Surrounding Buckhorn Inn are 25 acres of well-maintained forest and meadows, a pond with magnificent swans and fish, and quiet walkways that include an informative, self-guided nature trail and Rachael’s Labyrinth, a circular pathway 60 feet in diameter laid out in local fieldstone in one of the Inn’s meadows. It is one of the largest meditation labyrinths in the United States.
The Buckhorn nature trail takes one to two hours to complete and has been described as moderately difficult. More species of plants are found in the Great Smoky Mountains than in any other place in the world, and a great number of these grow naturally along the trail. Many trees and shrubs are identified, among which is a rare dogwood discovered by Douglas Bebb, Buckhom Inn’s founder. He named the dogwood “Fragrant Cloud” and patented his discovery.
One section of the trail curves along the bank of a deep mountain pond. Here you can while away hours observing the frogs, carp and bass that live in these waters or feeding the handsome pair of mute swans that grace its surface. Rachel’s Labyrinth is located near the end of the trail.
In the spring, sections of the trail pass through woodland wildflowers; in the summer, sections wind through blooming meadows; in the fall, all is ablaze with colored leaves. This is a special place where the wind sings and the rabbits frolic. Each time you walk the trail you discover a new treasure.