These boots are made for hiking…
… And they are calling out to you! If hiking is your thing, then Beech is your paradise. With the gorgeous mile high Emerald Outback trail park and several other miles of maintained trails, exploring the mountain is a thrilling activity for hikers of all ages and skill levels. Winding through the woods, reaching a waterfall, stepping over the mossy stones by the creek to wave hello to a family of deer, there’s no better place to take the stigma out the phrase, go take a hike!
Emerald Outback Trails
Hikers, and bikers, and trail runners… oh, my! Adventure seekers flock to Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain, a trail park which features more than eight miles of outstanding trails near the summit. From the Oz Forest Run to Wizard’s Way, and the other six trails in between, there’s a path for every skill set, and don’t forget to stop and enjoy breathtaking views from any of our three designated overlook areas. The park offers a visitors center, summit parking lot, restrooms and safety features, such as: LID markers, well-blazed trails, and a wilderness search and rescue team.
The Trails of Beech
“Something for everyone” is the best way to describe the many miles of designated hiking trails on Beech Mountain. Take an easy stroll through the woods or a vigorous climb, covering 2,400 feet, there’s even a quarter mile paved handicap accessible trail for those wanting a little exercise. Before the first Native Americans set foot on Beech, wild animals often followed the same routes to find water, food or the easiest path from their wooded hideaways to the open fields. So, go on… take a walk on the wild side!
Some of our favorite trails
Upper Pond Creek – 1 Mile
Easy (1 mile) – Welcome to Beech Mountain’s favorite trail. Fifteen different stations located along the trail provide interesting information about creek life, trees, animals, and wildflowers.
Each season brings change to the trail. Winter, when the ground is covered with snow, is a good time to look for animal tracks. Spring brings wildflowers, with the Trout Lily among the first to bloom. During summer, the rhododendron fill the shaded sections with gorgeous color, and when the leaves begin to fall, a walk down the trail can often scare up a wild turkey, white tail deer or grouse.
Wild Iris – 2.5 Miles
Moderate – Best described as an easy woodland trail with only a moderate elevation change. The path follows old roadbeds through the lush forests of Beech Mountain. As the site of Beech Mountain’s annual Mud Run, there are several obstacles to try (or ignore) along the way. Due to the openness of this trail, many wildflowers, shrubs and butterflies are visible during spring and summer. A trail for all seasons, Wild Iris is perfect for hiking and biking as well as skiing and snowshoeing. And be sure to bring a berry bucket during blackberry season (usually mid to late July into August).
Lower Pond Creek – 1 Mile
Moderate to strenuous – This trail offers some of Beech Mountain’s greatest natural beauty. Water cascading over rocks with many small falls and one large fall make your hike well worth the effort. Old hemlock trees reach for the sky from this gorge and there are many great spots on the rocks for a picnic or just sitting and enjoying nature at its best. While the trail is somewhat rugged and a little difficult in places, most healthy individuals in moderate shape should find it easy to navigate. And at the start of the trail, there’s a large wooden deck where you can sit and enjoy the peaceful sights of sounds of the water cascading through the rock… maybe even do a few Yoga poses, if you are feeling adventurous.
And if those don’t inspire you to put on your hiking boots, we are sure one of our other nine hiking trails will. Or perhaps, you prefer to participate in our guided hikes offered throughout the summer. For a comprehensive trail map and information on guided hikes, please contact our visitor center (828-387-9283) or the Buckeye Recreation Center (828-387-3003)
These trails welcome our leashed 4-legged friends. While enjoying your hike we ask that you practice our “Vanishing Footprint” policy. It’s easy! Just be sure to leave no evidence that you ever walked our trails. With your support we can make sure the wilderness and natural beauty of our mountain remain unharmed.