Situated in North Carolina's Watauga County and opened in 2003, Elk Knob State Park covers 3,680 acres of diverse terrain. The park was established to preserve Elk Knob, which is one of the highest peaks in North Carolina's high country, and the headwaters of the North Fork of the New River.
Pets are welcome in North Carolina state parks but aren't allowed in park buildings and swim areas. Your pooch will need to be on a leash of six feet or less at all times and must never be left unattended. Remember to also clean up after your pet and leave no mess behind.
Standing at 5,520 feet, Elk Knob is undoubtedly the park's centerpiece and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The 1.9-mile Summit Trail takes hikers on a beautiful and well-maintained route to the top, but it's a strenuous climb and should only be attempted by those with a decent level of fitness.
Several other hiking trails are on offer throughout the park. These include the 2-mile Backcountry Trail, which winds its way down into a valley where the park's backcountry campsites are located.
During the winter months, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing become popular pastimes in Elk Knob State Park. North Carolina State Parks strives to keep the area open even in extreme weather conditions, so it's got something to offer everyone all year round.
If you're camping in Elk Knob State Park, be aware that only primitive, backcountry camping is available. There are three individual sites, two group sites, and a zone camping area, but these basic sites have no facilities except one pit toilet to be shared by the two group sites.
With this in mind if you like camping with all the creature comforts then this isn't the state park for you. But if you like "roughing it" in the wilderness with your canine pal, Elk Knob State Park is a must-visit.