trails to hike and bike, outdoor adventure outfitters, shopping, restaurants, and a range of cozy lodging options. In the winter, grab your skis and snowboard and enjoy North Carolina’s largest ski area. Local festivals include Oktoberfest in the fall and SugarFest in December.

Stories from Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, & Sugar Mountain Area

August 23, 2021
When will the Parkway's leaves change to their wardrobe of fall colors? If you’re wondering when the peak Blue Ridge Parkway Fall leaf season will be this year, you’re not alone.
December 31, 2020
When high elevation nighttime temperatures dip below freezing, sections of the Parkway may be closed due to ice and snow. The roadway is not plowed or salted so closed areas become wonderful winter playgrounds.
December 4, 2020
Many of the businesses along the Blue Ridge Parkway remain open year-round and offer such eclectic merchandise that you can shop for everyone on your holiday gift list from the comfort of your home and have the gifts delivered to your door or directly to the recipient.
November 16, 2020
2020 has been a year of challenges. Even while staying at home we still seem to be busy. And with the cases of COVID-19 apparently on the rise across the country, maybe this holiday season is the time to take a romantic getaway in a nearby locale rather than gathering family members that live in different communities into one place and risking spreading the virus. Regardless of when you choose to enjoy a romantic getaway, we have some options and ideas for you to consider.
December 28, 2019
Visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway for the holidays (or lucky enough to be a local) and looking for unique ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2020? We’ve got your guide to some of the best kept secrets for seeing out 2019 and celebrating the start of 2020. Roar into the twenties where ever you are along the Blue Ridge Mountains with one of these fun New Years celebrations.