Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone, West Jefferson, Wilkesboro, Blue Ridge Parkway

NC High Country Civil War Trails

NC High Country Civil War Trails

From 2011-2015 North Carolina is commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in North Carolina. While only one engagement by regular troops was fought in the High Country, by Stoneman’s cavalry and appropriately named Stoneman’s Raid, many guerilla raids by militias, deserters, and renegades on both sides took place. These fights often pitted neighbor against neighbor and literally, “brother against brother.”

Charles Frasier’s best-selling novel Cold Mountain and the resulting hit movie are works of fiction, but are firmly based on the facts of the Civil War in the High Country. During the period of 1861 – 1865, this was disputed territory, with some communities firmly committed to the preservation of the Union and others hotly secessionist.

You can view Civil War trail signs and may have the chance to visit with the descendants of combatants on both sides throughout the High Country.  Here is a list of markers:


Watauga County: Boone, Blowing Rock Area

  • Camp Mast: Trail sign at 815 W King Street, Boone NC- A Confederate home guard camp was stationed here and attacked in February 1865 by men from Banner Elk
  • Mustard Fields: Field by Horn in the West Drive, Boone NC- This field was used by Confederate troops to train
  • Stoneman’s Raid: Marker near Deep Gap Blue Ridge Parkway Entrance- The Confederate home guard used this area as a lookout point for Stoneman’s cavalry, which was thought to be traveling to the Boone area via Wilkesboro


Avery County: Banner Elk, Newland, Elk Park

  • Banner Elk, NC Community: Trail sign at 7990 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Banner Elk NC- This community provided safe houses for prisoners and refugees of both sides
  • Blalock Family: Trail sign at 436 Hospital Drive, Newland NC- Unionists Sarah & Keith Blalock guided escaped Union prisoners to the safety of the mountains of Banner Elk
  • Cranberry Iron Mine: Trail sign at 5215 Elk Park Highway, Elk Park NC- The iron mine was used by Confederates to supply raw materials for the war


Wilkes County: Wilkesboro

  • Fort Hamby: Trail sign at 1534 S Recreation Road, Wilkesboro NC- Union & Confederate deserters occupied this “fort” at the end of the war.



  •  Christmas in July Festival: 1st Weekend in July in Downtown West Jefferson NC- A civil war reenactment is held every year at the festival



  • Stoneman’s Last Raid, 1961, Ina W. Van Noppen,
  • Bushwhackers: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains, 1991, William R. Trotter
  • The War Trails of the Blue Ridge, 1932, Shepherd M. Dugger
  • A History of Watauga County North Carolina, 1911 (Reprint 1992), John Preston Arthur
  • A Short History of Watauga County, 2005, Michael C. Hardy