Profile Trail to Calloway Peak

HARD 248 reviews
#4 of 123 trails in

Profile Trail to Calloway Peak is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Banner Elk, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2312 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

rocky

scramble

"West Side" of Grandfather Mountain, the Profile trail starts at trail head on Route 105 in Banner Elk, NC, and climbs almost 2000 feet to connect to the Grandfather Trail. Permits available at trail head and Mast General Store, Footsloggers and 105/184 Exxon (free). Beginning from Hwy 105 as a scenic, rolling pathway through seasonal wildflowers, this trail crosses the Watauga River and travels under a hardwood canopy for much of its length. Upper sections, beginning around Foscoe View, get steeper. There are frequent rest stops with stone benches and turnouts. The trail gets a bit muddy when wet. Shanty Spring, at 2.7 miles, marks a transition into a strenuous pathway of tumble-down rock that joins the Grandfather Trail after a climb of 0.3 miles. It makes the transition out of the hardwoods and into the Canadian fir zone of the crest area. The upper section is steep and rocky and calls for careful footwork. At the top of the Profile Trail, you reach the Grandfather trail, which you take 0.4 miles further to the left to reach the highest point, Calloway Peak at 5946 feet. On the way you'll pass by beautiful Watauga View, and then climb three short ladders to reach the peak. The way down can be tough on the knees and the roots and rocks can be very slippery when wet, so take your time. This is an awesome hike on one of the most rugged mountains east of the Mississippi, and hiking conditions with the rocks and roots are more tedious than most trails out west.

hiking
23 hours ago

Awesome and absolutely strenuous-especially when carrying a 3 year old in a pack but best hike we've done in the Smokey's!!!

hiking
1 day ago

Four stars for the profile view of Grandfather Mountain and view from the top. Docked it a star for how many people are on the trail and amount of stone steps, etc along the way (meaning prefer trail over that stuff, more natural and less hard on knees). Daniel Boone Scout trail is less crowded to the top, probably Because trailhead harder to find and also farther from main grandfather entrance and also don't get grandfather profile view. Took 2 hours 40 minutes of hiking time round trip, although I booked it, so don't take this as the norm. Strava said 7.3 miles although I turned off a little early and forgot to turn on right away coming down so would say about 7.5 miles round trip.

1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

breath.....just breath!

hiking
9 days ago

It was a good challenging hike. We hiked from the new Profile Trail parking lot to Watunga View (about 0.1 short of Calloway Peak). The portion between Shanty Springs and Calloway Gap trail junction has some rocky portions which require attention to foot placement. It was right at 7.0 miles round trip for us and we did it in 5 hours including a lunch break at the Watunga View point.

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

So glad to have finally conquered the Profile. Tough hike, 'strenuous ' is an accurate description. Strongly recommend walking sticks. Also pack the water you think you need and then add another bottle. Gorgeous scenery throughout, amazing views. Trail and scenery constantly changing making the time fly on trail. We completed the trail in 5 hours with a 30 min lunch. My teenagers set the pace...... ouch! Would like to come back in each season to see how it changes...... after I ice my knees.....

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike! My husband and i took Profile to Calloway Peak. Since the new trail head opened that makes an 8 mile hike, round trip. We were expecting around 4-5 hours, but it took us close to 6 1/2 hours, including a 20-30 minute break up top for lunch. I have back issues (2nd back surgery was 7 months ago) and need hip surgery. So, that taken into account, I am thrilled to have been able to accomplish this trail in the time we did.
Amazing views from the top and scenery throughout the trail is absolutely beautiful!
I will say that this trail was very tough in some areas. And it is not any easier coming down. Tough on the knees and ankles.

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Great view at the peak - mileage markers at beginning seem to be off

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

I hiked this in July of 2016
You can do it, but you have to want it.
For me-not much about this hike was easy-but the view you are rewarded with-surpasses any I have seen yet. Makes the difficulty worth every single step!

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

Just finished the Profile trail to day. Very challenging hike but worth the trip.The mileage is incorrect. It is 7.5 miles round trip. ( They build a new rest / parking area that increase the mileage). The last mile is up hill and rocky. But I did enjoy the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked from Profile Trail head to attic window and camped then hiked Grandfather Trail to the bridge and back the next day and on to Calloway Peak and back up to Attic Window and camped another night . No lie this trail spanked me but was absolutely worth it ! Love it ❤️