Profile Trail

HARD 112 reviews
#3 of 114 trails in

Profile Trail is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Banner Elk, NC that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.6 miles 2316 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

rocky

scramble

"West Side" of Grandfather Mountain, the Profile trail starts at trail head on Route 105 in Banner Elk, NC, and climbs almost 2000 feet to connect to the Grandfather Trail. Permits available at trail head and Mast General Store, Footsloggers and 105/184 Exxon (free). Beginning from Hwy 105 as a scenic, rolling pathway through seasonal wildflowers, this trail crosses the Watauga River and travels under a hardwood canopy for much of its length. Upper sections, beginning around Foscoe View, get steeper. There are frequent rest stops with stone benches and turnouts. The trail gets a bit muddy when wet. Shanty Spring, at 2.7 miles, marks a transition into a strenuous pathway of tumble-down rock that joins the Grandfather Trail after a climb of 0.3 miles. It makes the transition out of the hardwoods and into the Canadian fir zone of the crest area. The upper section is steep and rocky and calls for careful footwork. At the top of the Profile Trail, you reach the Grandfather trail, which you take 0.4miles further to the left to reach the highest point, Calloway Peak at 5946 feet. On the way you'll pass by beautiful Watauga View, and then climb three short ladders to reach the peak. The way down can be tough on the knees and the roots and rocks can be very slippery when wet, so take your time. This is an awesome hike on one of the most rugged mountains east of the Mississippi, and hiking conditions with the rocks and roots are more tedious than most trails out west. Reference: The official NC State Park website: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/grmo/trails.php

hiking
7 days ago

A truly spectacular hike. Definitely a hard climb in the rain. Would definitely do it again.

hiking
20 days ago

This was a fantastic hike. Challenging but not extremely difficult. It starts out moderately and becomes gradually harder. Amazing views at Watauga View and Calloway Peak, well worth the climb. Only downside for me was the constant road noise, audible even at the very top. Still enjoyed the hike immensely.

1 month ago

Great hike, definitely worth the views. Bring a bottle of water and be prepared to fill it up at the spring, it saved us!

1 month ago

Extremely fun and challenging!

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike. It is a tough hike uphill. I would disagree with a previous post about it being treacherous. The hike is definitely worth the views at the top. Don't worry about the ladders they are made of 4x4's with only three rungs and are easy to climb. We packed a lunch and ate at the top. The winds are a bit strong but you can duck into the hardwoods and escape them quickly if they are making you cold. We did see a few trail runners that were making great time. It took us about 3:45 of moving time excluding our lunch and water breaks.

1 month ago

excellent hike that we completed yesterday. the further up you go the better it gets. super high winds at the top.

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

Great hike. Gets steeper as you climb.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful and challenging hike. The real fun can be experienced by exploring the Grandfather Trail at the top of the mountain. This is one of my favorite hikes in WNC.

2 months ago

2 months ago

Awesomely awesome hike!! Loved it!!

2 months ago

Don't miss this one!

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

This is a very challenging trail NOT for the inexperienced hiker or for the faint of heart. It is moderately difficult until you get to the Shanty springs and then it is pretty much straight up and, as the write up says, "rocky" which, loosely translated means, BOULDERS. Plan on 2 + hours from Hwy 105 to the peak and, depending on your physical state at the top, an equal or greater amount of time on the way back down. And, no, it is not easier coming down. The same terrain and ascents that required superior leg strength and mobility are there on the way down with the added feature of gravity pulling you face first towards the rocks that you are trying to navigate. It is very well marked in both directions and a great experience if you are up for a full day of strenuous hiking.

2 months ago

Excellent hike:).... easy then steep, but great!.... start out early early as I did not and had to turn back at the peak after 3.1 miles and a 2k ascent.
I will return soon to go all the way, but all on the trail say be ready, it's a lot harder..:)

2 months ago

Great trail! Several beautiful views!! This is the most strenuous trail I've hiked so far, but it was all worth it!!! We did hear a bear growling once we got to Calloway Peak, so be careful up there!!!