Ecology Grandfather Mtn

Grandfather’s Unique Ecology

Of all the treasures in the Northwest North Carolina mountains, the most valuable is their magnificent ecological diversity; the great medley of plants, animals, climate and terrain that bring depth, vitality and beauty to the quality of life in the Southern Appalachians.

Standing watch over this ecological abundance, 300-million-year-old Grandfather Mountain is both a symbol for and a protector of the region’s priceless natural history.

In November 1992, the United Nations added Grandfather Mountain to its international network of Biosphere Reserves. Grandfather is unique because in less than 5,000 acres, there is habitat for 16 distinct ecological communities and 73 rare or endangered species.

Grandfather Mountain is also the symbol for and protector of the future of our treasured natural diversity. More than 4,500 acres are protected under conservation easements held either by The Nature Conservancy or the state of North Carolina, all designed to restrict or prohibit any development that would change the present character of this valuable nature preserve.

Weather Grandfather Mtn


Read about our unique weather. Get current forecast and reports.

16 Natural Communities

These ecological communities support a unique web of life. Read more.

Endangered Species

Endangered plants and animals, ranked according to rarity. See our list.

Grandfather Mtn Wildflowers

Wildflower Calendar

Find the blooms for each month. See the list.

Fall Color Gallery

Fall Color Gallery

See scenes of autumn’s beauty at Grandfather. Go to gallery.

conservation easement


Behind-the-scenes conservation projects and research. Read more.

Synchronous Fireflies

Synchronous Fireflies

Synchronous fireflies give an amazing light show. Read more.

Grandfather Geology

Geology of Grandfather

The mountain’s ancient history rocks. Read more.

Flying Squirrel

Flying Squirrels

Counting the Carolina northern flying squirrel population. Read more.

Hawk Watch

Hawk Watch

Watch thousands of raptors migrating each September. Read more.

International Biosphere

International Biosphere

UNESCO world site for ecological abundance. Read more.

Birding at Grandfather


Find 200 species of birds throughout the year. Find out more.

Grandfather Mountain | Home to the Swinging Bridge, Animal Habitats and Nature Museum

GPS: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646
Mailing: PO Box 129, Linville, NC 28646

Owned & operated by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
Go here for Grandfather Mountain State Park information.
Member of Southern Highlands Attractions