The short hike to Beacon Heights along the Blue Ridge Parkway is big on scenery! Located near Grandfather Mountain, the half mile trail takes you up to a broad summit of multiple rock faces with panoramic views. The trail is nine miles from the main entrance of Sugar Mountain, and it’s a top stop along our recommended Blue Ridge Parkway Loop Drive. Find the small parking area at Milepost 305.2 – south of the intersection of US Highway 221.
From the parking area, follow the trail uphill that gains about 150 feet in elevation. In about two tenths of a mile, the Tanawha Trail forks to the left – the starting point of a 13-mile trail north to Price Lake. Go right for Beacon Heights. Nearer the summit, the Mountain To Sea Trail forks off to the right. Go left to reach another fork by a bench.
At the bench, go right to see the first broad rock summit with endless views into the Piedmont valleys and to the peaks of Table Rock and Hawksbill at Linville Gorge.
Return to the bench at the trail fork, and take a right to continue up to the highest point via a stone staircase. Find plenty of photo and picnic spots at an elevation of 4,340 feet. Don’t forget the sunscreen on summer days. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Directions from Sugar Mountain
Take the full Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Loop Drive or drive directly to Beacon’s Height by turning right out of Sugar Mountain’s main entrance. At the stoplight, turn right onto NC 105. At the next stoplight, turn left onto US 221 North. Follow signs for the Blue Ridge Parkway South, and find the parking area on the left after driving a very short distance.