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Trails

A hiker enjoys the view at Grandfather Mountain State Park
Ice on the Trails   

WARNING: There is ice located on several parts of the Grandfather Trail, especially around the north side of McRae Peak. Please use extreme caution when hiking at high elevations on Grandfather Mountain State Park Trails. 

 Last updated on: Sunday, October 18, 2020

Status of park facilities   

Trails and restrooms are open. Restroom facilities are closed periodically throughout the day, so that staff can adhere to cleaning protocols. Please be patient with the staff during this time.

The park office is open from Wednesday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A properly worn mask or face covering, covering both your nose and mouth, is required to enter the office.

Backcountry campsites, including group campsites, are open. All campers must reserve a campsite online or by calling Aspira at 1-877-722-6762. You have until 9:00pm the day of your arrival to reserve the site; however, we recommend making your reservation before you go to the park, as cellular service is not reliable and Aspira's phone lines have recently had long wait times.

Visitors are expected to wear masks while in the park and adhere to the social distancing standards while on the trails and in the parking lot area. Entry to the park will be restricted if the park reaches max capacity or if social distancing standards are not being adhered to.

Please note: the Grandfather Mountain attraction (Mile-High Swinging Bridge) is managed by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Please visit their website for their current operating status.

Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. Generally, state parks are following the phased reopening statewide. As of October 3, we are following modified Phase 3.

 Last updated on: Monday, October 5, 2020

Park at capacity by 10 a.m. on weekend days   

Weekend delays: Due to increased visitation, Grandfather Mountain State Park reaches parking space capacity by 10 a.m. on good weather weekend days. The Profile Trail parking area has been reaching capacity on some weekends, and we expect this to continue as we move into the fall leaf season. Please visit the park during the week when possible; plan to arrive early morning or late afternoon on weekends; and/or have a backup plan in case the parking area is full when you arrive.

 Last updated on: Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Map of North Carolina – Grandfather Mountain State Park


Contact the park
 

828-963-9522


grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov

 

Addresses
 

Park office

9872 N.C. 105 S.
Suite 6
Banner Elk, NC 28604

GPS: 36.1549, -81.7872

 

Profile Trail parking area

4198 N.C. 105 N.
Banner Elk, NC 28604

GPS: 36.1197, -81.8350

 

Mailing address

P.O. Box 9
Linville, NC 28646
 


Other accesses
 

Boone Fork parking area

Mile marker: 299.9
Blue Ridge Parkway
Banner Elk, NC 28604

GPS: 36.1200, -81.7813
(managed by NPS)

 

Asutsi Trail parking area

Blowing Rock Highway
(U.S. 221)
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

GPS: 36.1163, -81.7773
(managed by NPS)

 

Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

2050 Blowing Rock Highway
Linville, NC 28646

GPS: 36.0851, -81.8462
(fee charged)
 

Hours
 

► 

  • To accommodate early hikes, park gates are not closed on a daily basis. However, they may close due to weather conditions.
     
  • November to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to May:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • June to August:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • Open Monday to Friday:
    8:00am to 4:30pm
     
  • You may contact our office during business hours or after hours; leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

List of trails

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.

 


Nuwati Trail
Location: Off Blue Ridge Parkway - Boone Fork Parking Area (GPS: 36.120076,-81.781358)

Description:

This trail follows the track of an old logging road. It’s an easy but rocky hike, including a spectacular view of the Boone Bowl and Calloway Peak from Storyteller's Rock. There are stream crossings, a solitary stand of big-tooth aspens and reminders of logging days gone by. Use extreme caution on stream crossings - do not attempt crossing streams in high water.

Note: From the Blue Ridge Parkway area, there are two points of access. Visitors may park at the Boone Fork parking area at mile 299.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Parkway’s Asutsi Trail, which begins on US 221 (the only winter access when the Parkway is closed)(Asutsi Trail Parking GPS: 36.116354, -81.777297). Hikers can follow the Parkway’s Tanawha Trail to reach the Nuwati trailhead.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
1.20 miles
one way
Difficulty:
easy hike
Blaze:
Blue Circle
View of Calloway Peak from Storyteller's Rock (Nuwati Trail)



Profile Trail
Location: 4198 NC Highway 105 N, Banner Elk (GPS: 36.119767, -81.835001)

Description:

Ascending about 1,775 feet over 3.6 miles, this trail begins at the Profile Trail parking area at 4198 NC Hwy 105 N and ends at the Grandfather Trail at Calloway Gap. Beginning as a scenic, rolling pathway through seasonal wildflowers, this trail crosses the Watauga River and travels under a hardwood canopy for much of its length. Upper sections, beginning around Foscoe View, get steeper. Shanty Spring, at 3.2 miles, marks a transition into a strenuous pathway of tumble-down rock that joins the Grandfather Trail after a climb of 0.4 mile. It makes the transition out of the hardwoods and into the Canadian fir zone of the crest area. The upper section is steep and rocky and calls for careful footwork; this section is not recommended for pets. Use extreme caution on stream crossings — do not attempt in high water.


Surface: natural surface

Length:
3.60 miles
one way
Difficulty:
strenuous hike
Blaze:
Orange Diamond