For a limited time only, save 30% on a year of AllTrails Pro!
Get Started
Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Grandfather Mountain Trail is a 3.9 mile heavily 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 bird watching and is best used from April until November.

Length 3.9 mi Elevation gain 1,574 ft Route type Out & Back

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Cave

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

Fee

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

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. $22 per person to access trail via Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Hours: Through March 28 Ticket sales: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 29 Ticket sales: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 30-March 31(Easter Weekend) Ticket sales: 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Park Hours: 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. April Ticket sales: 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Park Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If not otherwise posted Ticket sales: 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Park Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Arrive before 11:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. on summer weekends, holidays and fall color weekends. Youll move through the Gate more quickly, there will be fewer people in the park, and the animals will be more active. If you can only schedule your visit for midday, will always be ready to take care of your travel party. The state park office is open Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact office during business hours or after hours, leave a message and will return calls as soon as possible: 828.963.9522. You may also email the office at grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov Rates: Adult 13-59 $18 Senior 60+ $15 Child 4-12 $8 Children under 4 Free Great bathrooms and places to see while you are there. Mile high swinging bridge, animal habitats (bears, eagles, otters, mountain lion and deer), museum, two gift shops, numerous picnic tables through out park, views every where you are, manicured landscapes.

Grandfather Mountain State Park grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov (828) 963-9522 P.O. Box 9, Linville, NC 28646 Grandfather Mountain Attraction Phone Numbers Office Hours Phone number Business Office weekdays, 9-5 800-468-7325 828-733-2013 828-733-2608 FAX Entrance daily, 8 a.m.- closing 828-733-4337 Nature Museum daily, 8 a.m.- one hour before closing 828-733-1059 Top Shop (Gift Shop) daily, 8 a.m.- one hour before closing 828-733-2800 E-mail: General E-mail: nature@grandfather.com Hiking E-mail: hiking@grandfather.com Animal Habitats E-mail: habitats@grandfather.com Naturalist E-mail: naturalist@grandfather.com Advertising Department E-mail: landis@grandfather.com Donation Requests E-mail: nature@grandfather.com Mailing Address: Grandfather Mountain P. O. Box 129 2050 Blowing Rock Highway Linville, NC 28646

To the Profile Trail Parking Area: From Asheville (apprx 70 mi): Travel I-40 East (apprx 21 mi). Take Exit 72 and follow US-70 E (Old Fort) to US-221 N (approx 11.5 miles). Turn left and follow US-221 for approximately 32 miles. Turn right onto Newland Hwy. At the next intersection, turn left onto 105 S and travel approximately 4.5 miles. Profile Trail Parking area will be on the right about a half mile past NC 184 (McDonald's & Lowes Foods)[Click for Google directions] From Winston-Salem (approx 100 mi): Travel I-40 W to US-421 N Exit. Travel west on 421 through Wilkesboro to Boone (approx 81 mi). Turn left onto 105 S. Profile Trail Parking area will be on the left (approx 12.5 mi).

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (603)
Photos (995)
Recordings (236)
Completed (1742)
Tsui Heng Wang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

Not a tough trail. But really need to be very careful not recommend for people scared of height. But the top view is one of the greatest view around the area.

View Tsui Heng's Recording
Gregory Hendler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2020
Hiking

Unbelievable views and rock formations. Wear good shoes for this one and take your time, especially in the way down.

Brian Rasey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2020
Hiking

This is one fantastic trail! It starts out easy enough from the parking area atop the mountain but once you hit the cables and ladders it starts getting interesting-just before hitting the ridge to MacRae peak, you’ll climb a series of ladders and get a bit of exposure. The views after coming through that set of ladders are incredible and worth the effort. To be certain, though, if you’re not a fan of heights that section will require some intestinal fortitude on your part. We only had to time to get to MacRae and then turned around, since this is an out and back and had to be back to the lot by 6pm. I cannot recommend this trail more highly!

View Brian's Recording
Jonathan W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
View Jonathan's Recording
John Schueller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Absolutely breath taking views. The trail up is moderately strenuous and we could do about 1 mile an hour. I recommend this hike to my fellow hikers that are scared of heights that you can do this if you take your time. The ladders and ropes are in great shape and positioned well. There was only one spot where I was truly “puckered up” and I was able to navigate through the area quickly. You could turn around at any point and retrace your steps if you didn’t feel comfortable. The payoffs for your efforts are incredible. I actually would have rather retraced my steps down than return by the lower route which was a rock hop for the full mile on wet slippery rocks. Overall a fantastic hike. Memory of a lifetime. Agree with others that the first part of the trail up to the first peak is the best part of the hike.

Sarah Platt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Took this hike in a couple years ago on the way to a friend’s wedding. We went a little past McRae Peak to Alpine Meadows before turning back-think we started too late in the day to finish before sundown! Strenuous hike but a lot of fun!

Catherine Beneat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Trail was very nice. We are a family of 4 with an 11 and 14 yo. We got rained on and “only” made it to MacRae peak. The views were breathtaking and even with the rain it was worth every step. Not for little kids. The ladders are quite steep and sometimes the ledges are not wide so people scared of heights should not try. Overall awesome experience and would recommend to anyone looking for a 2h adventure! Make sure you wear proper footwear as tennis shoes do not have enough grip for the trail.

Byungsub Chung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

I think it’s pretty ok trail, but not for kids. When I get to MacRae Peak, it was great view!!! So I was expecting more from Calloway Peak because it’s pretty tiring to get there. Unfortunately, MacRae Peak is way much better than Calloway Peak. I suggest goin to MacRae Peak only. Going to Calloway peak isn’t worth it.

View Byungsub's Recording
Helen Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

We did not make it all the way to Calloway, but loved the hike to McRae's. A fun technical hike for this area. I would not recommend for anyone who dislikes heights. The ladders can be challenging for older folks or kids. Due to COVID-19, you do have to purchase tickets to the attraction in advance in order to access the trails (as far as I know).

Suhas Alur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

the hike is definitely strenuous. although it reads 3.9 miles round trip, it feels forever. it took us close to 5 and half hours to finish the hike. while returning we took the underwood trail, which added a mile or so to the total hiking distance. the views from the top are beautiful, totally worth the hike. please do note that the hike has many ladders, ropes and steep rocks that need to be conquered before you reach the top.

View Suhas's Recording
Arden Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
HikingMuddyRockyScramble

Wow! Awesome hike. Made a reservation (required due to covid) for 8am and hit the trail by 8:15am. Got back to the car around 2:30pm. Rocky, technical, not good for kids or dogs due to the ladders and hand over hand assist cables. I do not recommend this trail if you’re afraid of heights. Calloway peak was packed with people so we turned around just upon arriving there. Better views at McRae Peak anyway. Overall very strenuous hike but awesome experience. We tracked closer to 8 miles overall.

Arpan Bhattacharya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
Hiking

The hardest hike I’ve ever done. Along with the rough terrain, elevation gain and ladders/chutes, we faced rain and 7mph winds the entire day. There was nothing to see because everything was white. The only thing to do was focus on finishing and not flying off the mountain. Some say a fight isn’t a fight until you have to overcome adversity. The morning after this hike my body feels like it was in a epic fight. Incredibly grateful, happy, and content that we were able to hit all 3 peaks. This hike will challenge you but it is an absolute thrill.

View Arpan's Recording
Marika Carey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 24, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Awesome trail that will challenge your endurance and tolerance for heights. A few ladders are right on the edge of a cliff and have a transition to a cable that made my heart stop a beat or two. I tried not to over think but rather focus and move. The views along the hike are fantastic, I also love the Alpine feel of the trail. We did make reservations for 9:30am and the timing for us was perfect. If you want a challenge, I highly recommend this trail!

Chris Zito
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 19, 2020
Hiking

Easily worth the $22 entry fee. We went on a whim and had no problem entering with no reservation on a Friday. That being said, if you have your heart set on this hike (and you should) check online regarding reservations. The mile high swinging bridge offers stunning views as does the brief climb on the far side. The real magic happens on the hike up to and along the upper trail itself. Views? Amazing. Technical aspects and down on all fours scrambling? Check. Ascents and descents that require wire rope lines and cliff face ladders? Indeed. What a fun day! Do not take this trail lighlty as a misstep or loss of grip can lead to serious injury or death, but this just adds to the overall incredible experience. Being in decent physical shape is a prerequisite - the linear distance is minor however the elevation change, the full body nature of the exertion and the very real aspect of extremely dire consequences for fatigue induced mistakes demand respect.

View Chris's Recording
Kristen Greeson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail despite my aching knees after getting to top of McCrae’s peak and coming back down. This trail consists almost entirely of steep incline up rocky outcrops or down rocky outcrops. When they say the trail is hard, they are not kidding! I am 50 yes old and am reasonably in shape with speed walking or hiking 3-5 miles at least 5 times a week and some cross training workouts 3 times a week. This trail made me reconsider how fit I really was. Higher altitudes definitely had me breathing harder. Despite all that, the views and sense of accomplishment at completing the ascent and descent (much harder coming down than going up in my opinion) from McCrae was well worth it! Now for a cold beer and some ibuprofen!

View Kristen's Recording
Terese B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2020
HikingRocky

What a challenge!! My husband and I did the Tough Mudder 3 years ago, and that has nothing on this trail! This was the most challenging hike we’ve ever tackled. Started at the Swinging Bridge parking lot. Steep and rocky and yes, a couple of spots where there’s cables to hold as you climb and ladders. It can be daunting but you can turn back before the ladders to take an alternate trail back to the parking lot. I was about to give up a few times but my 24 year old daughter would go ahead of me on the ladders and scope it out and encourage. We went to MacRae peak and then doubled back, even though it was only .9 each way, with rests and the terrain and at times waiting for others to climb ladders, it took us 4 hours. The trail wasn’t too crowded, nor was the park because of the on line reservations required due to covid. Th reviews were spectacular! An excellent but exhausting day!

Amy H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 11, 2020
HikingFeeMuddyRockyScramble

Started from Top Shop/Swinging Bridge parking lot and two of us only went to second set of cables. Other two went to MacRae Peak. Challenging hike, growing more challenging as one continues.

View Amy's Recording
Shane Silvey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 11, 2020
Hiking

This trail is only for those that are experienced or really fit. You have to know what you are getting into before attempting. Class 3 scrambling in places, ropes in places, decent elevation gain, and slick rocks are featured in certain areas. I have seen lots of people on this trail that have to turn around or have to get assistance in certain areas because of the complexity of the terrain. The views are great though.

Conor User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020

As of 6/3 park the trail closes at 6PM, but the website let's you reserve a slot at 5PM-beware. In my opinion 70% of the hikes awesomeness is the trail itself. Rocky ridges, cables, ladders, trails where a misstep could land you falling hundreds of feet. The views facing Mt.Mitchel and linville gorge are amazing, but as you continue after 2-3 miles the views focus towards the resorts and thousands of cabins near sugar mountain. After 1 mile, crowds were nonexistent on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

Tony Chavez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 28, 2020
Hiking

Great trail !. We had to book online first . They only work if you do it through internet . Amazing views

Ciara Lopez
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 20, 2020
Hiking

Drove over two hours to do this hike and when we got there was told we had to buy a permit online and reserve a time slot? Never heard of doing this for a trail and was difficult to even find the reservations on their site. They were booked up for two weeks. Very frustrating as this was not advertised anywhere online.

Showing results 1 - 21 of 603