Explore To Do... - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Beautiful

Such an easy walk. The road was closed due to weather so we parked on the side of the road and walked up the trail. Very easy, gentle climb. Lots of pups and families on the trail.

I agree with Olivia. If you are only coming here for the bridge, it won’t justify the $20 per person price tag.
The views were enjoyable but most of the park was closed in winter. Can’t do harder trails, can’t see the bears, can’t go past the bridge.
I would definitely come back to summit Grandfather Mountain.
Overall, a “Decent Outing” with great views, but hardly a hike or trail.

I'm a local to this area and I have never climbed this mountain until today. My first hard climb.... All I can say is "Simply amazing" like being on top of the world. I wanted to take pictures with snow on and I wasn't disappointed. Road to trail head was clear. The climb to the top wasn't that bad. Steep, but not a bad hike. The trip back down killed me. Awesome hike. Can't wait to go back in the fall and get the fall colors. AllTrails quit on me from the get go but not to many ways to get lost on this trail. Just keep going up....

1 tree down before parking area. In general the trail was easy to find but overgrown. 360 degree views from the top were wonderful.

The view from the top in late afternoon is well worth the strenuous hike

We were rewarded for the struggles of finding a parking lot with a winter wonderland of ice and snow. Spectacular 360 degree view if ice topped peaks and green valleys. Overall, moderate hike with wonderful view.

The views were nice but we didn't realize that it would be $20 PER PERSON to get in! Only go if you're planning on doing something else within the park or if you have accessibility issues (you can drive straight to the bridge and there's an elevator to circumvent the stairs). You can get views that are just as nice for free.

brought my 12, 8, and 5 yr old. we got all the way to the summit. amazing. worth it.

If you have 4wd, you can make it to what could be deemed a parking area... I just parked off the roadway and walked an extra half mile or so to the trailhead. As others have stated, the trail is not well marked, but you will occasionally see blue spray paint on some trees. My dogs & I were the only ones on the mountain today, which made the rewarding views at the top even better.

Worth all the trouble to find trail head. Trail nothing particularly of note except steep, rutted, loose rocks, slick roots and thick growth. However, the rocky top makes it well worth the effort with huge 360 views and excellent lunch spot. Tougher going down and recommend a stick for balance.

hiking
3 months ago

Great, well groomed carriage road leading up through pastures and rolling hills to the observation tower. The views to the east and north are very pretty. Perfect for solo, couples, families, children, dogs, horses, etc

OMG
Truly omg! There’s a fee but go ahead bite that bullet! There’s an animal sanctuary, a museum, an amazing gift shop, the mile high swinging bridge( it really swings) and loads of trails! Oh did I mention a portion of Forest Gump was filmed here! Plus it’s Grandfather Mountain! Just do it!

Beautiful views!

Fairly easy well maintained trail with a
beautiful meadow part way up. All inclined up to the tower, nice views across meadow and up near top on switchbacks. Very windy, tighten your hats.

We love this trail. It has beautiful views. Great footing. It’s decently trafficked even in the winter so I never get creeped out hiking alone with my toddler.

Going Nowherefast's review is pretty spot on! As of 9/29/18, the trees have been cleared and you can drive all the way to trail head. Don't be fooled, this is a tough hike, it's relentless all the way to the top. But well worth it! Wear good boots.

We drove up and there were trees across the road, so we had to walk the last 1/2 mile to the parking area. Some corrections to the description. From the parking area to the summit is 2 miles exactly. I measured it with a Garmin Hikers MAP75 GPS, and using MAPMYRUN on my Iphone. They both show the same distance, going up, and then again coming down. The "Trail" is a no longer used road. You can't not follow it. The steepest section is hard, very steep, and very washed from rains. I went just after Florewnce, but they really didn't get that much rain.There are 2, maybe 3 waterfalls that are quite nice. Good looking water if you are prepared for drinking that. I brought my 5 month old shepherd, he had a ball !! Though he is still skittish of everything black. The view from the top was about 5ft in front of my face.... due to the fog. Not the best day to climb a open top mountain, but it was still fun. It took this old man an hour and 10minutes to get to the top, and 50minutes to get back down. It is much harder on the knees coming down, and the rocks tend to move when you step on them going down, not up. Its a great workout, I'll be back when I'm a little younger ! Video of the hike https://www.youtube.com/ricks41at

Beautiful waterfall at the end! Took 2 hours, not an easy hike!

We are pretty sure we saw a bobcat in the meadow on our last hike. It had all the right features -black ears, tawny body, about 2’ high. They sometimes hunt in the daytime. It was disappearing into a thicket as we glimpsed it.

hiking
4 months ago

Love this trail! Any time we're in the Blowing Rock area, this trail is on the must-do list. It's long, but gradually sloping - well-maintained and wide enough to share with others on foot or horseback. The meadow is gorgeous - during the summer months, it is full of milkweed and butterflies. Views of the surrounding mountains are excellent. From the meadow to the tower, it's a nice walk with switchbacks and plenty of flowers. Any of the Cone trails are worth doing!

hiking
4 months ago

My family and I loved this trail. We have four kids ages 6 to 17, and everyone enjoyed this equally. We have hiked a lot of trails over the years, and our kids prefer technical trails with lots of rocks and roots, so I was worried this might be a little boring for them, but the scenery is so beautiful, it was just as fun as some more difficult trails. It is uphill the whole way to the fire tower, so that makes it challenging enough. We also saw chipmunks and deer which everyone loved! It was a rainy day, and we had started out on some more difficult trails, but the slippery conditions forced us to quit those. This was the perfect trail for a post rain hike.

This trail was steep and a bit overgrown in places near the top but the 360 degree views at the summit were incredible. The trail was a bit difficult to find but the directions here are correct. It would be okay for leashed dogs that are in good physical condition due to the steep ascent. All in all it was a quiet, beautiful, and difficult hike.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great area. The only reason its not 5 stars is im a little afraid of heights so im going to dock it one point. Otherwise it is fantastic area with some great views.

Challenging, steep hike with very little compensation until the end, which makes everything worth it

A nice hike up from the lower parking to the upper parking by the bridge. It is very rocky and it was helpful to have hiking boots on, versus tennis shoes.

Wide trail with surprisingly open high meadows. Must climb the tower and feel the cool breeze at the pinnacle! Watch for horse evidence.

A rocky and winding pathway, wide enough and well maintained for a hike from the parking lot to the Mile High Swinging Bridge. As easy hike as well.

walking
5 months ago

About a 5.25 mike hike from the Moses Cone parking lot. The hike was beautiful but not too difficult, the path is well maintained and wide. We took our dog as well as our infant with us with no problem, the biggest plus was that the tower at the end of the trail is still in use (not closed).

Watch for bears

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