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Hiking, National Parks & Forests, Nature Lovers, Outdoor Activities

Pink Beds Trail Loop


Pink Beds Trail Loop
Length: 5 miles
Rating: Easy
Dogs: On Leash
Facilities: Picnic Area
A beautiful, flat, loop hike in a forest that was one of the first to ever be managed through modern forestry techniques, earning it the nickname “The Cradle of Forestry in America.” This hike features rushing creeks, beaver dams, mountain bogs, native wildflowers and is great for a family hike. The Pink Beds trail occasionally crosses the river and its tributaries on bridges, boardwalks, or footlogs all the way around the loop. One even makes innovative use of a huge fallen tree! Footing is generally good, though there are lots of roots in places. Your feet may get wet during rainy periods. Just a 40 min drive from Waynesville, grab breakfast at Trailhead or Firefly before you head out for the day or come back and enjoy a beer at Boojum or Frog Level Brewery.

Swing by our Visitor Center in Maggie Valley if you’d like to purchase a Pisgah Ranger District Map showing this trail and other great trails in the area.

Trail Insights:

  • Kid Friendly, Dog Friendly, Bike Friendly (on some parts).
  • The north side is closed to bikes from April 16 through October 14.
  • Trail begins on gated road to the left of the parking area beside the map. Cross the footbridge to the right of the road and reach a split.
  • Go right at the split and follow along South Mills River. You will continue over a series of boardwalks.
  • Once you reach the intersection with Barnett Branch trail you can choose to turn left where the trail cuts through the middle of the loop, across an older bridge & boardwalk, and end up on the other side of the loop, making a half-loop hike possible (about 3.4 miles). This is recommended if you’re short on time or have children in tow who can’t hike the entire loop.
  • If you are hiking the entire loop continue straight on the combination of Pink Beds Trail and Barnett Branch Trail and then stay left at the split to continue on Pink Beds Trail.
  • Reaching the next split, the trail to the right leads to the gauging station and parking area on FS 476. Stay left here to begin the return to the parking area.
  • Continue straight to pass the other side of the Barnett Branch trail intersection to return back to the start. If you’d like to see a waterfall located about a mile northwest on the Barnett Branch trail; turn right to see it. It’s best during raining seasons.
  • After passing through a field you will reach the fork, turn right, and climb the small hill back up to the parking area to finish the hike.

From Waynesville head southwest on N Main St toward Church St. Turn left onto US-276 S/Pigeon St and continue on US 276 S for 24 miles into the Pisgah National Forest. Look for signs on right to park at Pink Beds Picnic Area.

Share your pics with us tagging @visitncsmokies and #haynow

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