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Beaver Lake Trail & Bird Sanctuary: A Hidden City Oasis

Don’t miss Beaver Lake in Asheville, NC, especially if you are looking for an after-dinner or lunch walk. You can stroll the 2-mile Beaver Lake Trail and Bird Sanctuary while spying wildlife in the heart of North Asheville.

When we first moved to Asheville, NC, we kept hearing about this gorgeous lake with walking trails. We had to find it.

Before our movers even pulled into the driveway, we landed at our Asheville oasis: Beaver Lake Trail and Bird Sanctuary.

Who knew that in the heart of North Asheville we’d find a private lake that the public could walk? Within the Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail, you can also enter the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.

The Bird Sanctuary is a donation-based, 8-acre property managed by a chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Serene Beaver Lake Trail is perfect for a light and easy walk or a picnic on the grass under a shaded tree. You’ll love the crisp blue water and bird homes along the way.

There is even a Free Little Library and benches to sit on. Don’t miss the church steeple hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Below, find all of the details about this more hidden and lesser-known local lake. We’ll tell you where to park, what to pack, what to expect, and why you should definitely take a stroll at Beaver Lake.

Heck, you might even see us there. I always recommend Beaver Lake after dinner at Chiesa or Plant.

Also remember that this is Beaver Lake, Asheville and not in one of the other 50 States — it’s a pretty common name. Let’s get started!

Read more about All Of Asheville’s Hiking Trails.

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Trail Asheville NC with blue lake, mountains and fall foliage
Beaver Lake Trail and Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary are our regular go-to spots as local Asheville residents. We love seeing the birds, taking a scenic walk, and having a picnic. Just because we live in the city doesn’t mean that there aren’t hidden gems filled with pure nature.

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Looking for a place to stay in Asheville? We got you!

Where Is The Beaver Lake Trail?

Beaver Lake Trail Asheville in spring with white blossom trees and a clear green gray lake with clouds
In the spring, the Beaver Lake Trail has beautiful blossoming trees. If you look closely, under the tree you can see the words “Beaver Lake” spelled out.

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary and the lake itself are extremely easy to find. I’m not sure why, but people always ask if Beaver Lake Trail is open, too. Yes!

Sometimes parts of the trail are shut down for maintenance or flooding, but you can normally still enjoy most of the lake. Please know that there are no restrooms here.

Four-acres of Beaver Lake are owned by The Lake View Park Commission, but anyone can respectfully walk here from dawn to dusk.

So, how do you access Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary and Trail?

If you enjoy Beaver Lake, you may also love Shimmering Lake Louise In Weaverville.

Tree inside Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Trail
Throughout the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, you will find benches and places to sit with beautiful views of the water and birds.

From Downtown Asheville, NC:

Coming from the downtown area, if you drive down Merrimon Ave. toward North Asheville, you’ll pass all of the yuppie grocery stories on your left — Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, etc.

As you slope down the hill after the big intersection, you’ll pass the North Asheville Library, which resembles a log cabin. Right before the big turn, on your left, you can park at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.

Parking is donation-based at this lot. You’ll also see a golf course on your right.

You may continue driving a tad further down Merrimon Ave. and park in two more gravel lots before completely passing Beaver Lake.

Coming From South Of Asheville

Take Exit 5A from I-240 West. Turn right and follow the directions above. (I-26 gets you here, too.)

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Who Will Enjoy Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary and Beaver Lake Trail?

Purple flower at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
Don’t miss the beautiful flowers in the spring and summer throughout the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.

Walkers & Runners: Dog Policies At Beaver Lake, Asheville

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is for everyone with the exception of your dogs. They will scare the birds and wildlife.

However, you can walk the Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail with your dog BUT you need a permit. The warden enforces this.

Because Beaver Lake is technically privately owned but open to everyone, they charge for pooches. You will find dog stations for bags and trash around the Beaver Lake Trail.

You can learn more about obtaining a dog permit, fishing/boating, and Beaver Lake rules here.

Bird Watchers

Of course, Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is especially grand for birdwatchers. You will find signs posted throughout the sanctuary identifying birds and wildlife.

I am not a real birder so take this with a grain of salt, but you’ll see hawks, osprey, herons, vultures, kites, sparrows, woodpeckers, ducks, wrens, swallows, warblers, and bluebirds. There are a lot of bird species here.

You’ll also see fish and turtles in the water. You can catch birds on the Beaver Lake Trail, too, but they are more spread out versus the sanctuary.

On the first Saturday of seasonal months, you may take a guided Audubon Society tour. Information about those bird tours can be found on the Blue Ridge Audubon Society (formerly Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society) website here.

Save This Post For Later

Beaver Lake Trail and Bird Sanctuary Asheville Pinterest Pin with image of Beaver Lake and a tufted titmouse bird
Headed to Asheville, NC? Save this post about Beaver Lake Trail and Bird Sanctuary for later on Pinterest. I always recommend making a Pinterest board with all of your Asheville travel planning ideas.

When Is The Best Time To Walk The Sanctuary & Beaver Lake Trail?

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Asheville Picnic table with vase with red flowers
Hidden along the Beaver Lake Trail behind the sanctuary, discover this romantic picnic table.

If you are looking for birds, you want to arrive in the early AM. Late spring and early fall are good birding seasons.

Personally mid-morning or early evening are our favorite times to walk Beaver Lake Trail. In the summer, afternoons are a tad oppressive here.

Don’t miss these Fabulous Picnic Locations Across Asheville.

How Much Time Can You Spend At Beaver Lake?

Beaver Lake Asheville NC red tree in front of the blue lake
Beaver Lake Trail is especially gorgeous in the fall. This is the view from the 2-mile walk that follows the perimeter of the lake. You will find spots to sit on the ground, tie up a hammock, or hang out on a bench. We usually sit under a tree with a blanket and a book.

The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is only about a .5 mile loop on a boardwalk. The wood is slippery when wet.

The Beaver Lake Trail is a little under 2 miles and consists of a dirt trail with some roots sticking up and mud. The trail is pretty gentle and flat.

We usually visit for an hour or so unless we have a picnic blanket. Then, we bring lunch and a good book until, quite frankly, someone needs to pee.

You can always stop at Cecelia’s Food Truck for some to-go grub.

Loving Beaver Lake? Don’t miss these Beautiful Asheville Parks & Gardens.

More Attractions Near Beaver Lake In Asheville, NC

Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail and Bird Sanctuary Asheville North Carolina lake with trees and Blue Ridge Mountains
How can you resist this scene at Beaver Lake? This view never gets old for us.

There is so much fun to be had in North Asheville. Of course, downtown is less than 10-minutes away.

If you are looking for a few things to do closer to Beaver Lake, though, see our recommendations below. Also, don’t miss our Ultimate List Of Asheville, NC Things To Do→

Grab Ice-Cream at The Hop (Merrimon Ave. Location)

We love The Hop, and yes, they have lactose-free and vegan options. The Merrimon Ave. location is a local spot. Address: 640 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC.

Botanical Gardens At Asheville

If you love parks and gardens, don’t miss the Asheville Botanical Gardens which are 8-minutes away from the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. Located on the UNC-Asheville campus, parking and entrance are free.

Discover 10-acres of protected, rare, and endangered wildflowers. You’ll walk easy nature trails over beautiful bridges into wide-open spaces.  Address: 151 W T. Weaver Boulevard, Asheville, NC.

Ginger’s Revenge & Zillicoah Beer Company

One of our favorite breweries on the French Broad River, find Zillicoah Beer Company. You can also hit up Ginger’s Revenge before or after. Zillicoah is located at 870 Riverside Drive.

River Arts District

If you enjoy urban art, shops, and strolling down the French Broad River, don’t miss the River Arts District. Discover artists’ studios, endless and colorful murals, hidden shops, Wedge Brewing (two locations), pleb winery, and restaurants. You may also head over to the French Broad Park or hit up one of the river tubing spots here.

North Asheville/Montford Restaurants

If you are hungry, a few of our favorite places to eat around North Asheville and Beaver Lake include: Cecilia’s Kitchen & Food Truck (crepes), Zen Sushi or Mr. Sushi, Chiesa (upscale Italian dinner), and Plant (vegan dinner).

Now that you are closer to Woodfin and in North Asheville, Ginger’s Revenge is located about 8-minutes driving from Beaver Lake. They brew boozy ginger beer, which is gluten-free and 95% organic. Find Ginger’s Revenge at 829 Riverside Drive.

See our Top Places To Stay in Asheville.

Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on, too.

Save This Post On Beaver Lake For Later

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary north Asheville with fall leaves and picnic table with vase and red flowers
Looking for things to do in Asheville, North Carolina? Why not visit the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary and Trail? Save this post for later on Pinterest.

Have You Been To Beaver Lake? What Other Asheville Parks & Gardens Do You Love?

Do you have places in Asheville that you love that are an oasis from the busy city? Have you been to the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary or walked the Beaver Lake Trail? What did you think? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.

If You Love Beaver Lake, You May Also Enjoy These Asheville Things To Do:

Picnic At Botanical Gardens At Asheville
Hike At The NC Arboretum

Prettiest Gardens & Parks Around Asheville
Scenic Picnic Areas In Asheville & The BRP
Best Things To Do In Asheville
Head Next Door To Weaverville

Even More Hiking Around Asheville:

Best Hikes Near Asheville By Season & Difficulty
Beautiful Winter Hikes In And Around Asheville


Friday 14th of August 2020

Definitely adding this to my next Asheville trip.


Tuesday 18th of August 2020

Beaver Lake is gorgeous. You'll love it!