Trail Safety

The Chute

Please Be Careful! This Is A Rugged Mountain!

Grandfather Mountain can host the region’s most severe weather, including electrical storms, winds over 100 mph, deep snow and subzero cold. Approach this mountain with respect. Potential dangers include falls, lightning, heart attacks and exposure.

The best rule is: When bad weather strikes, leave the backcountry by trail as quickly and safely as possible.

All hikers entering from trailheads outside the attraction must register at the trailhead before departing into the backcountry.

Hiking trails within the attraction are subject to weather related closings throughout the winter months.

Please use good judgment in taking the following safety tips into account:

— Equipment – Trails here are often steep, rocky, uneven and slippery. Hikers should wear sturdy boots and carry a day pack with food, water, first aid supplies, rain gear, flashlight, cell phone and trail map. Please do not attempt these trails wearing sandals, street shoes or smooth soles.

— Lightning – Peaks, ridges, ledges and shallow overhangs are all high-risk areas for lightning strikes. Stay alert for changing weather patterns (thunderstorms can arrive suddenly in the afternoon) and stay clear of risk areas in an electrical storm.

— Hypothermia – A cold summer rain can be as dangerous as an arctic wind storm. Carry appropriate weatherproof garments, even in summer months.

— Trail Conditions – In wet or wintry weather, backcountry trails can be slick, muddy and treacherous. Upper trails in winter often glaze over with ice. Hiking under these conditions falls in the domain of well-equipped experts.

— Water – All untreated water should be purified. Giardia, bacteria and other contaminants cannot be easily detected. You can purify water by boiling it for 10 minutes, by using purification chemicals or through use of a filtering device.

— Watching Children – Adults should lead and follow their hiking groups with their young children in the middle. If the hiking party decides to split up, make plans to rejoin at a prearranged time and place to avoid confusion and the possibility of after-dark searches for lost hikers.

— Health Considerations – Hikers with breathing or heart conditions should be cautious of strenuous activity, especially at Grandfather Mountain’s higher altitudes.