Beech Mountain is the highest town in Eastern America and an ideal vacation spot in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. Our elevation (5,506 feet) sets us apart 12 months a year.
Summer temperatures hover in the 60s and 70s and rarely exceed 79 degrees, creating an ideal setting for: hiking, mountain biking, trail running, golfing, fishing, or relaxing.
Winter brings an average snowfall of 84.6 inches and transforms Beech Mountain into a wonderland for: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding.
Come for a visit and see why Beech Mountain is "North Carolina's Coolest Town."
Cyclists Enjoy the Best of Three Worlds on Beech
Forget the best of both worlds. On Beech Mountain, cyclists get the best of three worlds.
Beech offers a trifecta of biking/cycling options: (1) Road cyclists have 51 miles of designated routes; (2) Cross-country mountain bikers have seven miles of trails in the Emerald Outback; and (3) Downhill mountain bikers have the highest lift-served park east of the Rockies!
Road Cycling - Beech Mountain’s 51 miles of bike routes have a storied history. They were once the final stage of the Tour Du Pont, which was won twice by Lance Armstrong. Armstrong also made Beech Mountain one of his preferred training grounds prior to winning his first Tour de France title.
The main climb ascends 1,400 feet in just over three miles. It is one of many rides for advanced cyclists. There are also options for less advanced cyclists, with routes for those content to cruise along with lesser changes in altitude.
Cross Country Mountain Biking - The Emerald Outback @ Beech Mountain features about seven miles of trails that range in elevation from 4,700-5,400 feet, giving the park the distinction of being among the highest such venues on the East Coast. There’s a nice combination of single track, double track and gravel road trails traversing the mountaintop, all accessible from a trail head in the town of Beech Mountain and a second trailhead at the end of North Pinnacle Ridge Road.
Buckeye Recreation Area is a North Carolina Mountain Birding Site
Approximately 127 bird species can be found on Beech Mountain throughout the year. Because of this great abundance of species, the High Country Audubon Society has recognized the Buckeye Lake Recreation Area as one of two “hot spots” in the area.
Birding enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the Buckeye Lake Recreation Area, as well as a number of other areas on the mountain. Many of Beech Mountain’s natural bird habitats are easily accessible thanks to the town's extensive network of trails.
Some trails - such as the Pond Creek Trail - even have interpretative guide stations at which you can stop to learn about the animals and flora/fauna of Beech Mountain.
To pick up a free birding checklist, drop by the Beech Mountain Visitors Center at 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway.
Fishing is a popular family activity during a visit to Beech Mountain.
The town has two small lakes that are stocked with trout by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, as well as a handful of mountain streams. Two of those streams - Buckeye Creek and Pond Creek - are part of the High Country Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Trail.
Most families opt for fishing at either Buckeye Lake, which offers fishing year round, or Lake Coffey, which allows fishing from the first Saturday in April through the end of February. These two lakes receive a large infusion of brown, rainbow and brook trout each spring from NC Wildlife. Lake Coffey also featured a handicap-accessible pier that juts out 48 feet into the lake.
Fishing licenses are required for anyone over the age of 16 and are available for purchase on Beech Mountain at Fred’s General Mercantile Store. Fishing equipment and bait may be purchased there also. For those over 16 who prefer not to purchase a one-year license from the state, you can opt for a three-day Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license for just $5, but it can only be used to fish in Buckeye Creek and Pond Creek.
Each June, the Town of Beech Mountain hosts the Kiddo Fishing Derby at Lake Coffey, which provides a day of fun and prizes for kids 12 and under.
More fishing options are available nearby, including the North Toe River in Newland and Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk.
Beech Mountain, known for its spectacular views and cool temperatures, offers an equally spectacular and cool golfing experience.
The 18-hole championship layout at Beech Mountain Club is one of the highest-altitude golf courses in Eastern America. Although a private course, this Willard Byrd-designed gem can be accessed via one of the many lodging accommodations on Beech Mountain that hold club memberships. These lodging facilities offer double-occupancy "stay & play" packages starting at $79 per person, per night with a two-night minimum.
Beech Mountain is also the only golfing destination in the Southeast to guarantee cool temperatures throughout the summer. The "Summer of 79" promises that the official high temperature on the day you play golf will not exceed 79 degrees. If it does, all golf fees are refunded.
Golfers interested in the Summer of 79 stay & play package can choose from 700-plus lodging options including inns, condominiums, chalets and vacation homes. The offer is valid for individuals and groups up to 20. And, if one round isn’t enough, golfers can play an additional round for just $60 per person, including cart.
After golf, take advantage of the other amenities at the Beech Mountain Club, including tennis, outdoor heated swimming pool, fine dining and summer day-camp programs. Come play Beech Mountain Club, one of the premier golf courses in the High Country of North Carolina.
Swimming is available in the beautiful outdoor pool at the Beech Mountain Club, which is open to Beech Mountain owners and renters and their guests. The heated pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
There are two great options for tennis players in Beech Mountain.
At Beech Mountain Club, owners and renters of Beech Mountain property and their guests enjoy the High Country’s premier tennis facilities. The club boasts 10 Har-Tru composition clay courts, including a center court stadium with seating for more than 100 spectactors. Three teaching professionals are on staff for individual lessons, youth clinics and tennis camps.
For adventure seekers and scenery admirers, Beech Mountain’s nearly 30 miles of hiking trails offer access to the mountain’s true beauty, taking you through old-growth forest, over old logging roads, and beside a railroad grade that once carried wood harvested on Beech Mountain.
Beech has hiking for all levels. Take an easy stroll through in-town woods with the family, or test yourself on longer trails that lead to waterfalls and scenic visitas. If you really want a challenge, take a multi-mile hike through 1,000 feet of elevation change. You’ll see wildlife, waterfalls, picturesque lakes, and panoramas showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina.
Beech also offers guided hikes throughout the year, including twice monthly in summer. These hikes rotate among the town's 10 marked trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. There’s also a paved, handicap-accessible trail around Lake Coffey.
The biggest hiking news in recent years has been the addition of the Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain. This trail system is located near the very top of the mountain and features nearly seven miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and trail running. Scroll down to see more information on great Blue Ridge Mountain hiking in the Emerald Outback.
Take your mountain biking to new heights in Eastern America's highest town.
Riders have their choice of 12 trails in the town of Beech Mountain. The trails tally more than 18 miles and are open year round, weather depending. Some trails are located in the Emerald Outback at the top of the mountain, while others are part of a trail system weaving into and out of town.
As you can see from the chart below, the trails offer a variety of difficulty and terrain. Most of them are easily accessible from the many lodging options available in this ski resort town.
Another option for riders is open from early June through late September. During this time frame, Beech Mountain Resort operates a downhill biking park on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The Beech Mountain Resort bike park has multiple downhill trails that traverse the ski slopes, and all of the resort's trails are served by the ski lift. Riders can load their bikes on special trays that are added to the lift and then hop on a regular chair behind their bikes.
Mountain bikers from all over the nation have found their way to Beech Mountain over the years. The resort twice hosted USA Cycling's Mountain Bike Gravity Nationals (2012, 2013) and the Emerald Outback teamed up with the resort's trails to host the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Biking National Championships in 2013 and 2014.
The town even has a bike wash located in the Emerald Outback parking lot across from the visitors center.
Trout anglers have multiple options on Beech Mountain. Two streams - Buckeye Creek and Pond Creek - are part of the High Country Mountain Heritage Trout Water Trail. The trail features those two Beech Mountain streams, along with a nice stretch of the North Toe River in nearby Newland.
The Mountain Heritage Trout Water (MHTW) program is all about convenience. It allows North Carolina residents and non-residents to fish in MHTW streams simply by purchasing a three-day license for just $5. Anglers who already have a statewide fishing license do not need the special MHTW three-day license.
Buckeye Creek is a hatchery-supported stream (open first Saturday in April through last day of February) that flows out of Buckeye Lake, with nearby parking available at the town's Buckeye Recreation Center. Buckeye Creek has some nice pools and riffles as it flows out of Buckeye Lake, and further downstream are several good fishing areas below a waterfall. It is stocked annually with brown, rainbow and brook trout.
Pond Creek is designated catch-and-release single hook artificial lures only by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Parking for Pond Creek is available off Lakeledge Road at Lake Coffey. Pond Creek has a longer stretch of available water than Buckeye Creek. It is inhabited by native brook trout.
Other options on Beech Mountain are Lake Coffey and Buckeye Lake, two small lakes stocked annually by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Lake Coffey is designated as delayed harvest trout waters, while Buckeye Lake is designated hatchery supported. Both receive a large annual infusion of brown, rainbow and brook trout. Anglers need a regular North Carolina inland license to fish in those lakes.
ce skating is a great winter sports option for visitors to Beech Mountain.
The centerpiece of Beech Mountain Resort's alpine village is a 7,000-square-foot ice rink that is open daily during the winter season. Ice skating at Beech Mountain Resort is fun for all ages and skill levels, and it's value-priced, too. A two-hour session is just $15 per person, and that includes skate rentals.
Skating provides an ideal winter break from skiing and snowboarding, or it can be the main reason for visiting the ski resort.
After your skating session concludes on the open-air rink, make sure to check out the surrounding shops & eateries. Also nearby are the Beech Mountain Brewing Co. and the Beech Tree Bar and Grille.
If you're looking for the best snow skiing in North Carolina, Beech Mountain is the place.
Beech Mountain Resort (Ski Beech) is the highest ski area in the eastern United States. It offers 17 slopes on 98 skiable acres with plenty of runs for every skill level. And with a vertical drop of 830 feet and more than 84 inches of annual snowfall, Beech Mountain Resort stands out as the premier ski resort in the South.
Over the last several years, the resort has invested millions of dollars to enhance its snowmaking capabilities and add dozens of high-tech fully automated snow guns that can blow in large amounts of snow in a hurry.
Resort facilities have been updated and renovated as well, including the View Haus lodge, Beech Tree Bar & Grill and the shops in the Alpine Village at the base of the slopes. The fleet of rental skis and snowboards has been upgraded, while a new terrain park was added for the 2016-17 season, providing a dedicated facility for snowboarders and freestyle skiers. The relocation of the old terrain park to its new location opened up valuable space in the resort core for skiers.
Other changes that have enhanced the skiing experience at Beech Mountain include the removal of an outdated chairlift, an upgraded lighting system and the repositioning of permanent snow guns to better serve the primary slopes.
The popular youth sledding hill in the Town of Beech Mountain is open daily, weather permitting, from early December through early March. The hill provides free sledding for children 12 and under.
Sledding conditions are usually favorable thanks to Beech Mountain’s average annual snowfall of nearly 90 inches, plus a snow gun for making the white stuff when Mother Nature isn’t.
The sledding hill is located next to the Visitor Center at 403 Beech Mountain Parkway in the heart of Beech Mountain. Hours of operation are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and select holidays.
It’s operated by the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department with safety personnel on duty. Plastic sleds are required. Folks may bring their own, or they are available for rent or purchase at three stores within walking distance of the sledding hill.
Parking is available across the street near the Brick Oven Pizzeria (which serves hot chocolate), while Wi-FI and warm restrooms are available in the Visitor Center. People are encouraged to call (800) 468-5506 to receive live updates on sledding conditions.
“We provide real-time updates from the sledding hill,” says Beech Mountain tourism director Kate Gavenus. “All we have to do is look out the window."
Parents are strongly encouraged to supervise their children, and are allowed to ride with younger kids.
As snowboarding has increased in popularity, Beech Mountain has kept pace with that growth. That includes the recent addition of a Burton Learn-to-Ride Center with state-of-the-art equipment and expert instruction.
The resort maintains two terrain parks. The Meadows Terrain Park is for beginning & novice snowboarders, while advanced boarders flock to the Powder Bowl Terrain Park.
The Powder Bowl includes natural and man-made terrain, including half-pipes, grind rails, and a host of jumps with landing areas. Likewise, snowboarders are encouraged to ride all of the mountain’s runs and explore the challenging and adventurous terrain at Beech Mountain Resort.
The resort has one of the Southeast's best freestyle terrain specialists in Ric "Fish" Wilkinson. Ric is known for both his design acumen and creativity. He's constantly adding, moving and tweaking features to keep the snowboarding experience top-notch at Beech Mountain Resort.
The Town of Beech Mountain has added snowshoeing to its list of activities for visitors.
Snowshoes are available from the Beech Mountain Parks & Recreation Department for use on 30 miles of town-maintained trails.
The department has a dozen pairs of snowshoes which can be checked out, free of charge, for a half day. Folks also have the option of arranging a guided snowshoe excursion with a member of the recreation department staff.
Beech Mountain has an extensive trail system available for snowshoeing. The level of difficulty ranges from easy to moderate to strenuous. Experienced snowshoers might consider the Emerald Outback trails at the top of the mountain.
Meanwhile, another snowshoeing option is the 1/3-mile walking track surrounding the Buckeye Recreation Center.
There’s another way to get out and enjoy the snow on Beech Mountain this winter. Beech Mountain Resort has recently added a state-of-the-art snowtubing park.
The lighted park sits adjacent to the ice skating rink in the ski resort village and features long runs with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park's hours are: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.
With the addition of snowtubing, guests now have a full complement of activities to enjoy at the highest ski resort east of the Rockies. Beech Mountain Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowtubing.
Snowtubing guests are not required to have a lift ticket. Sessions begin every two hours and last for one hour and 45 minutes. The cost is $25 weekdays and $30 on weekends and holidays. There will be 6-8 lanes in operation and three high-tech SMI Super PoleCat snow guns are in place to ensure plenty of snow on the runs. Must be 42 inches or taller to ride.
The runs themselves stretch to 750 feet in length, including long runoffs to provide maximum enjoyment. A new Magic Carpet conveyor lift quickly transports tubers back to the top.
“We did our research in regard to what we wanted. We had a good piece of property that is in a central location,” said resort general manager Ryan Costin. “We didn’t want to put it in an obscure, off-site location because we wanted to keep people in the village and create a unifying atmosphere in the resort village. Everything came together well and we feel it will be a quality product for our guests.”
Once people finish tubing, the convenient location in the village gives them the option to ice skate, visit the shops, warm up with a cup of java at the coffee house, visit the resort’s brewery or enjoy at meal at the newly-remodeled Beech Tree Bar & Grille.