Grandfather Mountain's stone profile faces have long gazed out over the ancient Appalachians, earning the acclimation of explorers and botanists alike as the apex of the Blue Ridge in granduer and ecological diversity. Towering nearly a vertical mile over the Piedmont, Grandfather has been recognized for centuries as a sentinel summit. In 1794, the mountain's dramatic views convinced the Botanist Andre Michaux that he'd climbed "the highest peak in all North America." From alpine-like vegetation and vistas on the highest peaks, to cascading streams far down in the foothills, more than a dozen distinct ecological zones stretch across the landscape. Seventy-plus species of rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals populate this rugged mountain, making it one of the East's most significant peaks; a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve. The park is known for some of the South's most severe weather and challenging hiking trails. Be prepared—at times, hikers climb ladders up cliffs. Nature lovers and hikers alike find Grandfather Mountain to be a special, indeed globally significant place to encounter the outdoors.
Great scenic hike! Relatively short trip, very rocky terrain with multiple opportunities for rest and photos. The overlook views get better the further you climb in elevation, but due to cliffs and rough paths wouldn't recommend for the elderly or very young children.
we did the hike together with my husband and our dog. we picked this hike over other hikes because it was dog friendly and would also be easy for our dog. Wasnt an easy hike which gets boring. the trail was pretty rocky to make the whole hike interesting. the streams of water once in a while were bonus as well. at the end we had a little bit difficulty to find the Storyteller's Rock but it was worth to keep on trying finding it (yes, it is that huge rock pile that you should climb - there could be a better signing there to make it clear what to do to reach the Storyteller's Rock). the view from Storyteller's Rock was so gergous. we had our breakfast there. would definitely recommend it.
Starting at the Stack Rock parking area, I hiked Tanawha past the Stack Rock to the Visitor Center; I have hiked the upper side of the viaduct via Tanawha in the past, so this time went to Yonahlossee Overlook and hiked back along the road to the Viaduct for a different perspective. Quite a bit of engineering, good display in the VC. If you are traveling the BRP, worth a stop.
Decent hike, fairly easy. Trail was rocky and muddy. Downhill from parking lot. Lots of rhododendron along trail. No views along the way. View at end is atop a big rock that is a 3-4 stride up with the aid of a cable. Nice view and nice spot for lunch if not too crowded (and too crowded meaning more than 4 people there- the Rock is not that big that it can comfortably accommodate more than 4-5 people sitting). Basically, the view is what you get at the swinging bridge, just lower down and less crowded.