If you travel to the town of Beech Mountain, NC and drive to the very tippy top of the town, you will find a trail. This is the Emerald Overlook of Beech Mountain.
Yes, there is a Wizard of Oz theme to this trail system. After hiking for a bit, you will come to the Awesome Oz Overlook in which you can supposedly see the old amusement park, Land of Oz. The park, which opened in the 70s and slowly fell in disrepair, is only open one weekend of the year for a limited amount of ticket holders. But I digress. We probably saw the park from the overlook, but there was no bright yellow brick road. The ever gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains were the emerald beauties of the day.
The trail system is comprised of short trails for hiking and mountain biking, however you can connect the trails for a good long hike with several overlooks. In addition to spotting a bit of Oz, you’ll be able to see the town’s ski resort. And despite being in the woods at the top of a mountain, you will still encounter private gravel roads and some really fancy houses.
We meandered through tall flowering plants, gnarly trees, and rocky spots. Deer popped out of the woods on several occasions. And we came upon several other locals including a happy little lizard and cute fuzzy caterpillar.
As with most mountain locations, I’d imagine this area might be a little difficult to get to if there’s ice or snow. The elevation was somewhere around 5,200 feet give or take 200 more here and there. Regardless, this it is likely to be magical and changing year round.