The adventure trail park known as the Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain officially opened in May 2011.
There are nearly seven miles of trails for mountain biking, trail running, hiking and winter snowshoeing. Elevations range from 4,700-5,400 feet, making it one of the highest adventure trail park on the East Coast.
Outdoor enthusiasts find a nice blend of single track, double track and gravel road trails traversing the mountaintop, all accessible from a trail head in the town of Beech Mountain, or from a second trail head located at the Summit Lot parking area.
The Emerald Outback has hosted mountain biking races, an Xterra trail race, and the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Biking National Championships in both 2013 and 2014.
Credit for building the trail park goes to the Beech Mountain Parks & Rec Department. Then-director Daniel Scagnelli conceived the idea in 2009 and led an impressive trail-building effort of mostly volunteer labor.
Overall, the trails were designed by mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners to meet the recreational demands of serious outdoor enthusiasts.
The process reclaimed a few abandoned trails and blended them into a cohesive new network of trails showcasing unique topography atop Beech Mountain. The trail system is punctuated by overlooks that offer long-range views of the North Carolina High Country - another unique feature of this unique place.
In 2014, the Town of Beech Mountain received a grant to update and improve the Emerald Outback trail system.
The renovation included widening and smoothing of trails, improving drainage, replacing signage throughout the trail park, and installing safety LID (location identification) markers to assist search teams and paramedics.