The Blue Ridge Parkway is a hikers paradise. With more than 70 trails along the North Carolina portion of the Parkway, you can find something for every level and interest, from easy to strenuous.
Close to Blowing Rock, near Parkway Craft Center at Moses Cone Manor is the Julian Price Memorial Park featuring a beautiful lake and lovely picnic grounds. BTW, you can rent canoes and row boats by the hour at the boat ramp on Price Lake. Just a few yards from Price Lake you will find Sims Pond (milepost 295.9) and a nice hike with a variety of scenic pleasures.
Officially the Green Knob Trail, this trek is also referred to as the Sims Pond Trail. The well-cut, 2.4 miles loop trail takes hikers 500′ up through dense forests with ancient soaring trees, across pretty little streams, over massive logs, under the Parkway (at .06 miles), across pastures complete with perfectly proportioned apple trees and resident cows, to fields of wildflowers and butterflies.
There are a few strategically placed benches along the way to relax (or rest) and take in the sights, sells and sounds of nature at its best. The most strenuous part is about a 20-minute section up to the pastures, where you are steadily climbing. Generally, a moderate hike, the trip takes anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes, depending on how fast you hike and if you take a break to enjoy the experience.
Simply put, the Green Knob Trail has something for everyone.
For info on trails along the Parkway, visit: www.blueridgeparkway.org/