Beacon Heights

A short hike beneath Grandfather Mountain with spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Ridge.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
1.2 km
Ascent
44 m
Descent
44 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.3 km
Gradient
Beacon Heights Map

Nestled beneath the mighty Grandfather Mountain, Beacon Heights is a beautiful short hike with seemingly endless views from an exposed rock face. From the parking lot, you'll begin with a view looking up towards Raven Rocks. Then the trail leads to two defined overlooks with long, sweeping views looking off onto the horizon. The nearby Grandmother Mountain can also be seen to the southwest, noted by the large broadcasting tower erected on its summit.

Description

If you're driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, Beacon Heights is the perfect way to stretch your legs and a great place to enjoy lunch with a view. It's less than 20 minutes from Blowing Rock and less than 2 hours for those traveling from Asheville. Whether you're spending the day in the area or just passing through, this beautiful overlook hike shouldn't be passed up.

Moments down the road, Stack Rock is another short hike that pairs well with Beacon Heights. Though it offers no views along the trail, a wooden staircase circles around a massive rock formation, and the dark forest floor hosts beautiful wildflowers and fungi, depending on the time of year. The hikes are also connected via the Tanawha Trail, which is part of the larger Mountains to Sea Trail.

To enjoy this hike, hit the BRP or take US-221 to where it meets the parkway. The lot can hold up to 10 vehicles, with more options nearby if it's full. There are no restrooms or facilities at the pull-off, but there is plenty of cell reception. This hike can also be enjoyed year-round, though parts of the BRP close for ice and snow during the winter. US-221, however, is treated and plowed as needed.

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area