Profile Trail to Calloway Peak

HARD 289 reviews
#4 of 132 trails in

Profile Trail to Calloway Peak is a 7.6 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
7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2457 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
1 day ago

13 days ago

Had my 18lb pack on. Tough w pack but views definitely worth the climb

hiking
14 days ago

15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

Strenuous, technical, rocky and steep hike, bring some food and water, shaded most of the way and you are immersed in the forest until you get to the summit- there are a couple of small viewing platforms at the top. Beautiful quartz to see along the way- brand new, clean trailhead bathrooms and parking area. Get your miles in!!

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Took just under 5 hours round trip from new parking lot to peak, including a stop at peak to rest and grab a snack. Great trail, but very rocky/steep near top. Bottom 1-1.5 miles is pretty easy. Great hike, not too challenging, but left us pretty sore the next day!!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Tough hike (about 3 hours each way) but well worth it. Went first week of October and the colors were amazing

backpacking
1 month ago

Been going here for over 15 years now - one of my favorites! If you have the right gear you can really have a great time!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

After reading other reviews I would only add there are restrooms at trailhead now. I recall this taking me about 3 hours up and about 2.5 back but my right knee was hurting bad due to a difficult hike the day before. Going up didn't mind so much the last mile or so up boulders and rock piles because it was not as boring as a simple dirt incline. It made it interesting but not easy. Nice view at top and water source about a mile before top. Would have given this one more star but I didn't think view was as good as some I have seen. Wouldn't want to do this when crowded during summer because would be annoying going up. Also glad it was cooler.
Good fall hike. Wouldn't suggest it during summer. Glad I did hike because was rewarding due to feeling of accomplishment. I usually prefer the reward of a large waterfall so I wouldn't hike this again just for the accomplishment feat.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful. They need to update that the entrance has changed and you no longer need a permit. Across from the peddlin’ pig is the entrance, and you simply fill out a from there. You definitely should be in shape for this hike. A bit of the trail is gradual, and then a bit takes some serious leg power to get up large rocks and steep inclines. The view at Calloway Peak is worth it though. When you finally reach Calloway Gap you can go right to the Alpine Meadow and the ‘shoots’ or left to Calloway Peak. From there be prepared for more uphill. Coming back down was harder because of the steep climb down. I recommend trekking poles.