Backpack Camping: Camping is allowed with a permit at 13 backpack camping sites along the trail system including the Hi-Balsam Shelter. During the transition to state park management, the fee to camp will be temporarily waived. In the future, campsites will be available through the state parks system's Central Reservations System. Until that time, follow the directions on the "Permits & Access" page for self-registration at the trailheads.
Campers must leave vehicles at either the Profile Trail or Blue Ridge Parkway trailheads; no vehicles can be left overnight in the Grandfather Mountain attraction.
Camping is permitted in designated areas only - identified by nearby signs and a camping icon on the trail map. Fires are permitted at most lower elevation campsites, but not on Grandfather Trail or at the Hi-Balsam Shelter. Fire rings are provided but must be left in place. Use only firewood that's on the ground. For cooking, a gas-powered backpacking stove is recommended. Campfires may be banned during dry periods. Water is available only from intermittent streams. All untreated water should be purified by boiling for 10 minutes or by using purification chemicals, or through use of a filtering device.
Please do not disturb nearby campers, take care to protect the terrain and plant life and carry all trash from the site upon leaving.
Hiking: Grandfather Mountain State Park offers more than 12 miles of trails lacing 2,456 acres along the mountain's ridgeline and its highest point at Calloway Peak. The trails offer magnificent scenery from rock outcrops and quiet forested coves near the mountain's crest. Permits are required.
Most of these trails are challenging; steep, rocky terrain can make progress slow at times. Hikers must use the trails' ladders and cables in some of the steeper sections. Be aware that hiking to the ridge area and back from the low-elevation trailheads may take a full day. Plan for enough time to get back to your vehicle before dark. And, wear proper clothing and carry adequate equipment.
Grandfather Mountain attraction employees and state park rangers patrol trails on a routine basis to offer help and directions, check for permits and monitor use of the backcountry.