The flat and easy Pink Beds Loop is an educational, fun hike for the entire family that includes active beaver dams, one of the best examples of a Southern Appalachian bog along with wildlife clearings and nearby mountain views.
“Pink Beds” is a historical name that refers to the sea of pink blooms the settlers could see from the Pink Beds Valley on the surrounding mountainsides when they cleared the area, but the view has been lost since the area was reforested. Still, this is a pleasant stroll looking for wildflowers and mushrooms in the spring and summer.
Hike the trail clockwise or counterclockwise. The south side of the loop, where you’ll pass through the bog and see the beaver dams, follows the South Fork of the Mills River and is open to foot traffic only. Despite several footbridges expect wet feet in rainy weather.
The north side of the loop, a little higher and drier, follows an old road and has several wildlife clearings at the western end that reveal views of the nearby mountain ranges. Camping is not allowed in the wildlife fields, and mountain biking is permitted from Oct 15 – Apr 15.
At the far (eastern) end of the loop, a spur trail of 0.8 miles goes to the Wolf Ford gauging station, which is on the South Fork of the Mills River near the end of FS #476 (Wolf Ford Road).
An intersecting trail, Barnett Branch (FS #618), crosses this trail near its middle, and offers additional loop hike opportunities. Bikes are not allowed on Barnett Branch Trail.
Pisgah National ForestFeatures:
Length: 5.7 milesDifficulty: EasyUsage: HeavyTrail condition: ExcellentIntersecting Trails: Barnett Branch #618 (foot traffic only)Dog Friendly: Dogs must be on leash in developed recreational areas.Wheelchair Accessible: NoSeasons: Hiking year-round. Mountain biking on north loop permitted Oct 15 - Apr 15.Restrooms: Yes, at Pink Beds Picnic Area
From Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn right (north) onto US 276. Drive about 10 miles to the Pink Beds Picnic Area, just beyond the Cradle of Forestry in America and its Forest Discovery Center. Trail begins at far corner of Pink Beds parking area.