Grandfather Mountain Trail

HARD 280 reviews
#3 of 147 trails in

Grandfather Mountain Trail is a 3.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Linville, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
3.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1528 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

One of the most technical mountain hikes without climbing equipment east of the Mississippi, Grandfather Mountain trail traverses forest, exposed cliffs, rock outcroppings, ladders and attached cables to spectacular views. The trail climbs to McRae Peak, Attic's Window and the end of the trail at the top of Grandfather Calloway Peak at 5964' - the same point the Profile Trail ends. The Grandfather Trail runs the length of the summit ridge from the Grandfather Mountain attraction to Calloway Peak. It offers astonishing variety, running in and out of wind-dwarfed spruce and fir, across or around rock walls and pinnacles and into open spaces with mountain views in every direction. It was along this trail two centuries ago that explorer/botanist Andre Michaux broke into song thinking he had arrived at the high point of North America. The pace is often slow. There are chutes where progress is hand-over-hand and extra steep sections where hikers use in-place cables and ladders. An alternative to taking the ladders up MacRae Peak is to opt for the more sheltered Underwood Trail. Not recommended for children or inexperienced hikers. 20$ per person to access trail via park

hiking
1 day ago

I hiked this about a week ago. The weather was very cloudy and a misty rain occurred briefly. We had the mountain to ourselves, possibly due to the weather. This was the best hike I’ve ever done. WEAR PROPER HIKING SHOES it is slippery and steep. I took grandfather trail to MacRae peak and took the Underwood trail back. It took almost 3 hours round trip. The trail starts with climbing steep rocks and doesn’t get easier. I am short so I had to climb with hands and feet in many parts. This trail is strenuous but doable. If you do have back, knee, elbow etc issues, I wouldn’t attempt this. The ladders toward the top and the small ledge I had to walk on was a challenge due to the height. I am a little scared of heights ( but more afraid of falling) and this part of the hike was tough for me- but I did it! Unfortunately due to the cloud coverage we didn’t have any views but it was beautiful none the less. I was not an experienced hiker but in good shape and was able to complete the trail. I can’t wait to do it again on a clear day. The entry fee is $20 per person. I feel the hike alone is worth the money but it includes a CD that has info on the mountain, a cultural center, walking on the swinging bridge and a few animal exhibits .

3 days ago

Most awesome trail ever! So much fun great views. Very technical. Not for amateurs. The most rewarding couple of miles! The trail on to Calloway is so strenuous. Large rocks, steep climbs. Lots of effort= lots of rewards

4 days ago

Scary at times but what spectacular views!

4 days ago

My wife and I hiked Grandfather Mountain trail this morning from the beginning at the trailhead at the swinging bridge to Calloway Peak and back. Hands down the most demanding and exciting hike we have done in the Upstate SC and Western NC area. Took about 4 hours but we walk fast. If you are afraid of heights this is not for you. The painted blue blazes could use another coat right about now.

hiking
8 days ago

A real treasure of a hike. Well maintained trails with minimal evidence of human involvement. Plenty of great views, and only encountered other hikers on the trail every 30 minutes or so. Lots of opportunities to crawl up rocks on hands and feet. Glad I didn't have my young kids or dog with me. Would have been too many big drops and too technical a hike to be able relax with them.

9 days ago

Second Time around, several years later and still love this one. Challenging with ladders and cables to get up and down in a couple places. It rained twice after beginning at 80 degrees. Went from 80 to 50 in a few minutes, then the wind. Then 80 again a little while later. Slick in spots due to the rain. Great day on the trail. Smaller little hikes around the state park also. Forest Gump was filmed jogging here. Animal enclosures, nature center are the reason for the charge. Hike alone is worth $20 with the views. The history of the mountain is on display on the second floor of the "top shop."

hiking
13 days ago

This is my favorite hike! Highly recommend hiking shoes or something with grip, because the terrain tends to be slippery and steep. The view was breath-taking and it's also fun to see the petting zoo and the bridge.

17 days ago

Awesome trail with a challenge and spectacular views. It rained the night before so the trail was wet but it wasn’t too bad. Wear shoes with grip and bring water and a camera. We got to shanty spring and went down, only to find we had to come back up unless we wanted to continue on profile trail. This was the most strenuous wrong turn we took! About 5 miles there and back, very tired and we are pretty in shape. This state park observed military and discounted our entrance fee too.

24 days ago

I want go out to hiking, anyone want go with me ? I need a partner. send me a message if you interested. Thanks.

1 month ago

This hike is very challenging, but has awesome views and is well marked.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a beautiful trail. When you combine this with the profile to calloway peak trail you have one challenging hike. Barefoot friendly but you will get some looks.
The trail itself has many challenging sections and ladders that only allow for a single person to go at a time.
Dogs would struggle with this trail

hiking
1 month ago

Without a doubt worth the $20 admission fee. You get the hike, the mile high swinging bridge, and the mini zoo. Not to mention your money goes towards preserving the state park.

The views you get on this hike are truly spectacular. We went the day after it snowed and was very windy. All of the trees in the morning had an inch of snow sticking out perpendicular to the ground, made for some awesome pictures. The snow melted as the day went on which made for some muddy conditions, but overall was a very well kept trail.

My wife and I are experienced hikers and were able to complete this hike in about 5 hours. Many others we passed were well past that mark though. Thee ladders and chains make for some slow going at times, and much of the trail is stepping from rock to rock. You should absolutely take the ladders up to MacRae Peak, you are rewarded with 360 degree unobstructed views.

Just remember that this is a mountain hike where the temps will be much cooler, and that the weather can change drastically. Bring lots of water, and food for a picnic on one of the many lookouts. You will not be disappointed.

1 month ago

I don't write review but I think it's ridiculous people are giving one star or three star reviews because they:

A) didn't do their research
B) are too cheap to support state parks

These trails are amazing, but shouldn't be taken lightly. The park and zoo are worth $20 (if you're from the area they also have dollar days in April if you bring proof of residency)

hiking
1 month ago

Giving this one a three star rating because after doing some research and learning about the $20 per person admission we decided to hike up profile trail rather than pay $100 for a day hike. The problem with this is that once you get up you have to hike the entire mountain then hike back down the profile trail in decent timing because if someone comes to pick you up they also have to pay $20. This led to a major time crunch for my group because we did not expect this trail to be as physically challenging as it was. It is a very fun trail with ladders and ropes and bouldering but it is a full day event especially if you hike the profile trail up to Grandfather. I would highly recommend doing your research before taking this mountain on.

1 month ago

$20 per person to get in. Ridiculous! Would never pay that!!

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is definitely not for those with physical impairments. I was a bit sore the next day and consider myself athletic. Climbing the boulders was the most challenging but the Views are So worth it....

1 month ago

Definitely the most strenuous hike I’ve ever done. Such a steep climb but definitely worth it at the end. Lots of ice when I started the dissent after MacRae Peak. The cables and ladders made it more fun and interesting too! I technically did not end up doing the Grandfather trail... Just to MacRae peek and then down around using Underwood trail.

2 months ago

Included in my first hike up the mountain. Started at Profile Trail and then journeyed down this one after Calloway Peak. Definitely much more difficult than the walk from the parking garage to the office. Do not attempt if you are overweight, have knee problems, or back issues.

hiking
2 months ago

We almost made it to the summit. We are experienced hikers but some rocks were covered with ice right at the .2 mile mark so we had to turn around. It was a challenging hike and worth it

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

by far one of the most difficult and challenging hikes I've done. this is not for inexperienced hikers, start early and bring plenty of water and food.

hiking
2 months ago

What an adventure! We started at Mile High Bridge parking area and took Grandfather trail up to Calloway Peak. Returned via Underwood. Ladders and cables were a challenge but worth it! McRae Peak was the best view.

hiking
2 months ago

amazing time. did the ladders and cables up, took Underwood trail back. would do it again 10/10

2 months ago

Beautiful

hiking
2 months ago

What a great hike .. can't wait to go back and hike another trail

hiking
2 months ago

This hike was beyond great. Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights, ladders or cables on the ascent or descent. One of the best trails I’ve ever done anywhere in the world. Incredible experience and amazing views

3 months ago

Long and at times fairly steep but well worth it. Great views!

hiking
4 months ago

Love doing this trail starting at 105 or the brp then going up and to the bridge then back down

4 months ago

I hiked this in October 2017.. I am also afraid heights. I was ok with the climb and elevation just rest if you need to but the ladders were a big challenge for me considering they are on the edge of the mountain. but I am so glad I did it. It is beautiful at the top . McRaes peak and attic window are amazing views.. lots of great hiking here.

hiking
4 months ago

One of the most rewarding trails I’ve hiked. I’m absolutely terrified of heights, and wanted a challenge. This trail didn’t disappoint! The pictures of the ladders don’t do them justice, they’re straight up and down at points- a few in a row with only a tiny ledge to stand on in between and a straight drop down. Not for the faint of heart. I saw a few people try to attempt this with dogs, would not recommend doing that. Beautiful views, would go back in a heartbeat.

Load More