Halloween in High Country:

Banner Elk’s Best Local Lore & Ghost Stories

Spooky season is officially upon us. Banner Elk NC’s natural fall beauty sets a majestic scene that’s perfect for sharing ghost stories around the campfire. Just in time for Halloween in The High Country, we’re sharing the area’s can’t-miss local lore and spooky tales that’ll get you in the spirit. From haunted hot spots just a short drive from Eagles Nest to legends that’ll leave you with goosebumps, you won’t want to miss this month’s eerie blog edition!    

Local Haunts & Fantastic Folklore

The Demon Dog of Valle Crucis

Banner Elk to Valle Crucis: 15 minutes (7.4 miles)

High in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains sits a small town called Valle Crucis, or “Valley of the Cross.” Since the 1860s, the supernatural tale of a demonic beast has plagued the area. Legend has it that locals discovered human remains near the town’s church — and they appeared to be victims of a vicious animal attack. The tale transformed into a modern urban legend in the 1980s when two college students had an eerie encounter in the roads near the old church late one evening. A large shadowy figure allegedly lept into the pitch black road out of nowhere, causing them to swerve and pull off to the side of the road. Initially, it’s said they thought they’d hit a deer, as the animal was too large to be a dog. But when they looked in the rearview mirror, they saw glowing red eyes staring back. The creepy figure began to follow them, gaining ground as it ran behind the car. As they crossed a bridge where three rivers converge into a cross-like shape, it’s said that the beast mysteriously vanished. Do you dare drive the mountain roads where this legend is said to have started? Just a short trek from Banner Elk NC, Valle Crucis definitely worth adding to your list of places to explore in your DIY haunted tour of the area! 

The Phantom Choir of Roan Mountain

Banner Elk to Roan Mountain: 21 minutes (13.7 miles)

Beautiful Roan Mountain sits right near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. This breezy mountaintop has a spellbinding supernatural history that’s definitely worth exploring. It’s said that when you stand on the mountain’s highest points, you can hear phantom singing in the wind. Some say the voices are sinister, with reports of demonic wailing and tormented souls screaming. Whether you’re hoping to hear ghastly singing, or just want to enjoy a scenic Halloween hike, Roan Mountain is a can’t-miss destination.

The Phantom Hiker of Grandfather Mountain

Banner Elk to Linville: 27 minutes (12.6 miles)

Photo of Grandfather Mountain bridge in the fog

Perfect for hikes and haunts alike, Grandfather Mountain hovers above Blowing Rock Highway and features stunning natural surroundings. You’ll discover beautiful trails, endangered species — and maybe even the ghost of a lost hiker. The phantom hiker of Grandfather Mountain is said to have a grizzled appearance, roaming the trails alone, only to vanish when he encounters others. Legend has it that he may be the spirit of a hiker who died on the mountain and loved it so much that he never left. Either way, Grandfather Mountain nature preserve is worth the visit, with the price of admission covering all access to hiking trails, exhibits, the famous mile-high swinging bridge (and maybe even a spirit sighting).

East Hall, Appalachian State University

Banner Elk to Boone: 29 minutes (16.4 miles)

Appalachian State University campus

With a 97% haunting rating from voters on HauntedPlaces.org, this hot spot is a must on your Eagles Nest Halloween itinerary. Located on the Appalachian State University campus, East Hall has a spooky storied past. Tragically, a woman in the 1960s is said to have taken her life in the basement of East Hall — and ghostly encounters have been experienced there ever since. Students have reported hearing footsteps, feeling cold spots, seeing lights suddenly turn off — and it’s said that the third floor women’s restroom is haunted. Beyond scary stories, the university offers stunning scenery for a fall walk in the fresh mountain air, so you can’t go wrong with a visit.

Green Park Inn

Banner Elk to Blowing Rock: 39 minutes (19.9 miles)

Named as one of 13 haunted hotels in the US by The Washington Post, this enchanting inn has a long haunted history. Built in 1891, legend has it that the owner’s daughter died in room 318 after her soon-to-be husband left her at the altar. Guests have reported seeing a ghostly woman walking through the third-floor hallways — so much so that the hotel has a “ghost log” for guests to look through and report their own encounters. This charming historic inn is definitely worth adding to your ghost tour list!

Historic Ashe Hospital

Banner Elk to Jefferson: 1 hour, 7 minutes (42.8 miles)

Ashe County’s first hospitals

Built back in 1939, “The Old Hospital” sits at 410 McConnell Street, and was one of Ashe County’s first hospitals. The hospital has been closed since 1969, but has long been believed to be haunted. Widespread electrical issues, ghastly patient screams, orb sightings, and creepy sounds from the non-operational elevator have all been reported at this paranormal hot spot. It’s definitely worth a drive around for some bone-chilling vibes.

The Ghosts of the Biltmore House

Banner Elk to Asheville: 1 hour, 33 minutes (73.7 miles)

the Biltmore’s indoor 70,000 gallon pool

There are so many stunning day trips within a short drive’s distance from our mountain retreat. Asheville is a thriving city, offering delicious local dining, natural amenities, entertainment, and of course, some spooky sites. The Biltmore is America’s largest home, originally created as a vacation home for George Washington Vanderbilt. It’s a year-round destination for visitors (especially during the Christmas season) — but there may also be some more sinister secrets surrounding this incredible estate. It’s rumored that a child of a family friend drowned in the Biltmore’s indoor 70,000 gallon pool during a lavish party and continues to haunt the area to this day. Visitors have reported a deep sense of anxiety and uneasiness when entering the pool room. There are also reports of phantom splashing sounds coming from the empty room. But, this may not be the only spirit known to roam the estate. It’s said that employees and visitors have spotted a shadowy figure lurking in the library — some say it’s the ghost of Vanderbilt himself. Completed in 1895, this mansion offers a unique glimpse into history, and maybe even a ghost or two.

Of course, you don’t even have to leave your Eagles Nest oasis to get in on the Halloween fun. Share scary stories and local legends right in your own beautiful backyard!

Which spooky site will be first on your list of haunted hot spots? We invite you to come visit Eagles Nest and experience the beauty of fall in Banner Elk for yourself. Start Halloween season in The High Country off right with a Discovery Tour today. 

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