By Teresa Crowder
Locally, our region is surrounded by a landscape that captivates the eye and nourishes the soul. The mountains and waterways provide us with surreal peace and adventures galore at any given moment.
One such local area, Beech Mountain North Carolina, boasts a lofty elevation at 5,506 feet, making it the highest town in the eastern United States. Tourists flock to this area not only for winter activities but for fishing, hiking, and biking.
Recently, the fine folks on the tourism staff merged adventure destinations in the area and formed a new driving trail that features parts of Watauga and Avery Counties in North Carolina and Johnson and Carter counties in Tennessee.
Effectively titled the Hi-Lo Adventure Trail, the three intertwined routes connect the Town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina (the highest point on the trail) with the Watauga Lake area (the lowest point) and showcases many businesses and outdoor adventures in between.
The Hi-Lo Adventure Trail’s routes provide various options for explorers to enjoy, including dining, shopping, hiking, fishing, boating, attractions, and sightseeing. There is an 85-mile Tasters Loop that links Beech Mountain to the Watauga Lake area, Mountain City, Tennessee, Valle Crucis, and Banner Elk, North Carolina, while the 100-mile Mountain 2 Mountain Loop features stops at Doe Mountain and Mountain City, Tennessee, and the Sugar Grove area of North Carolina. The Lakeside Loop is the third route in a distance of 105 miles which features the two small lakes on Beech Mountain and Watauga Lake and Roan Mountain, Tennessee, and Elk Park, North Carolina.
Dustin Shearin, Mountain City alderman, is enthusiastic about the possibilities for economic growth.
“Regardless of state lines that form boundaries on a map, as neighbors, we should always look for ways to work together that may be mutually beneficial regardless of our geographical location,” he said. “Upper Northeast TN and Western NC both have many tourism opportunities. The Hi-Lo Adventure Trail initiative puts this information together in a unique way. It is a tool that will help both visitors and local residents alike see a map and list of places to go, stay, eat, and visit in our region in a comprehensive way. I cannot take credit for this program, but I look forward to watching it
grow and observing the benefits that I am sure that we will see.”
This type of cross-promotion serves the entire region giving visitors much
diversity in how they can spend time here in the mountains. Border towns and states have much to gain from these types of partnerships as sharing the wealth from the benefits of tourism boost both economies.
Additional business expos are in the works for
this year in Johnson and Carter counties. More information about the Hi-Lo Adventure Trail can be found at https://beechmtn.com/hi-lo-adventure-trail/ and https://www.johnsoncountytn.gov/hi-lo-adventure-trail/