Profile Trail to Calloway Peak

HARD 265 reviews
#4 of 125 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.

4 days ago

Such a rewarding hike!

hiking
4 days ago

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5 days ago

6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

New trail entryway adds 0.5 mile to the front end...and on the way back most of the last half mile are climbing stairs which is exhausting. If you have most of the day, the trail is awesome to explore! We left at 3pm and turned around at Profile View due to daylight concerns (all of the trail is wooded and dark). Total round trip was 5.5 miles and took us 3 hours with us moving at a good pace. Can't wait to go back and tackle Calloway Peak.

10 days ago

its for me a 4.5 Stars, easy at the beggining but gets harder as it goes. coming down is very rough on knees. views are amazing

trail running
13 days ago

Technical trail, its actually 8 miles from the new profile trail. Pretty muddy and wet with a lot of people. Calloway peak is the second peak. You have to use ladders. It's crowded up there. Ascent is steep at the top.

hiking
15 days ago

My wife and I did the hike earlier today and we basically had the trail to ourselves. There were a couple of people on the peak but that was it. It turned out to be a 7.7 mile out and back from the new parking area. Good hike with the upper 3rd wet and rocky so it was slower going than I had expected. I had done the Nuwati/Cragway/DanielBooneScout Trail route last week so I needed to do this one for comparison since some people said the Profile was easier. The Profile Trail is a mile longer and much steeper and rockier and took about 1 3/4 hrs longer to do. This was a good hike but a little tougher than the other route.

hiking
16 days ago

This hike was very challenging, definitely for the experienced and prepared hiker. The trail has it all, length, elevation change and rugged terrain, the fact that the trail was wet made it that much more challenging especially considering there's a stretch of the trail that is literally moving rock to rock. It was overcrowded and that was just more of a nuisance. Be prepared with plenty of water and food. Getting past all of that, there are multiple views along the way that make the trip worth it. And the peak is amazing. The new parking lot adds about .5 miles in each direction.

hiking
16 days ago

I have been coming to this trail for many years and after going this weekend (Labor Day Sunday) I have to say it is long overdue to bring back the fee to use this trail. I had no problem back in the day paying 4 dollars to be able to have the experience that used to be hiking this trail. Other than having to wait till a place to open to buy permit ( now you should be able to do online) it was more than worth it to have a less traveled trail. The new parking area is very nice with water and restrooms however it does add a mile to what is a difficult ascent so for most people it might mean turning around before you really get to any vistas worth noting. Getting to the Calloway Peak or even going all the way to the bridge is spectacular but can be very daunting and time consuming. The word has gotten out about this trail. I hope that Randy Johnson and others with influence will hear my passion and vote their feelings as well. There are many other free trails - Rough Ridge for instance, for a lot of these hikers. Please bring back the Profile trail to its glory.

hiking
18 days ago

This hike is okay. It takes a really long time to get anywhere with a view and the trail entrance changed which adds 1 mile round trip to any point on the trail. To get to the first view, it's about 3 miles one way. So for one view, it's 6 miles roundtrip. Not really worth it if you're carrying a 1.5 year old on your back. Just a bit boring and very muddy. I recommend finding another hike, especially carrying a baby!

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

The top 1/3 of the trail is challenging with lots of opportunities keep 3 points of contact with the rocks. Below that, it is a moderate hike. We got a late start, but made it made it up and back in 2 1/2 hours, although we had to press at the end to beat nightfall. Spectacular views along the way and at the top. Got very lucky with the weather in November.

26 days ago

Kudos to 130 runners who did the 15 mile Grandfurther Trail Race today. They ran up the trail down the other side of the mountain and back. They were flying fearlessly downhill.

hiking
1 month 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 month 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 month ago

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1 month ago

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1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

breath.....just breath!