Darrell and I hiked to Beauty spot many years ago when we were dating, but the first time we hiked on this trail was when our youngest was 3. It was one of his first hikes out of the hiking backpack that he hiked a significant portion of the trail himself. We still stopped and carried him quite a few times that day. During those early days, the biggest advice I can give is to be sure you leave yourself extra time for multiple stops and snacks. That still rings true for our boys today to an extent, but trails took us significantly longer when they were under 5 years old.
Old pic on the left, 2020 on the right. I love looking back at these early hiking days.
GPS took us right to the Beauty Spot parking area but there is no trail head sign. You do see the Appalachian Trail white trail blazes right from the beginning to help you know you are in the right spot. We briefly met someone at the trailhead who was ‘”through hiking” the A.T. which was such a cool experience for the boys and us!
The trail is mostly uphill on the way to the beauty spot bald. There are a few flat areas interspersed and a downhill around .8- 1 mile.
There are some beautiful views along the way, especially when some of the leaves have fallen to give you a clear line of sight.
You will cross a road approximately half way up to Beauty Spot.
Before you get to the main overlook area, you will go up and down a few grassy balds.
At Beauty Spot, you will see areas where people have set up camp fires and you can see a parking area off in the distance.
The last few times we have been to Beauty Spot have been in winter and fall. This would be a gorgeous hike to do in June when the Rhododendrons bloom because the trail is lined with them on both sides in multiple spots.
We did do this hike with our youngest when he was 3 years old, but we had zero expectations for him and ultimately carried his pack and carried him quite a few times as well. Every child is different, but for our family, there was a huge difference in our youngest’s ability to navigate this trail at 5 (almost 6) years old with a lot more hiking experience under his belt. Even now, we took LOTS of rest breaks and dished out tons of encouragement along the way. The sustained incline makes it challenging for little ones so keep that in mind. As always, you know your child and their experience/abilities best.
Beauty Spot is definitely worth the climb! Not much can beat those breathtaking East TN/NC mountain views.
I shared this poem on my Instagram post for this hike and just love it so much. It absolutely struck a chord with me in light of the many heavy events of this year.
The Peace of Wild Things
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”