In September 2017, the Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) closed on a purchase of nearly 60 acres of boulder-filled forest in Vilas, NC near Boone. It is the Boone area’s first legitimized bouldering area and contains hundreds of problems on textured, granitic boulders. The boulders are plopped on ridge lines along stands of giant hardwoods with a ridge top spring that meanders through the boulder field to the streams in the valley below. If the CCC had not purchased the property when they did, the majority of the property would have been purchased by a timber company for logging, inevitably wiping out the forest, the habitats, the boulders, the streams, etc. The Buckeye Knob Boulders purchase is a perfect example of why the marriage of conservation and recreation can make magic happen. If you are not a CCC member, please join this group of dedicated volunteers! If you are a CCC member and wish to donate to the Buckeye Knob project or other great CCC projects, donate here.
In early November 2017, I was able to join Joey Henson (previous owner of part of the land and avid climber that can claim more hard FA’s in the area than anybody), Brian Payst (CCC President and overall access and conservation rock star), Megan (a local Boone climber who played a critical role in securing the sale to the CCC), and Charles Morris (climber and film maker). Mike Trew, CCC High Country Representative, was there in spirit and played a critical role in the purchase. Thank you Mike! Joey was gracious enough to give us a tour of a handful of the boulders and we spent the better part of a day following him boulder after boulder. The boulder fields are essentially split into two sections, The Barn Boulders, and then higher on the ridge The Buckeye Knob Boulders. A proper parking lot and trail are not in yet but once they are, The Barn Boulders will offer more “front country bouldering” and Buckeye Boulders more “backcountry bouldering”. It is estimated that there are some 100 boulders and 400+ problems in the surrounding area. For much more on the purchase including some boulder footage: Enjoy this video by Adam Johnson
The photos below show just what we walked past or climbed in an afternoon. People like Joey have spent decades on this mountain and are still discovering new gems. If you like unspoiled forest, crisp streams, and ancient boulder playgrounds, consider making a donation to the 100% volunteer-run Carolina Climbers Coalition. Your donation will go towards this: