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Awesome, awesome hike!! Although the mileage seems low, it is a very strenuous and technical hike. There are lots of ladders, cables, and big rocks that you have to climb up and over using your hands and feet (these were all reasons why I loved this hike, but maybe it's not for everyone!). The grandfather trail is an awesome mix of woods and walking along exposed rock faces which makes for a very dynamic hike and incredible views along the way! When I went (mid-late Sept) the leaves were just starting to change, but I bet in a few weeks (mid October) the colors will be amazing up there. Good hiking shoes with good traction are absolutely necessary - many spots of the trail were very wet/muddy when I hiked it yesterday (partly due to the hurricane, but regardless...) the steep/smooth rock faces can be very dangerous when wet, so the more traction the better. I saw a few people slip pretty bad wearing sneakers. I am a 23 year old in good shape, and a pretty experienced hiker. I hiked all the way to Calloway Peak (stopped for a bit to enjoy the amazing views at McRae peak on my way) and completed the full thing in 4 hours (this included a couple snack/water breaks and picture taking). The men at the gift shop said the hike to Calloway and back is usually completed in 5 hr for the average hiker (3 hr if just going to McRae and back). The $20 entree fee is of course a bummer, but in my opinion very worth it and they do a great job maintaining the trail (the ladders/cables are in great shape). If you are hiking on a weekend (I was there on a Saturday morning) be sure to get there early before they open (9 am) so join the line of cars that will already be forming. The parking lot all the way at the top that you will park at is right below the mile-high swinging bridge, so be sure to check that out once you finish your hike!

Good views and easy trails.

One of my fav hikes in North Carolina. Have done it several times and several different routes. From Profile Trail to paying at entrance. Either way, worth the time and the money. I just remind myself that the money goes towards maintaining Grandfather Mountain! So I have no problem paying the fee!

hiking
7 days ago

beginning of trail was nice but after 3 miles in easy to get post and off trail. alot of fallen trees most of which had the markers on them. bridge is not maintained at all and alot of the trail is overgrown and hard to see. the 7.5 mile that is listed on sign turned into 8.25 with how many times you get off course and lost.

Favorite Hike in NC so far! Did it early September and it was nice and cool, a little rain which helped cool us off also! Did the profile trail to the grandfather which added some mileage but didn't have to pay, and then hitchhiked back to the profile trailhead from grandfather mountain!

Recently moved to eastern Tennessee and wanted to do a fun local day hike. This was such a good choice! Initially I was a bit disheartened at the 45 minute queue just to get into the park (it was Labor Day weekend so I wasn’t surprised) and the $40 we had to spend to gain entry, however I would still highly recommend this hike! It was definitely worth the wait and the price. The hike itself wasn’t really that difficult. You do have to be fairly fit to make it to the summit, but with the assistance of cables and ladders it was quite doable. The trail is well marked and maintained. It definitely gets your heart pumping, but at no point did I fear for my life. The first summit has a beautiful 360 view, great photo ops. A fellow hiker told us the second peak wasn’t much different but we continued on anyway. I’m glad we did because the views are even more breathtaking and the photo ops there are bomb. There are rock climbing elements all the way up and lots of fun ledges to dangle your feet off of if you’re brave enough!

We did the Brown wave loop. Beautiful hiking!

If you like Chutes & Ladders and a little boulder hopping this is your kinda hike. Amazing vistas and a great cardio workout. It’s my fav❗️

Truly difficult but so worth it. The views were amazing and the cardio workout even better! Wear those hiking boots, for sure!!!

one of my favorite, favorite hiking trails. this trail is moderate, but that depends on what type of shape your in. there a lot of stepping up (onto rocks), and also stairs to climb up. i did not make it to peak because i have a slight fear of heights but you get an awesome view non stop. it really is one of the most rewarding hikes i have been on yet! just a bit scary at the very peak.

Good scenery and interesting trail

Went from co rd 50 into Shingobee Rec area and back. Great trail! Clean and not overgrown but small enough and still gives that natural feeling. Bugs weren’t bad (middle August). Never saw another person.

Amazing hike, we hiked it on a rainy day but it was still a great time. I highly recommend for everyone!

This hike was more like walking up a drainage ditch. it was wet, muddy, and slick. The fact that it did not look like a trail wouldn't have been an issue if the trail was clearly marked, but it was not. very easy to get lost.There are ladders and slick flat rocks to walk over. I won't be doing this hike again.

Very well-maintained and challenging trail. We (three 50+ year-old ladies) hiked GFM Trail yesterday; started at the parking lot for the swinging bridge, climbed to McCraes Peak, then on the advice of other hikers took Underwood Trail back to GFM Trail to return to our car. We are regular exercisers who are training for a Grand Canyon hike in October, and only hike occasionally. Although challenging mentally and physically (we climbed 10 ladders total, I believe, and relied on cables to pull ourselves along a few slippery spots), we had good hiking shoes with good tread (essential), plenty of water and comfortable backpacks. Conditions were very wet yesterday and a thunderstorm was predicted in the afternoon. We had intended to climb to Calloway Peak but decided to shorten our hike due to the storm. The trail took much longer than we expected, since rocks were slippery. Took us 4 hours. We will be back to accomplish this one in better conditions! Be prepared to pay $20 per person (ouch!) to enter the park on the side where the swinging bridge is, otherwise do the Profile trail to park for free (a longer hike). I think there were 7 or 8 ladders going up the way we did, but only 2 going down since we used Underwood Trail to return. Best hike yet and amazing views!

I only spent 3 months living in North Carolina, but as a native westerner, I was impressed at the natural terrain I found in this part of the Appalachians. Grandfather mountain comes close, in a few ways , to the foothill type peaks I have around my home in North Idaho, but with even more lush and green scenery surrounding it. Being very developed, the trail head is easy to find, and the main challenges are steepness of the ascent and (certain times of year) slippery rocks and exposed roots. This is not a trail area for out of shape people, but with proper pacing, it can be done. Prepare for some scrambling in sections, but a benefit is that there are many potential view points once you get up top. In September, when I visited, it was misty and moist, but not cold, which made for some great hiking weather, but less than ideal under foot conditions. Heartily reccomend this trail.

Wow! My husband and I hiked this trail today. We knew it would be good but we didn’t know it would be as beautiful as it was! It’s hard and takes time but it’s so worth it!! Wear good hiking shoes and bring water.

1 month ago

very very hard high scary but worth the views

hiking
2 months ago

You get a little bit of everything with this hike. Views, bouldering, and a great workout. Took us a little under 5 hours with plenty of stops to sit and look out at the scenery. Be ready for ladders.

As of 07/22/18, it was engulfed by the surrounding swamp due to a few solid days of heavy rain. Still an interesting hike.

mountain biking
2 months ago

Woooohoooo Did Deepstep today and there are places that the trail is not so beginner friendly. I would call it a moderate trail

Absolutely one of the best places to hike! It’s got bouldering, scenic views, more moderate trails as well as very challenging ones

I only hiked to Macrae's Peak. It was beautiful and well-maintained. Definitely challenging though and I would recommend that you wear a good pair of tennis shoes with grip. some of the ladders are nerve-wracking if you are scared of heights, but really aren't that bad. I would recommend being in good shape. It's worth the $20 fee to get into the park! Just know that you have to be back by 6 pm.

Great Hike, the best I have done in a long, long time. It is very hard at the end, you need to be in pretty good physical shape. Ladder 6 is the tricky one, and going down is more difficult than up, of course. The views are outstanding, and the hike is fun as hell. The guy below me is commenting on some other hike, not this one. This hike is a class 4, and takes 2-3 hours. NOT DOG FRIENDLY! It's possible you could get a mellow dog up the 6th ladder, but you are not getting him down GFM unless he is strapped to your back. We witnessed several folks attempting to do this and they wisely gave up.

light to moderate. great 20 min hike.

Challenging hike. But the views are definitely worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun and very challenging trail. Need to be in good physical condition for this. Best to do on a dry day.
We hiked up Profile Trail to Calloway Peak then took Grandfather Trail (and Bridge Trail) back to some friends car. Therefore, we only went one direction on Grandfather (Calloway to Swinging Bridge).
Looking forward to doing the complete out and back as well as Daniel Boone Trail.

mountain biking
2 months ago

Pretty rad trail. Challenging for new riders. Plenty of jumps, rocks, roots, logs and other obstacles

Did this trail July 7th in the clouds and rain. Started at the bridge and Made it up all the ladders and about 1/2 mile past the intersection of the Underwood trail before we turned around. We took Underwood trail back to the bridge.

Very fun trail. I counted 8-9 ladders up and 1 place you have to use the rope (cable) to go up and another you use a rope to go down. There is also a giant rock scramble right after the Underwood trail intersection. Coming down Underwood there is 1 ladder to come down (much easier than coming down the grandfather trail)

While it was extra challenging when wet and rainy, still worthwhile. Bring any type of gloves to help keep your hands clean when climbing the ladders or rock scrambles.

Never was scared or felt unsafe. But it has quite a number of challenging parts that are beyond what most people would consider “hiking”

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