Grandfather Mountain, Nature on a Whole Different Level

Nature Walks & Hiking Trails

Walking and Hiking at Grandfather Mountain

Access the the trails inside Grandfather Mountain State Park for FREE from off-mountain trailheads. Access to the trails from the Swinging Bridge requires the purchase of a ticket to the attraction.

Grandfather Mountain has 11 trails varying in difficulty from a gentle walk in the woods to a rigorous trek across rugged peaks. It is in the backcountry of Grandfather Mountain State Park that you come up against the more challenging hikes.

For safety reasons, walking down the road is not permitted.

In-Park Nature Trails

view  from summitGrandfather has a number of gentle paths that can be accessed from the summit road. Designed to offer a low-impact foray into nature, these paths allow guests to get out in the woods without requiring a long and strenuous commitment.

Backcountry Hiking Trails

Grandfather's backcountry is very different from other areas in the South.

  • Trails take you through forests usually found in Canadian climates.
  • Many of the trails use ladders and cables to climb sheer cliff faces.
  • Grandfather is home to 16 distinct natural communities (ecosystems).
  • Is home to 73 rare or endangered species, including 32 that are globally imperiled.
  • Portions of the backcountry are sheltered within a Nature Conservancy trust.
  • Grandfather is part of the United Nation's international network of Biosphere Reserves
  • Access to the trails in Grandfather Mountain State Park is included as part of your attraction admission. Guests who purchase a ticket to the attraction may access the state park from the Hiker's parking area below the Swinging Bridge.
  • For hiking only you may access Grandfather Mountain State Park from off-mountain trailheads. You will be required to register for a free hiking permit at area outlets.

If you want to enter Grandfather Mountain State Park from the Swinging Bridge area

  • Hiking is included in the price of admission. To access the start of the Grandfather Trail, please park at the Hiker's Parking Area, a quarter mile below the summit.
  • Please return to your vehicle at least one hour before closing time. If, in an emergency, you leave your car on the mountain, please call 733-2800 (Top Shop), 733-4337 (Gate) or 733-1059 ( Nature Museum) as soon as possible to notify Grandfather Mountain staff. If you do not call, we will send out a search party.

If you want only to hike without going through the Entrance Gate

  • Guests wishing only to hike can access Grandfather Mountain State Park from one of the two off-mountain trailheads located either on US 221 or NC 105. A trail map will be supplied when register for your permit.
  • If you park at an off-mountain trailhead, plan on hiking back to your car
  • If you plan to have someone pick you up at the Swinging Bridge, the driver of the pick-up vehicle will be charged regular gate admission to come into the travel attraction to pick you up.
  • Grandfather Mountain is not able to provide rides to or from trailheads.

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