Weekend delays: As we move into the fall leaf season, several state parks have been reaching parking space capacity on weekends. We are anticipating increased visitation at Elk Knob State Park in the next few weeks, so please be prepared. Once parking reaches capacity, vehicles will not be let in until others leave. The best time to visit is during the week; if you have to visit during the weekends, please be sure to arrive early morning or late afternoon, and have a backup plan in case the park is full when you arrive.
All park facilities are open as of September 11.
Hours for the park office may be limited; please call the park at 828-297-7261 for more information. A properly worn mask or face covering, covering both the nose and the mouth, is required to enter the park office.
Campers, please bring exact change ($15 per site per night for tent campsites) and register and pay for your campsite at the trailhead when you arrive. The group campsite must be reserved in advance by going online or calling Aspira at 1-877-722-6762.
Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines throughout the park, regardless of the behavior of others. Bring a mask or face covering even if you are planning to only be outside; they are required to be worn when you cannot stay 6 feet away from park staff or other visitors. Wash or sanitize your hands before, during, and after your visit. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home.Last updated on: Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Contact the park
5564 Meat Camp Road
Todd, NC 28684
GPS: 36.3325, -81.6906
- November to February:
7:00am to 6:00pm
- March to May:
7:00am to 8:00pm
- June to August:
7:00am to 9:00pm
- September to October:
7:00am to 8:00pm
- Closed Christmas Day
- Monday to Friday:
8:00am to 5:00pm
- Closed state holidays
Elk Knob was considered for a housing development during the late 1990s and early 2000s, until a group of concerned citizens, land owners, and the Nature Conservancy worked together to purchase the mountain. In 2003, it was deeded to the State of North Carolina, under the management of the Division of Parks and Recreation. Elk Knob State Park helps to protect the headwaters of the North Fork of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. Its many species of flora and fauna, which include several rare and endangered species, will now be protected from development.
At an elevation of 5,520 feet above sea level, Elk Knob is one of the tallest peaks in Watauga County and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Standing on the summit of Elk Knob, hikers can look out over the land with panoramic views and imagine a time many years ago when elk grazed the valleys below in abundant herds. Unfortunately, elk no longer roam these mountains as they disappeared from this region because of over-hunting and loss of habitat. The last native elk in North Carolina were believed to have been killed in the late 1700s.
Several historic mountain communities, from Meat Camp to Sutherland, surround Elk Knob State Park. From the 1850s until the late 20th century, people from near and far would bring their goods to the Winebarger Grist Mill in the Meat Camp community to be processed. Just a few miles away, Sutherland had its thriving business in the cattle industry. Each of these small, bustling, dynamic communities had at least one general store, post office, school, and church, and they contributed a rich history to this area of Watauga County.