ROAN MOUNTAIN — Carter County’s newest business is quickly making its climb to the top. That is because High Country UTV Mountain Tours is equipped with some powerful Yamaha Viking 3 and Polaris RZR utility terrain vehicles that can go straight up some of the steepest, muddiest trails like they were racing on flat land.
The business located just outside Roan Mountain State Park is owned by Monie and Janice McCoury and while they have spent the last few months carving the trails throughout their mountainous 160 acres at 401 Hampton Creek Road, they are not new to Carter County. For the past five years, they have owned and expanded their successful Off the Grid Mountain Adventures where U.S. 19E reaches its highest point where Sullivan County and Carter County meet.
McCoury proudly said Off the Grid still has one the highest and fastest zip lines in the East. He said it is 3,000 feet long, 300 feet high, and reaches speeds of 60 mph.
While Off the Grid has been a success, one thing that did not succeed there was the all terrain vehicle track. Perhaps the zip line, the gravity defying giant swings and the racing karts was just too much variety.
But the McCoury’s UTV business took off when they transplanted it to Banner Elk, N.C. and started High Country UTV four years ago. That was on a 60-acre tract of land. While High Country got rave reviews from his customers, Monie McCoury decided he could do better by That was why he ismoving High Country UTV back to Tennessee and Hampton Creek.
“This is 160 acres, that is nearly three times the size,” McCoury said. That space works exponentially to open up more trail riding options. He said there are more than nine times the trails on the new system. And that is just the two-dimensional part of the footprint. This park is tall. The mountain climbs high and higher. Just when you reach the top of one section of trails, you see another mountain going up much higher, and that repeats itself until you finally reach the true summit, where the top offers a 360 degree panorama of mountain ridges in every direction.
High Country UTV Mountain Tours is now open and is already booked solid for this weekend, McCoury said. He is expecting his business to climb like his vehicles, from 5,000 customers last year to close to 10,000 this year.
He said High Country’s new location is already developing a reputation for vertical climbs and big views. He said customer satisfaction is very important to him and his number one goal is safety. He said the activity is COVID friendly because only one family rides in each vehicle and all COVID guidelines are followed.
The rides are $199 for the Vikings and $250 for the RZRs vehicles.