Grandfather MountainNature Walks & Hiking Trails
Backcountry Hiking - Trail DescriptionsCrest Trails
Grandfather Mountain State Park- Trail Descriptions: Crest Trails
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.
Crest Trails are accessed from the summit parking lot or from the hiker parking lot, three curves below the summit parking area. Also from the Profile Trail or Daniel Boone Trails.
The route follows the crest of Grandfather Mountain from the Hiker's Parking Area out 2.4 miles to Calloway Peak. It was along this trail two centuries ago that noted French explorer and botanist Andre Michaux broke into song thinking he had arrived at the highest point in North America. A century later, famed naturalist John Muir was inspired to describe the sight as "the face of all Heaven come to earth."
The pace is often deliberate. There are chutes where progress is hand-over-hand and some extra steep sections where hikers use in-place cables and ladders. An alternative to taking the ladders up MacRae Peak is to opt for the more sheltered Underwood Trail (see below).
Splitting off the Grandfather Trail near the half mile marker, the Underwood Trail bypasses ladder climbs on MacRae Peak, rejoining the Grandfather Trail at MacRae Gap, about a mile out. The trail makes a steep, rocky loop under the crest line around Raven Rock Cliffs. Going out along Grandfather and returning along Underwood makes an excellent loop hike from the Swinging Bridge.
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