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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

December 28, 2021
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? We’ve got your guide for seeing in the New Year at one of these celebrations in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
November 18, 2021
Spending the holidays in the Blue Ridge Mountains brings to mind cozy fireside nights under homespun quilts, a brisk family outing to find the perfect Christmas tree on a local farm, and the very the best slopes for skiing and sledding. We've rounded up all this and more in our guide to festive winter fun in the communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
August 23, 2021
When will the Parkway's leaves change to their wardrobe of fall colors? Read on for travel tips to aid in planning your fall trip to the Blue Ridge region.
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 for pedestrians, cyclists, skiers and snowshoers alike.
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
Even while staying at home we still seem to be busy. Maybe this season you'll want to slow down and make time to take a getaway with your significant other. Regardless of when you choose to enjoy a romantic getaway along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we have some options and ideas for you to consider.