November 16, 2019
Tanawha translates as “fabulous hawk” in Cherokee. Apropos in meaning, the trail offers wondrous views of the High Country. For years I have meant to hike this trail. In 2017, torrential rains flooded the area and washed out the bridge near the Daniel Boone Scout Trail. In 2018, I started to hike it, but a litigious ranger threatened me with a $400 fine for trespassing if I tried to circumvent the bridge via bushwhacking.
In recent months, the National Park Service finished the bridge and the trail was officially reopened. The Tanawha runs 13.5 miles from Beacon Heights to Price Park Lake. For it’s entirety, it mirrors the current Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST). Created in 1993, the trail is located outside Blowing Rock and Boone, North Carolina.
I would not say the trail is overly difficult, but there are sections where it is easy to lose your way (surprisingly). I would also recommend hiking the trail from Beacon Heights to Price Lake, as it is more generally a downward slope. For me, the best section was not the sweeping views of Rough Ridge, but the tunnel moss section near Cold Prong Pond.
This trail is certainly worthy of consideration for any day hike in part of in its entirety.
Total mileage is 13.5 miles.