It’s not a race to enjoy our views. But it sure used to be. It’s been decades since sports cars have officially raced up Grandfather Mountain and reveled at the top. But some things haven’t changed: many visitors still rush to the top, only to stop and celebrate the unstoppable scenery. Whether the thrill of the drive or the wonder of the views are your motivation, your group is invited to park your cars — or not — on Grandfather’s hills.
History of Automobiles on Grandfather Mountain
The slopes and switchbacks of Grandfather Mountain have, understandably, always been exhilarating to motorists. In the 1950s and early 60s, the mountain held an annual Hillclimb, inviting drivers to race to the top. What’s more, Grandfather’s long-range views and curvy roads have appeared in television, film and print over the years. The Mountain’s most famous stretch of road is “Forrest Gump Curve,” named for its appearance in the 1994 film’s famous running scene. Also, the world’s most-watched car program, the BBC’s Top Gear, filmed at Grandfather in September 2010. The trio of hosts revved their supercar engines and raced up and down the hairpin curves of Grandfather before heading down to NASCAR country.
The Mountain’s switchbacks are also a popular spot for car commercials, as Ford Motor Company has picked Grandfather Mountain as a location for promotional shooting twice since 2009. The easily-accessed and unblemished views provided from the peaks of Grandfather are second to none, and offer a location for car clubs that provides a personal experience and nature on a whole different level.
Reservations are essential!
To make your visit more enjoyable, Grandfather Mountain will limit the number of groups visiting each day. Contact the Group Tour Coordinator at the Grandfather Mountain office, 800-468-7325 or 828-733-2013, as soon as possible to make sure your preferred date is available. You must make reservations during weekday business hours to receive the group rate.
Car clubs with 15 or more people in the party are eligible to receive group admission rates. See current Group Rates & Guidelines. Call 828-733-2013 for more information.
The 140-seat restaurant, Mildred’s Grill, serves hot, tasty food at reasonable prices. Meals ordered in advance will be ready and waiting for you at the time that best fits into your schedule. A private dining room is also available by reservation. The Mountain also has more than 100 picnic tables in scenic locations throughout the park, including a covered picnic area situated next to the Nature Museum. Your group is welcome to bring its own picnic, or our staff will be happy to prepare box lunches for you. For more information, call 828-733-2013.
Because sharp curves near the top of the mountain restrict commercial motor coaches and some school buses to the lower part of the mountain, Grandfather Mountain provides free shuttle service to the top in its own buses. Reservations for the shuttle buses are required.
Groups in restored or vintage vehicles who would prefer not to drive the steep roads to the top of the mountain may be permitted to park in MacRae Meadows, at the base of the mountain, and ride shuttles to explore the park.
Motor coaches or buses longer than 28′ are not allowed in the park without prior reservation. No exceptions will be made.