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Banner Elk is a town in Avery County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,028 at the 2010 census. Banner Elk is home to Lees–McRae College.
The area surrounding the Elk River was inhabited by the Cherokee before western settlement, although no evidence of a permanent Cherokee settlement has ever been found. It is likely the area was used for hunting and fishing. The first permanent settlement was established by Martin L. Banner in 1848. Although the Banner family originally came from Wales, Martin Banner moved from Forsyth County in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Eventually, the Banner family grew to 55 members, and the area where they lived became known as Banner's Elk. This name was later shortened to Banner Elk when the town was incorporated in 1911.
The Banner Elk Hotel and Robert Chester and Elsie H. Lowe House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As of the census of 2000, there were 811 people, 215 households, and 124 families residing in the town. The population density was 679.8 people per square mile (263.1/km²).
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