Explore Trails I might want to hike. - 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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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.

19 days ago

very very hard high scary but worth the views

Hiked today. First third fairly rigorous. Uphill most of the way. Views would be nice in the fall/winter. Second two thirds very lush. Downhill most of the way and runs beside the river so, plenty of water for the dogs. If you have any.

Nice trail. The waterfalls are gorgeous but the trail to the upper isn’t well marked. Never saw a blaze and went off the path for a little bit. Fortunately there are a ton of people who you will run into at some point to redirect.

Upper falls is worth it despite wet trail and many offshoots.

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.

Easy and mostly flat.

Swimming hole!   Bring a towel and get your paws wet.  

This is a must stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway.   Get there early!   The parking lot fills up early.

Theres a fair amount of elevation change.  Fortunately there are stairs at the top, stairs in the middle and stairs at the bottom.  Lots of well maintained stairs plus a bridge and a bordwalk with an asphalt trail in between.   There's really not much of a trail to get your paws dirty.   Thanks USFS!  A great trail for older owners or owners with younger children. 

Four rest rooms in the parking lot if you need to do a quick change into dry fur before resuming your journey.   They're pit toliets but they're clean and well maintained if you need to do your business and can't sniff and pee along the trail like I can. 

Remember to practice safe waterfalling.  Stay at the bottom.  No climbing.  Finally, remember to always keep your owners on a leash so they don't get lost. 

Five woofs.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

I went in October with a group of friends. First trail I did after breaking my ankle and it was amazing

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.

Beautiful falls and great time playing in the river.

light to moderate. great 20 min hike.

Challenging hike. But the views are definitely worth it.

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.

Took the huskies. Got dirty. Beautiful views.

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”

Only had time to go to the lower falls where we soaked our feet after a long day of hiking.

Fun hike. The "rim of the gap" portion is difficult, the rest is fairly moderate. Someone needs to do some chopping on the ROTG portion though. It's more of a suggestion than a trail.

Beautiful views, challenging climb, took 5 hours which included lunch break and a couple other breaks. Ladders up steep slopes are scary but very well built so not as bad as they looked. Wouldn’t recommend bringing a dog because of the ladders.

It's tough to rate these trails because it's so subjective according to what each person likes, but I just finished the entire LGT with an extension from Wolf Pit Parking area, all the way out Babel Tower as my endpoint. Starting from Wolf Pit Parking area, down Faulker Flats, cross the river to the MST, then link up to Leadmine trail, then to LGT and finally Babel Tower trail. It was a brutal link up in this June heat (83 today and 2000% humidity). The gnats and ticks were ridiculously thick in the lower section of the gorge all the way to Conley Cove. Plenty of campsites, lots of good water to filer but very slick rocks, tons of downed trees to cross. So, somehow it seems much, much harder than it looks on paper. It's often referred to as 'gorge miles' because its very deceptive until you experience it for yourself. When you're looking at this thing on the map your mind says, 'it just runs flat by the river', but with all the log crossings, high steps and ridiculously slick wet rock it just makes you really work for every mile. Legs feel like someone has taken a baseball bat to them after exiting Babel Tower on my third day. I chose this link up to fish up the river. Very challenging but it will reward you, guaranteed.

Ladder, ropes, and steep climbs. This is a technical hike and an incredibly rewarding one. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS HIKE IF YOU AREN"T IN GOOD SHAPE. This trail is attempted by people all the time who have to turn around or be rescued. That being said, this trail will take you to the top of grandfather mountain proper and has some truly incredible views on the way. Be ready to rock scramble and climb. I recommend tennis shoes over boots on this, no reason to get a blister when you don't have to.

Popular loop with optional out-and-back at its west end featuring two nice waterfalls. A lot of the crowds stay near Lower Falls at the east end of the loop, so you will get some solitude if you hike the entire loop. Trail is not blazed, but it is not hard to follow. Encroaching vegetation needed to be cut back in some areas, and other areas are quite eroded. Overall, a good introduction to high-elevation hiking, North Carolina style.

Great hike!! It has a lot of shaded areas with a cool breeze which is nice during the hot summer. When people mention to bring good shoes, they aren't kidding. It can be a bit difficult coming down as the rocks are slippery. It was a pretty simple hike with many great views. Easy if you're in somewhat good shape. 3 hours-ish time total. Definitely go to both Peaks!! Not dog friendly!!!!

I wish I could rate this higher because the upper and lower falls were beautiful but the lack of blazes/signs made it very tricky to navigate. It was muddy in some spots but easy to get around. Great little hike overall!

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