Monday, March 30, 2009

Hike Beech Mountain - Free Guided Hikes

Did you know that the Town of Beech Mountain hosts free guided hikes for visitors throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall - and even sometimes during the Winter months? Beech Mountain is an ideal place for hiking because of its fantastic climate and its 23 miles of well-maintained (thanks to lots of volunteer work from local residents and support of town government) woodland trails. Because of its elevation, this Mile-high place has daytime temperatures that average in the mid-70s, so you can enjoy mild Spring-like weather all Summer long!

Trails on Beech are varied in both character and level of difficulty, so there are ones appropriate for every group, whether you want to just take a short and scenic jaunt with the kids to see the woods and waterfalls up close, or be challenged by the impressive elevation gain of the tougher trails with a group of experienced backpackers. (There is even a paved wheelchair-accessible trail around beautiful Lake Coffey.)

Hikes up on Beech will lead you through old growth forest, by secluded waterfalls, and perhaps (if you are quiet and move slowly and carefully) within view of a white tail deer, bobcat or red fox. On the trail, the bird watchers in your group may spot ruffled grouse or some wood ducks, plus many varieties of raptors and song birds. Those who make it up in the Springtime will be treated to the delicate beauty of the many mountain wildflowers, which the unique conditions on this Mountain make possible in the normally subtropical climate of North Carolina. You can also see how nature can quickly reclaim land marked by the demands of civilization, as your hiking guides point out traces of old logging roads, railroad lines, and abandoned homesteads, where you can still see the crumbling foundations of farm houses, with the fruit trees and domestic flowers planted there by the long-gone owners still thriving in the wilderness. Watch for black bears, since they like the apples and plums growing there too.

The first of the Season's guided hike is scheduled for April 7th, followed by one or two scheduled each month throughout the Summer and early Fall. A schedule of all the free guided hikes organized by the Town of Beech Mountain (as well as a guide to the level of difficulty for each) can be found at - or you can just call the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce to get your trail map and more specifics on each of the planned hikes.
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