Beech Mountain NC Travel Guide

Want to visit the Beech, but avoid the sand, sharks, and heat?   Visit Beech Mountain NC, the highest town in the Eastern US at 5,506 feet.   Beech Mountain NC offers incredible views and scenery, wonderful places to stay and dine at, one of the best ski resorts in the country, and so much more!

We spent a long weekend recently at Beech Mountain, while visiting the Land of Oz, and had an amazing time.   Let's go explore all that the small town of Beech Mountain NC has to offer!

Disclosure: Our visit to Beech Mountain NC for the purpose of this guide was covered by Beech Mountain TDA and Land of Oz.  Regardless of the sponsorships, all opinions and written content are our own and were not influenced in any way by any parties.    

Where is Beech Mountain NC?

Beech Mountain NC is located on the top of Beech Mountain in the "High Country" of North Carolina, not far from Boone NC, and just up the road a bit from Banner Elk NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

History of Beech Mountain

Development of the town of Beech Mountain NC began in the late 60s.   Harry and Grover Robbins (founder of Tweetsie Railroad) purchased land on top of Beech Mountain and created the Ski Resort, Land of Oz theme park, and a golf course, along with pool and tennis facilities.  

As part of this development, they also built roads and sewer services as well.  They later filed for bankruptcy in 1974, and the Home Owners Community took over road maintenance and sewer, and the town itself was formed 

Today, Beech Mountain is a thriving small mountain community that is a popular retreat from the summer heat and a major US skiing destination.

A Weekend Adventure in Beech Mountain NC - Our Visit and Video

We visited Beech Mountain for a long weekend recently, and here is the full video from our adventure.  We're looking forward to going back!

Things to do in Beech Mountain NC

Beech Mountain NC is well known for winter skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and skating.  But Beech Mountain has lots more to see and do as well, especially during the warming months.

During our visit, we worked with the Visitor Center who showed us lots of things to see and do while we were visiting. Things we honestly weren't even aware of.   

Here are our top picks for things to do in Beech Mountain NC when visiting.

1 - Land of Oz

Land of Oz is located in Beech Mountain, and is an attraction built in the 1960s, and operated from 1970 - 1980.  From 1985 and 1988, parts of the park were demolished due to excessive vandalism and decay.  This demolition included the Emerald City and balloon ride.  

In 1988, the park started opening for limited events, including the well-known Autumn in Oz event.   Funds from the events are put back into the park to maintain and restore it.   Each year offers a little something new.

Today, during Autumn in Oz, you get to walk along the Yellow Brick Road, see Dorothy’s house, and view the vivid red poppies as you travel to the Emerald City. Actors portray the major characters and perform many of the songs and scenes from the famous movie.  

We've visited 4 different Oz events, a Journey with Dorothy, and 3 Autumn in Oz events, with the most recent being in 2022.   Our 2022 visit was our favorite, with some of the best actors we've seen, and a new Emerald City!  We look forward to returning for 2023!

2- Beech Mountain Ski Resort

When you think of snow skiing in NC, Beech Mountain Ski Resort quickly comes to mind as one of the premium ski resorts in North Carolina, and the US in general.  The resort attracts 10s of thousands each year and provides multiple trails, lifts, tubing, ice skating, and an amazing ski village as well.

BUT, the resort isn't just for winter.  During the summer, you can ride the lift to the top for incredible views, or just hang out at the sky bar and enjoy the views.

 If you love mountain bike, Beech Mountain Resort becomes a mountain biker haven in the summer, with lots of downhill trails for riders of many skill levels.  You and your bike ride up the lift, the bike down one of the many trails, full of jumps and turns.

During our trip, we rode the lifts up to the top, enjoyed the incredible views, hung out at the sky bar, and really enjoyed watching all of the mountain bikers.

3 - Buckeye Recreation Center

Located just a short drive from the town center of Beech Mountain, is Buckeye Recreation Center and Buckeye Lake.  The Recreation Center is really nice, providing tennis courts, a baseball field, mountain biking trails, playgrounds, and walking and hiking trails.    They even have a waterfall that you can hike to!

We really enjoyed hiking the 1-mile roundtrip out to the waterfall.  The hike was really pretty, and creekside for a good portion, and the waterfall itself was just beautiful.

While at Buckeye Recreation Center, we also went kayaking.   Kayaks and Canoes are free to the public, and while the lake is small, it's really pretty and makes for some beautiful and peaceful lake time.  We really enjoyed our time on the lake, and will definitely do this again when visiting. 

Overall, the recreation center and park are top-notch, and we want to go back, do some more hiking and explore this area of Beech Mountain more.

4 - Enjoy a Sunset at Sunset Park

Located on the other side of the mountain, is a small park called Sunset Park.  The park provides limited parking, some picnic tables, and a short trail up to a small observation deck that offers incredible views, particularly for sunsets.

During our first night there, we headed up to view the sunset after having dinner, and the views were incredible.

One note if you visit, the address is: 313-315 N Pinnacle Ridge Rd, Beech Mountain, NC 28604 - If you use Google Maps, it will direct you through a private road.   You'll want to take Beech Mountain Parkway north towards and past the Ski Resort.

5 - Visit Fred's General Mercantile

One of our favorite in-town places to visit was Fred's General Mercantile.  Not only did we find the store quaint and well decorated, but it's incredibly useful as well.  The store carries many things you may need while staying in Beech Mountain.   We stopped a few times to pick up some necessities, snacks, and bottled water while in town.

Fred's has been serving delicious food, groceries, and Beech Mountain apparel since 1979.  What's amazing is that they are open 365 days a year!   We really enjoyed browsing the store, and they have everything you could need and more.   The old-time feel and decor really made it fun to explore as well.

Behind the store, in the backside Deli, Fred's serves breakfast and lunch.  For breakfast, choose from a menu of home-style cooking, large waffles, traditional platters, and continental options as well.  For Lunch. they serve soups, sandwiches, chili, salads, and more.

You'll definitely want to visit Fred's General Mercantile while in town.

6 - Follow the Quilt Trail

If you stop by the Visitor's Center, located at 403-A Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain, NC 28604 (Right next to Town Hall and the Police station), you can get tons of information on things to do, hiking trail maps, and a guide to the Beech Mountain Quilt trail.   

On our last day, we were interested in exploring the area a bit, and decided to try to find some of the barn quilts on the quilt trail.   Finding them was fun, and got us into a few areas we wouldn't have normally explored, which was fun.   Some of the "quilts" were just gorgeous as well.

Barn quilts are a fairly new art form based on the quilting craft traditions of Western North Carolina.   

Many barn quilt blocks are painted using basic geometric shapes.  These shapes and combinations of shapes represent the history of the land.  We found some to be very traditional, while others were fun and even a bit quirky.

If you enjoy driving, exploring, and seeing new sights, the Barn Quilt trail will make for a fund adventure for you.

7 - Hiking

Beech Mountain is also a great destination for those that enjoy hiking.   The Town of Beech Mountain has more than 28 miles of hiking trails, just within the town limits.   Popular trails include:

  • Upper and Lower Pond Creek - Both traverse along the banks of Pond Creek and offer beautiful creekside hiking on well maintained and wooded trails.
  • Grassy Gap Trail - This beautiful trail descends along Grassy Gap Creek to Buckeye Recreation Center. 
  • The Emerald Outback - This forested area, that used to be part of the Land of Oz, has become a popular hiking and trail running destination.  The area has 11 miles of well maintained trails, with nearly all being  above 5,000' in altitude. The trails have several overlooks facing the southward mountains. 
  • Fall Trail - This 1 mile roundtrip loop hike, in Buckeye Recreation Center takes you down to a beautiful waterfall.

We hiked both Upper Pond Creek Trail and Fall Trail, and thoroughly enjoyed both hikes - You can see them feature in our video above.   We really want to come back and hike in the Emerald Outback for the scenic views!

8 - Mountain Biking

Beech Mountain and hiking have been associated and linked back to the early days of the towns formation.   Road Cyclists can enjoy cycling on the curvy mountain rounds in and around Beech Mountain.  Highway 184 on the front side of Beech Mountain is one of the most difficult climbs in the southern United States.  The ride was made It was famous during the 1990s, and was the queen stage of the Tour DuPont.  It was also used during Lance Armstrong's recovery from cancer treatment.

Mountain bikers can enjoy the Emerald Outback trail system which has several trails with jumps, berms, and other features.  During the summer months, Beech Mountain Resort opens their downhill bike park, which is accessible via chair lift. Several competitions take place on the downhill trails each year.

9 - Enjoy the views and scenery

The main road through Beech Mountain NC is Beech Mountain Parkway.  The road offers a number of incredible views, with one in particular being just north of town.  There is a parking area, and benches.  This area provides a limited sunset view, and incredible morning views of the valley below Beech Mountain.

Near Fred's General Store is a small park area, with a beautiful Gazebo and flowers with benches, and grass to let  the kids play.

10 - Visit Nearby Elk River Falls

Elk River Falls is about a 30 minute drive from Beech Mountain and is located in Elk Park NC.  This 50 foot tall and very majestic waterfall is a sight to see, and should be on everyone's waterfall bucket list.

The hike out to the fall is short, but moderate in length.   There is also one portion of the trail that gets very close to a sheer drop to the pool below the falls.   If you are not sure footed, we would not recommend this hike.  The falls cascade down into a deep pool of water, and you can sit and enjoy the sight from the base on a large rock that is in front of the falls, and surrounding cliffs.

Due to strong currents and undertow, we do not recommend swimming  here.  Several injuries and deaths have happened.

Elk River Falls is a popular hike and waterfall, well worth the trip.

Where to stay in Beech Mountain NC

Beech Mountain NC provides many different places for you to stay overnight, including: cabins, hotels, and campgrounds as well.   Here are some of our top picks!

Hotels in Beech Mountain NC

Beech Mountain doesn't have a large number of hotels, but what they do have are very nice and offer numerous amenities, views, and are always just a short drive from all the Beech Mountain action and restaurants.

4 Seasons Beech Mountain Hotel and Condos

When we visited, we really enjoyed staying in a Condo with 4 Seasons Cedar Village.  You can see our condo featured in our Beech Mountain video above.  Our Condo was just a short drive from the main hotel and offered: Gas Fireplace, full kitchen and dining area, 2 bathrooms, 3 full bedrooms with double beds, and a really nice deck.

The 4 Seasons Hotel features a spacious lobby, with sitting areas, and a huge stone fireplace.   You'll find a game room, with:

  • Ping Pong
  • Air Hockey
  • Foosball
  • and Pool tables

There is a fitness room as well.  

4 Seasons is conveniently located close to the main area of town, with easy access to area attractions and Beech Mountain Resort. 4 Seasons also includes an excellent Mexican restaurant on site called Mi Jalisco, which we really enjoyed!

Other Hotel Options include:

Cabins near Beech Mountain NC

Beech Mountain NC offers numerous cabin rentals and condo options, all with nice amenities, views, and room for the whole family.  Here are a few of the great places where you can find just the right cabin for your Beech Mountain visit!

Where to eat in Beech Mountain NC

Beech Mountain NC has a number of great options for food.  We tried most of them during our visit, and here are our top picks!  

Holy Smokes BBQ

Excellent BBQ (some of the best we've had), and outstanding views

Fred's Backside Deli

Good food and be sure to visit the store while you're there.

Excellent authentic Mexican food with a huge menu.

Mile High Tavern

Laid-back and woodsy hangout offering pub food and a cozy atmosphere

Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria

Fun and family friendly environment with great food and service

Beech Mountain NC FAQ

What towns are closest to Beech Mountain?

The town closest to Beech Mountain in North Carolina is Banner Elk and is located just a few miles south of Beech Mountain. Banner Elk offers various amenities, including restaurants, shops, and accommodations, making it a convenient base for visitors to Beech Mountain.

Other towns in the vicinity of Beech Mountain include Elk Park, Newland, and Linville, which are all within a short driving distance.

Is Beech Mountain North Carolina a good place to live?

Beech Mountain, North Carolina is often considered a desirable place to live, particularly for those who enjoy outdoor activities and a small-town atmosphere.  

Important to note though is that Beech Mountain is a small community with limited amenities and services. The town experiences seasonal fluctuations in population, with a significant increase in visitors during peak tourist seasons. 

Do you need 4 wheel drive in Beech Mountain?

Having a four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle can be advantageous in Beech Mountain, especially during the winter months when the area receives significant snowfall. The mountainous terrain and the possibility of icy or snowy road conditions make 4WD vehicles more capable of navigating the roads safely.

While the town keeps the main roads well-maintained during the winter months, having a 4WD vehicle can provide added safety, traction and stability.  This is especially true if you live in a neighborhood or area that may have steeper or less frequently plowed roads.

With that said, it's important to note that 4WD is not an absolute requirement to live in Beech Mountain. The town's infrastructure is designed to accommodate regular vehicle traffic. 

Does Beech Mountain have a town?

Yes, Beech Mountain is an incorporated town located in Avery County, North Carolina and situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Beech Mountain is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. Beech Mountain has its own local government, including a mayor and town council, responsible for providing services and maintaining the community. The town encompasses residential areas, vacation rentals, a commercial area, recreational amenities, and other infrastructure to support its residents and visitors.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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