|Address:||2050 Blowing Rock Hwy, Linville, NC 28646, USA|
|Working:||8AM–7PM 8AM–7PM 8AM–7PM 8AM–7PM 8AM–7PM 8AM–7PM 8AM–7PM|
Great moderately difficult hiking with fantastic panoramic views! The trail from the Swinging Bridge to MacRae Peak is a great 2-3 hour round trip hike (with time to take in the views), You can start at the Swinging Bridge parking lot and hike to MacRae Peak which has several ladders and cables. Be sure you have good hiking shoes. (I would not recommend taking children under 10 due to the steep drop offs and long ladders between Swinging Bridge and MacRae Peak) For a longer half day hike, take the trail on to Calloway peak and then back to the Swinging Bridge. Alternatively, leave a car at the bottom of the mountain at the Route 105 Profile Trail parking lot and hike down the Profile Trail about 3 miles to Route 105. Three tips about parking: 1) You cant leave a car overnight at the top and the gates are closed. 2) For safety reasons they ask you to be off the trail a few hours before dark (6PM in the summer), and 3) There is a "steep" charge for driving to the top: ~$20 per person as Grandfather Mountain is a private attraction and has other things to enjoy like wildlife exhibits.. To reduce the cost for hiking, hike from 105 to the Swinging Bridge and have someone pick the group up there and drive down, or for experience hikers who want an all day hike, start early in the morning on 105, hike up to the Swinging Bridge, and then back down. If you have time, you can take the Calloway Peak side trail on the return. Heres a selection of hiking ideas: -A great 2-3 hour moderately difficult hike: Swinging Bridge -> MacRae Peak -> Swinging Bridge (entrance cost) -A 1/2 day moderately difficult hike: Swinging Bridge -> MacRae Peak -> Calloway Peak -> MacRae Peak -> Swinging Bridge (entrance cost) -A 1/2 day moderately difficult hike: 105 Profile Trail -> Calloway Peak -> 105 Profile Trail (no cost) -A 3/4 day moderately difficult hike: Swinging Bridge -> MacRae Peak -> Calloway Peak -> 105 Profile Trail (entrance cost; or go in reverse for more up hill and a reduced entrance price if someone picks you up) -A 3/4 day moderately difficult hike: 105 Profile Trail -> Calloway Peak -> MacRae Peak -> 105 Profile Trail (no cost) -A long day difficult hike: 105 Profile Trail -> MacRae Peak -> Swinging Bridge -> MacRae Peak -> Calloway Peak -> 105 Profile Trail (no cost)
Im giving this 5 stars because of the beauty of the place, and nice buildings and beautiful animal habitats. But, the Swinging Bridge was not all its made out to be. It isnt a mile high at all, so Im not sure why they call it that. Not scary at all. It only moves a little in high wind, but it DOESNT swing! Promise! It was very windy up by the bridge so hang on to your hat or it could easily blow away in high winds. The gift shop is very nice as is the building with the grill. Great coffee! Beautiful gift shop there there too! Make sure to try out the amazing chimes hanging outside that gift shop. Theres also a nice theatre that was showing a film about plants on the mountain and probably other related things (didnt have time to watch it unfortunately, but I checked out the film for a minute. So its a nice place to sit and learn about the mountain. Theres also a little museum that displays rocks, gems, and scuptures of birds of the area. Just take your time driving on the hairpin turns. Better to take a smaller car to navigate those or go when its not busy so you can take wider turns without other cars around. Make sure to ask for the free CD they give at the entrance. Its like having your own personal tour guide along with you. Well worth it and it makes a great souvenir! Well narrated with very good music! Learn as much as you can before you go about the place. Youll appreciate it even more for all the special and unique features here. I got a kick out of the Forrest Gump turn! Yes they filmed there and Tom Hanks showed up for a visit, although it was his brother who appeared as his stand in in the scene where hes running on that turn. The guide CD explains all! I would appreciate some vegan options at the restaurant and some non dairy milk options, including the ice cream thats sold there. We would have gladly gotten something to eat if vegan was available. Im adding this because the Grandfather Mountain staff reads these reviews. Hopefully they will give that consideration.
Grandfather Mountain is something to experience. Neither photographs nor written descriptions can adequately describe the beauty of the mountain and the views from the many stopping places going up. For those like me, afraid of heights, it can be a harrowing (but completely safe) drive to the parking area at the top where one finds a gift shop, restaurant, and the "Mile High Bridge." The road is made for Porsches and BMWs, so if youre driving an RV, you probably shouldnt try averaging 50mph to the top. Every time I go to the mountain (usually for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games held every summer) I promise myself that "this time" I will cross the damn bridge. Well, maybe in 2013 - or not. The bridge is a mile high in elevation, but that doesnt mean that it is a place that is 5,280 feet down as the dead crow or a rock falls. There is a nice rocky gulch a couple of hundred feet under the bridge, not nearly enough distance to learn how to fly and not recommended. The gift shop, fudge shop, and restaurant will not make you cross-eyed when you see the prices, and the views from everywhere are stunning.Seriously, make an entire day of your visit. As mentioned by other visitors, there is a small zoo that all alone make the trip worthwhile for me. If you want good photographs of the animals, you will have to be patient. Everything happens on their schedule, which is not based on your time. So be patient, and you will get lots of good photographs of the eagle, mountain lions (or cougars, pumas, panthers, or any other cats large enough to ride). The otters are hard to spot, but the bears are easy because you can feed them. These are very large bears (600-800lbs) and so your cameras will be busy. (I will post some photographs if I can figure out how on this website.) Dont forget to visit the museum. By the way, in the mornings it is not uncommon to go through low clouds on the way up. All-in-all, its Gods country.
Hospitality second to none. On the way up the mountain we pulled into the split rock area, to take pictures. When we tried to leave our cars starter failed. We called AAA and the front gate. The people at the front gate were willing to do whatever it took to keep our visit pleasant. They said a trail ranger would be with us shortly. They sent us Gabe Taylor: Naturalist, Interpretive Ranger and all-round great guy. He helped us determine our car problem was not the battery but was indeed the starter. AND then he stayed with us until Scott from Aldridge Auto & Diesel Repair arrived; got the car started so that we could drive to the shop to be fixed. During that wait we ask Gabe every question we could think of about Grandfather Mt, the local flora and fauna and the mountain ranges we could see. Gabe did an excellent job of educating us. This was, without a doubt, the most pleasant auto break-downs we have ever had, in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We will recommend Grandfather Mountain to everyone.