Grandfather Mountain State Park »  Permits and Access
Hiking to the Bridge? Hike back down or have pre-arranged ride.
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If you are hiking to the swinging bridge (in the private Grandfather Mountain attraction): you must have a pre-arranged ride or hike back down the trail. The attraction staff is not permitted to give rides to hikers and hikers are not permitted to hike down the Attraction road.
Call 828.733.4337 for Attraction gate hours.
BE AWARE THAT RIDGELINE CONDITIONS ARE MORE EXTREME THAN LOWER ELEVATIONS. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS HIKE IF YOU ARE NOT PHYSICALLY PREPARED AND PROPERLY EQUIPPED.
Updated: 2015-04-17 15:32:41
SPRING Hiking Notice
Nesting birds and dogs.
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> 04/17/15 TRAIL CONDITIONS AND STREAM CROSSINGS
-- Due to heavy rainfall earlier this week, trails are very wet. Stream crossings may be high; rocks will be slick. Please use caution on the trails and crossing any stream in the park. If the water is high, do not cross the stream.
> 04/09/15 TRAIL CONDITIONS
--There was still ice on the backside of MacRae Peak on Monday 4/6. Spring is here and the weather is finally warming up. Please remember, however, that temperatures have not been warm enough to thaw all ice on the upper trails. Higher elevations may still have traces of ice. Use caution. Trails may be muddy or slick, especially in shaded areas. Temperatures can still be quite cold on the mountain, especially on the ridgeline and overnight - be prepared if you are camping on the mountain. During the spring, thunderstorms are more likely to occur. Please be mindful about lightning. Do not stay on the mountain if you see lightning. Lightning is a serious threat to hikers and campers and should not be taken lightly. If you hear thunder or see lightning, please do not continue on your hike. If possible, head back down the trail. Do not take shelter under rocky areas or tall trees.
SPRING HIKING NOTICE
-- Spring weather is temperamental: be prepared for high winds, thunderstorms, even snow and ice.
-- Be aware that hypothermia is a serious threat: carry appropriate clothing.
-- Immediately head down the mountain if you hear thunder or see lightning.
-- Do not hike beyond your abilities: weather and injuries can affect everyone.
-- If you are hiking to the swinging bridge, you must have a pre-arranged ride or hike back down. The attraction staff will not drive you to your vehicle. Vehicle access to the bridge is closed before sunset.
-- Do not exceed your abilities: turn around if conditions are unfavorable for you.
-- Hiking to the bridge is very strenuous: it is NOT easier than hiking up the Profile or Daniel Boone Scout Trails.
-- IF YOU ARE HIKING TO THE SWINGING BRIDGE: This is not a loop trail; you must hike back on the same trail or have a pre-arranged ride. Staff will not drive hikers from the attraction back to the trailheads. The Attraction gate closes at 5:00 p.m. and you need to be off the trail and through the gate before they close. During inclement weather the Swinging Bridge and top of the Attraction are closed with no vehicle access to the top – this may include fog, heavy rain or high winds.
For Your Pets Safety
DOGS MUST BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES in the state park. This is for the safety of the dog, safety of other hikers, and protection of the animals and plants that live on this mountain. Juncos (small gray and black birds) are nesting now in the banks along the trail. An unleashed dog can find a junco nest and easily disturb, or even kill all its occupants before the dog's owners arrive.
Our trails are steep and rocky with over a dozen ladder climbs on the ridgeline and higher elevations. Many dogs have been injured on these sections of trails. It is very difficult for hikers to maintain a dog's leash on the difficult sections. For these reasons we do not recommend hiking with dogs on the Grandfather Trail, Cragway Trail, or upper portions of the Daniel Boone Scout and Profile trails.
> Monitor local weather before heading out on the trails
- We recommend that hikers always check forecasted weather conditions before hiking on Grandfather Mountain, especially in the winter months. You can check local weather at Ray's Weather: www.averyweather.com
Check our website often for updates. Please call our office if you have any questions: 828.963.9522.
[Real-Time Blue Ridge Parkway closures http://maps.nps.gov/blri/road-closures
Updated: 2015-04-17 15:32:41
Hiking and Camping permits are free and mandatory. Hikers and campers must be able to produce a valid
permit when on state park trails or campsites. This permit system ensures safety for hikers and helps us
protect the natural resource. Hikers and campers must leave the white copy of the permit in the permit box
located at the trail head and keep the yellow copy in their possession. Permits can be obtained from the
Profile Trailhead parking area located off of Hwy 105 and along the Tanawha Trail before accessing the Nuwati
and Daniel Boone Scout Trails located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
There are three entry points to the hiking trails in Grandfather Mountain State Park. Hikers should be
aware of their timing and hiking ability when hiking the trails at Grandfather Mountain. NC State
Rangers and Grandfather Mountain attraction staff will not provide rides from any of the trail heads
to or from another location. It is the hikers personal responsibility to make appropriate accommodations
to get from one place to the other.
West Side - From NC 105 near its intersection with NC 184 in Banner Elk, the trailhead
for the Profile Trail offers parking. Near the ridge area, the Profile Trail connects to other
trails in the system.
East Side - From the Blue Ridge Parkway area, there are two points of access. Most hikers use the
Boone Fork Parking Area at mile 299.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The second is the Parkway's Asutsi Trail
(the only winter access when the Parkway is closed) – located on Hwy 221, 1.6 miles south of Holloway Mtn. Road
(GPS: 36.116347, -81.777314). From either of these points, hikers can follow the Parkway's Tanawha
Trail south to reach Grandfather's Nuwati/Daniel Boone Scout Trailhead. (Note: no camping is
allowed on trails of the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway).
Grandfather Mountain Attraction - A parking area for hikers located just below the
summit area has short connectors that link to the 'backcountry' trail system. You may also
use this parking area to access the shorter trails within the attraction. Entrance fees apply to
all hikers who use this parking area and this entry to the backcountry trail system. It is not
necessary to pay entrance fees to obtain a camping permit if you are not entering the attraction.
Download Special Activity Permit - pdf
Click this link for Research and Collecting Permits