About Banner Elk, NC
Banner Elk is a ski-resort town, which bills itself as the "highest town in the East," surrounded by the lofty peaks of Grandfather, Hanging Rock, Beech, and Sugar mountains. The massively ugly condo tower you'll see on top of Little Sugar Mountain (not a part of the Sugar Mountain ski resort) is the only scar on the scenic beauty of the area. At least something good came of the monstrosity—it so outraged local residents that it prompted the passing of a ridge line law preventing such mountaintop development.
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Things You Can’t Miss
Fall colors peak in mid-October, but the Blue Ridge Parkway has spectacular views year-round. Pull out your camera at Blowing Rock, elevation 4,000 feet.
Sean Meyers/Zuma Press/Alamy
You can feel the 228-foot Mile High Swinging Bridge sway as you walk across to Grandfather Mountain, highest point along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
North Carolina's Grand Canyon, the 12-mile Linville Gorge, is still being carved by its river. Take the easy half-mile trail to the falls.
At 5,506 feet above sea level, Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski resort in the East. During the summer the resort lures serious mountain bikers.
Some of the best mountain views can be had from the bottom. Edge of the World arranges white water adventures along the dam-controlled Watauga River.
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