Blue Ridge Parkway
Julian Price Memorial Park
Boone Fork Loop Trail
Boone Fork Loop Trail
On 12-12-15, I hiked the Boone Fork Loop Trail. It is a 5-mile loop trail that is part of the Julian Price Memorial Park. The trail starts at the Picnic Area. The Picnic Area is between Mile Markers 296 & 297 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
NOTE: Depending on the weather and conditions, I strongly recommend waterproof boots. In the dry season, they should not be needed. The day I hiked this trail, it had not rained in about a week. However, there were many places where keeping your feet dry was a real challenge.
Starting from the Picnic Area, go to the right of the bathrooms and cross the bridge. Here you will be in a very nice open field and the start of the trail will be just to your right. There is a sign there showing the trail systems that are part of the Julian Price Memorial Park. If you don’t have a map, you may want to take a photo of the sign for reference later. NOTE: in some places, it states the trail is 4.9 miles and other places it has 5.0 miles. The trail is very well marked with Orange Diamonds.
This is also the start for a Kids Track Trail and a trail to Hebron Falls. They use only a portion of the Boone Fork Loop Trail.
The first point of interest you come to is an old lake bed. There is a marker there with details. The first .7 mile is the Kids Track Trail. It is very easy walking and flat.
After that, there are many roots and rocks to travel over. There is also the occasional limb and a couple of rock outcropping’s just waiting to hit your head. Be warned, watch where you are stepping and also watch your head. The day I hiked this trail, there was a heavy dew and the rocks were damp. When rocks are wet, even with dew, they can be very slippery.
For me, the best part of this trail is all the waterfalls and rapids. There are too many to count but the largest is Hebron Falls. Just before the 1.5-mile marker is a right turn to Hebron Falls. There is a directional sign marking the turn.
After about 3 miles of hiking along the water, you ascend near the top of a mountain. There is a side trail that is not part of the Boone Fork Trail at mile 3.5. I suggest you take the short hike to the top for a very nice view of the area. Not the best view around but well worth the extra effort.
Just a little ways past the 3-mile marker, you come to an intersection of several trails. The Boone Fork Trail will continue straight. The Mountain-To-Sea Trail and the Tanawha Trail will be to the right. There are also mileages to other points of interest.
Just past the 4-mile marker, you enter into the Julian Price Memorial Park Camp Ground. The trail will wind through the campground and past the Ranger Station at the entrance of the Camp Ground at mile marker 4.5.
Another ½ mile through lush Rhododendrons and you will come out at the open field you started from. A short walk across the field then cross the bridge and you are back at the parking lot.
This is one of the best hikes I have taken. It is 5 miles and strenuous. However, I would put it between moderate and strenuous. Only the distance would classify it as strenuous. The trail is very well marked and well-traveled. This trail offers a lot of interesting things to see. It’s not just a walk in the woods!