Beech Mountain NC is one of the top destinations for winter skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and ice skating in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But there are many more things to do in Beech Mountain NC beyond just skiing, especially during the warmer months.
During our visits to Beech Mountain NC, we worked with the Visitor Center, who really opened our eyes to all the great things to see and do during our visits.
Beech Mountain offers mountain biking, fishing, hiking trails, great restaurants, shopping, and more.
We have spent quite a bit of time in Beech Mountain, exploring the town and all that it has to offer. Based on our own personal experience in Beech Mountain, here are our top picks for the best things to do in Beech Mountain NC when visiting.
Disclosure: We were invited by Beech Mountain TDA and meals and activities were complimentary; however, all opinions, information, and photos are our own and they did not ask us to influence our thoughts, comments, or the content of this article. All opinions are our own - we believe in putting our readers first.
Things to do in Beech Mountain NC
Whether you love great food, following the yellow brick road, exploring the mountains, winter fun, or just relaxing and enjoying the incredible views, Beech Mountain NC delivers! Let's explore all the great things that we've done during our visits to Beech Mountain.
Here are our top 15+ picks for the very best things to do in Beech Mountain NC:
Land of Oz
Land of Oz is located in Beech Mountain, and is an attraction built in the 1960s, and operated from 1970 to 1980.
From 1985 and 1988, sections of the park were demolished because of excessive vandalism and decay. This demolition included the Emerald City and the only ride ever at the park, the 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 along your journey through the Land of Oz.
We've have visited both events during the 4 times we've visited Land of Oz, with our most recent to Autumn in Oz 2023.
We love visiting the Land of Oz and Beech Mountain each year, and look forward to attending again next year!
>> Be sure to check out our complete guide to Land of Oz for more information!
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. 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 biking, 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, then bike down one of the many trails, full of jumps, twists and turns.
Be sure to grab some drinks and food at the 5506' Sky Bar at the top of the lifts. They offer a full bar, full views, and great food as well. The views from the Sky Bar deck are incredible.
During our trips, we've enjoyed riding the lifts to the top, seeing the incredible views, and hanging out at the 5506' Sky Bar.
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 round trip out to Buckeye Creek Falls (more information below). The hike was really pretty, and creek-side 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 for 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, Buckeye Creek Recreation Center is top-notch, and we really enjoyed exploring the park, hiking to the waterfall, and kayaking on the beautiful lake.
Watch the Sunset at Sunset Park
Located on the far side of the mountain from the main town of Beech 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 (hence the name!).
During our first night visiting Beech Mountain in 2022, we headed up to view the sunset after having dinner, and the view and sunset were incredible.
One note if you visit, the address is: 313-315 N Pinnacle Ridge Road, 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, then around the backside and up to the overlook.
Hike the Emerald Outback
The Emerald Outback is located at the top of Beech Mountain and near the Land of Oz theme park. The Emerald Outback (Emo) offers several different trails to explore that range in difficulty from easy to moderate.
The Emerald Outback was part of the original Land of Oz theme park, but has now been split off into a separate recreational facility.
Emo is a great place for families, with plenty of places to stop and take in the views of Grandfather Mountain and other nearby peaks.
Trails are color-coded, and a trail map is at the entry area to the Emerald Outback, and you can also pickup a paper trail map from the Beech Mountain Visitor Center (be sure to tell them Blue Ridge Mountain Life sent you).
During our most recent visit to Beech Mountain and to the Emerald Outback, we hiked up to 3 different overlooks that provided outstanding views of Land of Oz, Grandfather Mountain, and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
Specifically, we started Oz Forest trail, then jumped to Jackalope's trail, then to Wizard's way, then up the Southern Ridge Trail to the very top to see Pride Rock Overlook, Awesome Oz Overlook, and Elk River Valley Overlook. We elected to take the "bail-out trails" and come down the service road on the way down.
The area is absolutely beautiful and makes for a great wooded hike up to see incredible long distance views from rock outcroppings.
Explore the Beech Mountain Museum
Located in the town center of Beech Mountain, the Beech Mountain Museum offers lots of information and artifacts about the history of Beech Mountain, including the town itself and Land of Oz.
The museum isn't huge, but it's fun to explore. We enjoyed seeing all the original items from the original Land of Oz park. This included costumes (shown above), red slippers, the wicked witches' feet that were under the house, and much more. They also have a scale 3D model of the original park, which was interesting to see. It shows the location of the balloon ride.
Beech Mountain has an interesting railroad history as well, where much of the far side of the mountain served logging companies and railroads many years ago.
One of our favorite exhibitions was the music room, which featured historical information on the role music "played" (pun intended) in the culture and development of Beech Mountain.
There are lots of exhibits to see and many photos as well. It was all very interesting and gives you a different perspective on this historic mountain town.
Admission to the museum is free, but they ask for a voluntary donation.
Explore Lake Coffey
Lake Coffey is a small but beautiful lake located just outside of the heart of Beech Mountain. The offerings fishing, nice walking trail around the lake, and access to Lower and Upper Pond Creek Trail (mentioned above).
We discovered this pretty 2 acre lake while on our way to hike Upper Pond Creek Trail, as you drive right by it on the way down to the trailhead just below the lake.
If you enjoy fishing, Lake Coffey stocked with Trout and is designated as delayed harvest trout waters. The lake is stocked annually with brown, rainbow and brook trout. A fishing license is required and is available at Fred's General Store.
The walking trail around the lake is .25 miles and easy. Most of the trail is boardwalk, and we saw lots of people walking the loop and many had dogs with them.
We also saw several people fishing, even though the temperatures were cool the day we went.
The lake makes for a delightful adventure for both walking and fishing, or both!
Mountaineer Adventure Tower
Offering 3-stories of rope levels, the Mountain Adventure Tower offers kids of all ages lots of climbing, swinging and sliding fun.
Located just behind the Famous Brick Over Pizza Restaurant (one of our favorites in Beech Mountain), this rope tower will be a colossal hit with the kids, and is a great way to let them burn off some energy.
The tower features three different levels, each with its own unique adventure. Kids can slide down the curvy 25-foot slide from the second level to the bottom, where they can climb back up!
Hike Upper and Lower Pond Creek Trail
If you enjoy hiking, and being out in the mountains, but still not far from civilization and the town center, then Upper and Lower Pond Creek Trail will be perfect for you.
Upper Pond Creek Trail
Upper Pond Creek trail is a moderate stream side hike through a residential area of Beech Mountain. The trails is exceptionally beautiful in the fall, and the stream offers some enchanting small cascades to enjoy and photograph.
It's an out and back 2-mile hike, so you can adjust the trail length to your own needs. We hiked this trail in 2022 during a visit to Beech Mountain and really enjoyed it.
Lower Pond Creek Trail
One of our favorite trails in Beech Mountain, Lower Pond Creek Trail is strenuous due to the amount of climbing required, and the significant elevation change, but it's gorgeous and features a few waterfalls along this 1.4 mile out and back trail.
Only a few feet from the trail entrance, you see your first waterfall. You then cross a bridge and begin a fairly steep decline down the mountainside. A flowing creek will be on your left the entire way, and makes for a super pleasant hike, with lots of beautiful cascades and rock out croppings. There is even a deck about 1/2 way down where you can sit, rest and enjoy the creek views.
At the end is a medium-sized and beautiful waterfall that flows into a large pool. The setting is beautiful, making the hike well worth it.
This trail is strenuous and for good reason. There are boulders to climb up and down, lots of roots to navigate over, and the elevation gain on the way back out is pretty steep.
Trailheads for both trails are located just below Lake Coffey. Just drive by the lake on the road, and head down the gravel road to the right towards the woods.
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!
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.
We really enjoyed browsing the store and stopped several times during our visits to get various items we needed. Freds always had everything we were looking for.
We've also enjoyed both breakfast and lunch at Fred's Deli on multiple visits. The food is prepared fast and is great.
You'll definitely want to visit Fred's General Mercantile while in town.
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 tried 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 quirky.
If you enjoy driving, exploring, and seeing unfamiliar sights, the Barn Quilt trail will make for a fun adventure for you.
Hike to Buckeye Creek Falls
Until our hike down to Buckeye Creek Falls in 2022, we did not know that Beech Mountain had beautiful waterfalls! So when we rounded the corner, and saw the beauty of Buckeye Creek Falls, we were shocked.
The trailhead to Buckeye Creek Falls is located just a short distance from the main parking area at the Buckeye Recreational Center. This loop trail is rough in spots and has some elevation gain, but the reward is worth the hike.
Buckeye Creek Falls is a medium-sized and beautiful waterfall, with a nice wooden bridge that spans the creek directly in front of the waterfall, making for a great photo and viewing location.
Beech Mountain and hiking have been associated and linked back to the early days of the town's 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 strenuous climbs in the southern United States. The ride up was made 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. Not all trails are mountain bike friendly, but several of them are, and they are clearly marked at the trail, and on the trail map.
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. We really enjoyed watching all the mountain bikers shoot down the trails as we were riding up on the ski lifts to Land of Oz.
Enjoy the Views and Scenery
The main road through Beech Mountain NC is Beech Mountain Parkway. The road offers several incredible views, with one 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.
Visit Nearby Elk River Falls
Elk River Falls is about a 30 minute drive from Beech Mountain and is 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. 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.
Because of the 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.
Final thoughts on Things to do in Beech Mountain NC
No matter what time of year you plan to visit, Beech Mountain NC has many great things to do that will make your trip unforgettable.
Whether you're looking for outdoor activities like hiking and camping, or prefer more leisurely activities such as relaxing and enjoying the incredible scenery or casting a line, there's something here for all kinds of mountain adventurers.
Explore Beech Mountain NC and find out why it's one of North Carolina's best-loved mountain destinations.