Explore the most popular cave trails in North Carolina with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Absolutely one of the best places to hike! It’s got bouldering, scenic views, more moderate trails as well as very challenging ones

I only hiked to Macrae's Peak. It was beautiful and well-maintained. Definitely challenging though and I would recommend that you wear a good pair of tennis shoes with grip. some of the ladders are nerve-wracking if you are scared of heights, but really aren't that bad. I would recommend being in good shape. It's worth the $20 fee to get into the park! Just know that you have to be back by 6 pm.

Great Hike, the best I have done in a long, long time. It is very hard at the end, you need to be in pretty good physical shape. Ladder 6 is the tricky one, and going down is more difficult than up, of course. The views are outstanding, and the hike is fun as hell. The guy below me is commenting on some other hike, not this one. This hike is a class 4, and takes 2-3 hours. NOT DOG FRIENDLY! It's possible you could get a mellow dog up the 6th ladder, but you are not getting him down GFM unless he is strapped to your back. We witnessed several folks attempting to do this and they wisely gave up.

Very rocky. Not suitable for dogs. It was cloudy/foggy but had some amazing areas/overlook places. Overall a very amazing trail!

Very hard hike and the waterfall wasn’t amazing to me. But it was probably just because the time I went.

light to moderate. great 20 min hike.

Challenging hike. But the views are definitely worth it.

Fun and very challenging trail. Need to be in good physical condition for this. Best to do on a dry day.
We hiked up Profile Trail to Calloway Peak then took Grandfather Trail (and Bridge Trail) back to some friends car. Therefore, we only went one direction on Grandfather (Calloway to Swinging Bridge).
Looking forward to doing the complete out and back as well as Daniel Boone Trail.

Easily the best trail in all of NC! From the great parking area, the first 1/4 of the trail descended along the creek through rhododendrons and creek beds. The next 1/2 is almost all switchbacks and stairs with a few opportunities for some bouldering, but is absolutely beautiful! The last 1/4 is an endurance marathon where you climb across rock formations, twisted roots, and take 3 ladders up to the top of Calloway Peak made very slippery on a rainy day! All in all....8.4 miles travelled in the rain but cannot wait to do this trail again soon!

Did this trail July 7th in the clouds and rain. Started at the bridge and Made it up all the ladders and about 1/2 mile past the intersection of the Underwood trail before we turned around. We took Underwood trail back to the bridge.

Very fun trail. I counted 8-9 ladders up and 1 place you have to use the rope (cable) to go up and another you use a rope to go down. There is also a giant rock scramble right after the Underwood trail intersection. Coming down Underwood there is 1 ladder to come down (much easier than coming down the grandfather trail)

While it was extra challenging when wet and rainy, still worthwhile. Bring any type of gloves to help keep your hands clean when climbing the ladders or rock scrambles.

Never was scared or felt unsafe. But it has quite a number of challenging parts that are beyond what most people would consider “hiking”

Amazing climb, my personal favorite to date. A wide variety of terrain, rock formations, and even begins next to a picturesque brook. Great rock scrambles. Difficulty level is accurate, not for beginning hikers but you also don't need to be a serious, super skilled hiker either.

Fun trail! Power hiked it with my 14 year old son. Took us about 3.5 hours for the 7.5 miles with a couple rests. It is pretty technical especially after the fresh spring. Will do again next time we are in the area.

Beautiful views, challenging climb, took 5 hours which included lunch break and a couple other breaks. Ladders up steep slopes are scary but very well built so not as bad as they looked. Wouldn’t recommend bringing a dog because of the ladders.

Great trail with difficulty but worth every bit of it. Be prepared with proper shoes and water supply. Had a wonderful day!

Hubby and I hiked this in August, 2017. It is a tough trail, but so worth it!!
It took us around 5.5-6 hours, round trip, including a 30 minute lunch break at the top. I have back and hip issues, so that probably increased our time a bit, but I loved it!!

took a logging road to reach the falls, difficult to find the trail head. The falls are pretty but there's been a substantial rock fall that makes them hard to view. There's also a pungent odor in the area making this seem more like sewage rather than mountain stream.

Tough hike with great sense of accomplishment!

Greatest trail I have yet hiked. Just do it.

Ladder, ropes, and steep climbs. This is a technical hike and an incredibly rewarding one. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS HIKE IF YOU AREN"T IN GOOD SHAPE. This trail is attempted by people all the time who have to turn around or be rescued. That being said, this trail will take you to the top of grandfather mountain proper and has some truly incredible views on the way. Be ready to rock scramble and climb. I recommend tennis shoes over boots on this, no reason to get a blister when you don't have to.

Fantastic trail for the area. I'd recommend hiking as much of the new hope creek trail down by the water as possible, going all the way to erwin road following the creek.

Do note, though, the .8 section of trail between concrete bridge and wooden bridge passes across an incredibly steep and rocky hill. This hill section is unmarked and I would not try it without going down on all fours and it's pretty hairy even then..

easy gravel road to great views. continue under ramp to make it a loop. found the cave but did not crawl in. sad there is always so much garbage all the way from the parking lot to the top.

Best hike I’ve ever been on! Challenging and adventurous! Best payoffs at the top and so many lookout spaces that it took a whole hour longer than expected since we kept stopping to look at the views! Well worth taking a whole day to explore and enjoy! Don’t go if you are afraid of heights or if you do not feel comfortable close to edges because there are a lot on this trail!

Great hike!! It has a lot of shaded areas with a cool breeze which is nice during the hot summer. When people mention to bring good shoes, they aren't kidding. It can be a bit difficult coming down as the rocks are slippery. It was a pretty simple hike with many great views. Easy if you're in somewhat good shape. 3 hours-ish time total. Definitely go to both Peaks!! Not dog friendly!!!!

Beautiful trail

hiking
24 days ago

dirt road to the top but worth the views. parking area is a gravel lot on the right that is unmarked but shows up on Google maps. there is a yellow gate just before the hike to keep cars off the trail, if u go that far you'll be backing down the narrow road

hiking
24 days ago

great views

Great trail, the views from the top are amazing.
It is not as hard as some people wrote here, the only difficult section was about 2/3 through, where you have maybe of 10 minutes of nice incline,
Love the ladders part - they were a lot of fun :)

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 .

I may have to go back and re-score all previous hikes. This is a 5 all the way - beautiful foliage, multiple stream crossings, technical climbs, gorgeous views, well-maintained trail and great parking lot amenities.

Seemed to be on the high side of 7.5 miles RT, which took right at 4 hours, 55 minutes. Great to see so many families out on this trail - even though we encountered multiple groups, the trail did not seem crowded.

Scramble up the boulder tumble takes some agility and heart, and on the way back down, it takes patience. Don't rush this hike - it's breathtaking all the way up and all the way down.

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