Hikers can find Grandfather Trail, a 2.4-mile ridgetop stretch, from several different trailheads. The easiest way is to purchase a ticket for Grandfather Mountain that leaves from the Top Shop or Hiker Parking lots.
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You can also reach it from the Boone Fork parking lot on the east side or from the west at the Profile Trail, off Route 105 at Banner Elk. (The latter route takes three miles in to reach the Grandfather Trail.)
While the lower part of the trail is considered a leisurely stroll, the upper climb to Calloway Peak (Watauga Viewpoint) is rated difficult and is famous for its steep rocky section.
The Grandfather Trail features some of the most technical hikes involving numerous cable-assisted and ladder-accessible areas. Also, it is recommended for only experienced hikers and climbers.
Known for the magnificent wildflowers, Grandfather Mountain contains over 16 distinct natural ecosystems. In addition, is home to 73 endangered species.
Grandfather Mountain admission fee is:
- $20 for adults
- $18 for seniors
- $9 for children
- no charge for kids under four
The Grandfather Trail is one of the oldest trails on the mountain, and Calloway Peak. Also, it sits at 5,946 feet elevation. Therefore, it is one of the highest in the Blue Mountain Ridge. This adventurous trail is worth the effort with a spectacular terrain filled with verdant forests, steep rock walls, and open meadows.
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Make sure your trip includes a visit to Grandfather Mountain’s Mile-High Swinging Bridge. While there, experience the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains in all of their splendor. The winter months offer a different setting but no less beautiful, and the less crowded, quieter venue might be the perfect destination. The weather throughout Grandfather Mountain’s park can be extreme and changes quickly, so come prepared and check the forecast frequently.
Check with the visitor center on permits and parking lot closures.