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History

View from the summit at Elk Knob State Park. Photo by J. Mickey.
Current status of park facilities   

Trails and restrooms are open. The park office, gift shop, and amphitheater remain closed.

Backcountry campsites are open. Please bring exact change ($15 per site per night) and register and pay for your campsite at the trailhead when you arrive. The group campsites remain closed.

When visiting, please follow social distancing guidelines, regardless of the behavior of others. Please try to stay 6 feet away from other visitors and park staff or wear a mask or face covering. Try to touch as few surfaces as possible and do not enter areas that have been closed off. Wash or sanitize your hands before, during, and after your visit, and stay home if you are sick.

 

Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. Generally, state parks are following the phased reopening statewide. Phase 2 has been extended until at least September 11, 2020.

 Last updated on: Thursday, August 6, 2020


Map of North Carolina – Elk Knob State Park


Contact the park
 

828-297-7261

elk.knob@ncparks.gov
 

Address
 

Park office

5564 Meat Camp Road
Todd, NC 28684

GPS: 36.3325, -81.6906
 

Hours
 

► 

  • 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
     

 

 

 

History highlights

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.