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.

There's a side trail about halfway in that you'd have to be in fairly good shape to navigate but leads you to the top of these rocks that overlook the entire viaduct and is phenomenal! One of the best views I've seen on the Parkway

Did this hike on a cloudy semi-rainy day and we stayed dry under the cover of the trees and rocks. Very pleased with the unique views and both my 10 and 4 year old kids enjoyed the hike.

I did part of the Tanawha yesterday. I started at Linn Cove and went to Rough Ridge. I advise anyone doing this hike to have on hiking shoes. You're going to need them for grip on the rocks. There were lots of boulders, roots, rock steps and vegetation. The views were limited but beautiful. When you first start at Linn Cove you will climb the rock steps under the Viaduct and go in between a series of boulders. It's really neat. The majority of this section of Tanawha is going up and down rock formations that are supposed to be steps. I did it in both directions and can't say one way was easier or better than the other. It's up and down the whole way. At the end of this section that ends at Wilson Creek there is a bridge you cross with a waterfall to the left. Not much water coming down yesterday due to lack of rain. It was still pretty, though. There were a few sections that I had to stop and look to make sure that it was part of the trail because it consisted of boulders lying on one another. You just had to pick your way across them. My trail book rates this trail as moderately strenuous and I'd say that is about right. Lots of roots and rocks. You could step wrong one time and get hurt. I enjoyed the trail and plan to do the whole Tanawha one day. Is this a trail I'd carry the whole family on? Depends on the family. It's comfortable for a short ways but when you get further into the trail you're going to work a little. I think it was worth it.

16 days ago

Nuwati means medicine....good name. The trail is an easy walk, peaceful and soothing. The weather was particularly fine this hike which only enhanced the overall beauty. There were some few scrambles especially at the last creek crossing...not a problem at all for the young but for the more seasoned hikers, more caution was needed.
Storyteller rock is an awesome sight. Absolutely huge! And quite the scramble to get up but the views were fantastic.
Just a great great hike.

17 days ago

Great views at the rock overlooking the Viaduct. Cool rock formations on the way. Being sure footed would be advised here.

18 days ago

1 month ago

If you are young and in good shape, you will find this trail mildly challenging until the end. Then, you'll need to clamber up over some steep rocks to get to the view, but it's worth it. If you're middle-aged and out of shape like I am, bring good shoes and water because it's a decent challenge. I'm happy I hiked this trail, but my legs are sore this morning!

definitely not an easy prepared for some wet rocky sections. It is fun and pretty

Great hike but intense if you continue to go past the original route. This can be a much longer hike. Past the paved part it gets intense