Pink Beds is a fun little recreation and picnic area in Pisgah National Forest. The parking lot is just past Cradle of Forestry heading northwest on US 276. It’s around four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, about halfway between Brevard and Waynesville. If you’re going to use your smart device to navigate there, then get the app up and running before you get too deep into the forest. Otherwise, you’re likely to fail to get a connection.
The area features a parking lot, a recreational field, shaded shelters, and many picnic tables. There are supposedly restrooms nearby, but I didn’t see them. The 5-mile loop trail is one of the flatter hikes in all of Pisgah. If you want to squeeze in some decent miles, but don’t like a lot of elevation changes, then Pink Beds is right up your alley. That said, the term flat is relative. This is not south Florida. You will go up and down, just not the strenuous up-and-downs that are typical in the Appalachians.
If you use Verizon, you will have a connection. It’s a weak connection (1X), but a connection nonetheless.
I was halfway through the trail when a text surprisingly came through. I was listening to an audiobook (Altered Carbon—a noir detective drama set in a futuristic San Francisco) and it paused to alert me to the new message. The only other time I’ve ever had a signal in the area was at the summit of the nearby Daniel Ridge Loop & Falls, so I was a bit startled.
This trail is a lot of fun. You walk past the gate and down the gravel road to the left. In a short time, you’ll come to a fork. If you’re going to do the whole loop, then bear left. If you just want to do a short out-and-back, then go to the right so you can explore the bog bridges.
There’s really not much to say about the hike. The trail features bridges over all creek crossings so you don’t have to get your shoes wet. Mud puddles are easily avoided as well. Gentle hills make the elevation gains and losses almost unnoticeable. There are some rocky and root-ridden areas, but it’s not bad.
The casual nature of the trail lures runners and bikers, so watch out for others—especially around the wetlands where a stumble could put you and/or someone else in the murky water.
If you’re just getting into hiking, or are with very old or young people, then this is a great place to spend the day. People who want to hike can hike while others play. The only real necessity is bug spray. Because much of the area is swampy, some sections are filled with the kinds of flying insects that live to explore your eyes and ears. I used Ben’s 100 and rarely had any issues.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that I saw two piles of bear scat directly on the trail. So you might want to keep your dogs and toddlers on a leash.