Watauga County, North Carolina

W atauga County is located in the northwestern part of the State of North Carolina, on the border with Tennessee. It was named for the Watauga River, a Native American word which can mean either beautiful water, whispering waters, river of many springs, or river of islands. Watauga County is extremely mountainous and all of its terrain is located within the Appalachian Mountain range, which is why it is often referred to as the High Country. Its highest peak is Grandfather Mountain, which rises to 5,964 feet. Its largest city and county seat, Boone, has the highest elevation of any city over 10,000 population in the Eastern United States. Once upon a time, the mainstay of the County’s economy was agriculture. Cabbage was once widely grown, so much so, that a sauerkraut plant was once located in Boone. Today, however, Watauga County’s main economic drivers are tourism and Appalachian State University, with its roughly 20,000 students making up the bulk of the County’s population of 55,000. “We don’t have any big infrastructure projects, nor do we have a business park that we’re breaking AT A GLANCE WATAUGA COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA WHAT: A county of 55,000 WHERE: In the northwestern part of North Carolina, on the border with Tennessee WEBSITE: www.wataugacounty.org unty, AROLINA A four-season tourism mecca