Located in Watauga County, Elk Knob was purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 2003 and soon afterwards was deeded to the State of North Carolina under the management of the Division of Parks and Recreation. One of a dozen amphibolite peaks in Watauga and Ashe counties, Elk Knob has been set aside to help protect from development one of the beautiful mountains of the area as well as to protect the headwaters of the North Fork of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world.
Elk Knob, the second tallest peak in Watauga County, reaches an elevation of 5,520 feet above sea level and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Standing on the summit of Elk Knob, hikers can look at the panoramic views and imagine a time many years ago when elk grazed the valleys below in abundant herds. These animals no longer roam these mountains as they were eliminated from this mountainous region by over-hunting and loss of habitat. The last native elk in North Carolina were believed to have been killed in the late 1700's.