Literally, the coolest town in North Carolina is Beech Mountain. At an elevation of 5,506 feet, it's the highest town in the eastern USA. So summers are cool with prime hiking and mountain biking. Winters bring a wonderland for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding. And don't forget the brilliant fall colors that extend for weeks. In the village center, find a variety of restaurants and the beloved Fred's General Store.
If you love to ski and snowboard, explore 95 acres with 15 slopes and trails with a vertical drop of 830 feet. Their longest run is one mile. A snow tubing park is adjacent to the Alpine Village at the base of the slopes. Plus, you can snowshoe and hike on the 20-mile trail system maintained by the town of Beech Mountain (when there is natural snow cover on the ground). Read more about Beech Mountain Winter Fun.
Since temperatures seldom top 75 degrees (about 15 degrees cooler than the city of Asheville), Beech Mountain is a wonderful place for hiking, mountain biking and golf. In addition to shopping and dining, there is plenty of see and do near Beech Mountain, including Banner Elk and Grandfather Mountain. For golfers, Beech Mountain not only promises comfortable playing temperatures, it guarantees them as part of its Summer of 79° package.
Beech Mountain Hiking
Their 20 miles of designated year-round hiking trails are perfect for all skill levels - from strenuous climbs to easy strolls. If you stay the night in Beech Mountain, you can often hike directly from your inn, cabin rental or condo! Pick up a trail map and get info at the Beech Mountain Visitor Center, GPS address is 403 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mtn.
All of the designated trails are marked. Maps displayed at each trailhead are easy to follow and include trail descriptions and helpful information. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- The Emerald Outback: Nearly 7 miles of gorgeous, flowing trails, situated between 4,700 and 5,500 feet in elevation. Great for hiking and biking! The Emerald Outback offers a wealth of unique terrain and vegetation, as well as overlooks with stunning vistas of the Elk River Valley.
- Buckeye Gap Loop Trail: This 5.1-mile loop is a vigorous hike that takes you over a variety of terrain including grassy paths and old logging roads. This will test your hiking stamina and give you a great hike.
- Falls Trail: A moderate 1.5 mile loop, with a 450 feet elevation change, starts with rock steps downward, then meandering back and forth toward Buckeye Creek and the Falls.
Land of Oz Openings
Some of the most popular weekends of the year are when the former Land of Oz theme park reopens for tours. In addition to June weekend tours with Dorothy, the very popular Autumn at Oz weekend in September takes place on the mountaintop along the yellow brick road. Read more about Land at Oz.
June Family Fun Month
30 straight days of organized family activities paired with great lodging specials for families. Activities include guided hikes, movies under the stars, tours of the old Land of Oz, mountain biking lessons, pickleball, scenic chairlift rides, ATV adventure tours, discount tickets to area attractions and a whole lot more.
Beech Ski Resort
During the summer months, the popular ski slopes are transformed for many things to do:
- Chairlift: Bikers, hikers and sightseers ride to the top of the mountain on summer weekends (then you hike, bike or ride down).
- Mountain Bike Shuttles: Beech Mountain Bike Park June-August, Thursday-Sunday.
- Summer Disc Golf: This 18-hole disc golf course hosts multiple tee locations accommodating all skill levels.
- Beech Mountain Brewing Co. Taproom and Grill is open Memorial Day Weekend through October, Thursday-Sunday.
- 5,506’ SkyBar: At the top of the ski slopes is 5,506’ – a bar hosting panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a cozy, glass roundhouse. Unwind with food, drinks, snacks and the best view in the high country. Take chairlift up.
- For more details, go to the Beech Mtn site.
Beech Mountain is one of the earliest locations to find fall foliage color, usually peaking the first week of October. Stop at roadside farm stands, hike or drive the scenic roads.
You won't find all the typical hotel chains in this town. You'll find a big variety of lodging options, from inns, condos and mountaintop homes. Plus, find some of the best deals and packages in the mountains. See the current Beech Mountain Lodging Specials.
The town of Beech Mountain only has a full time population of 350 people, but the population increases to as high as 10,000 during the winter and 5,000 in the summer. There are more than 2,300 homes and condos on the mountain, so there are plenty of second homes and vacation rentals. The town began as a resort development in the 1960s. It's about 80 miles north of Asheville. Nearby is the town of Banner Elk.
Things to Do in Beech Mountain