Grandfather Mountain Hiking Tips

Hiking on one of the most rugged peaks in the eastern United States offers spectacular scenery and special challenges. Here are some hiking tips to help you have the best outing. 

Hiking Tips

  • Hiking trails within the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation property are subject to weather-related closings. For the most up-to-date information on trail closures, please call our Entrance Gate prior to your visit at 828-733-4337.
  • Choose the right trail for you and your group’s fitness level. See our Hiking Guide to pick the perfect trail for you.
  • Get familiar with the trail before you begin. Use resources such as free maps we provide, along with reliable apps, to help navigate trails. When you arrive, ask staff members or volunteers questions at the Nature Center or Top Shop (by Swinging Bridge).
  • Download the Grandfather Mountain Trail Map
  • Check the weather the week before, week of, days before, the day of and even right before you begin your hike. Weather changes quickly here. If you hear thunder, be sure to stay off of exposed areas. Read more about our weather.
  • Hiking in November through March? See our Winter Hiking Tips.
  • Make people aware of your plan so if anything were to happen someone would know to look for you or where to find you.
  • Filling out hiking permits at the trailhead is required before hitting the more strenuous backcountry trails.
  • Dress appropriately. Hiking boots are best for hiking, but please wear closed toe shoes at the very least. Clothes that are moisture wicking are important. Pack a rain jacket and extra layers.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. A 2-mile strenuous hike here could take several hours to complete. If needed, purchase snacks and beverages at the Nature Center or Top Shop.
  • For safety reasons, walking down the road is not permitted.
  • Hiking trails close one hour prior to the park’s closing. If there is an emergency or you cannot make it back to your car by closing, please call 828-733-2800 (Top Shop), 828-733-4337 (Gate) or 828-733-1059 (Nature Museum) as soon as possible to notify Grandfather Mountain staff. If you do not call, we will send out a search party.
  • If you park at an off-mountain trailhead for the state park, plan on hiking back to your car. If you plan to have someone pick you up at the Swinging Bridge, the driver of the pick-up vehicle will be charged regular gate admission to come into the travel attraction to pick you up.
  • Restrooms are available at the Nature Center, Top Shop, Gatehouse and Woods Walk (spring-fall).
  • Grandfather Mountain is not able to provide shuttles to or from trailheads.
  • Bring a picnic for post-hike relaxation! We have plenty of picnic tables. 
Hiking Sign Grandfather Mountain

Find A Hike!

Explore trails for all fitness levels on Grandfather Mountain. Our network of nature walks and trails take you through gentle forests and meadows or atop rugged peaks accessed by ladders and cables. Either way, experience wildlife and breathtaking views for which Grandfather is famous.

Easy / Moderate Hikes: Perfect for the casual hiker and families. Read about Shorter Hikes.

Crest Hikes: Strenuous Trails on Rugged Peaks. The most challenging hike is Grandfather Trail along the crest of Grandfather’s multiple peaks. See our guides for the Crest Hikes.

Backcountry Hiking in Grandfather State Park: Includes the popular Profile Trail (west side) and Daniel Boone Scout Trail (east side) with separate trailheads from the state park access and Blue Ridge Parkway. Read 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