With winter on the way, Grandfather Mountain is decking its halls and hills for the holidays.

Guests are invited to celebrate the season from a mile high, where they’ll encounter idyllic winter scenery, invigorating outdoor adventure and more at the Linville, N.C., nature park.

On Wednesday, Nov. 24, the park officially rang in the holiday season with a special delivery — a special Fraser fir Christmas tree, donated by Larry Smith of Mountain Top Fraser Fir in Avery County.

In previous years, Smith has provided Christmas trees for the N.C. State Capitol in Raleigh, the U.S. Naval Observatory (the residence of the U.S. Vice President), the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and the White House itself.

But to Smith, donating a tree to Grandfather Mountain is a literal high point in his career.

“People come from all over the world to see Grandfather Mountain,” he said. “And, of course, this tree is from Avery County. We don’t want a tree from outside Avery County to go up on Grandfather Mountain.”

Although this particular tree is on display in the Grandfather’s Nature Museum, Fraser firs can also be found in the mountain’s more natural settings.

“The Fraser fir is basically the Cadillac of Christmas trees,” Smith said. “There’s only a few mountaintops in the world they’re native to, and Grandfather Mountain is one of them.”

Choose & Cut & Save

Although Grandfather Mountain’s official tree is now on display, guests are welcome to bring their own — to enjoy a festive discount on park admission during the holiday season.

As a gesture of support for local Christmas tree farmers, anyone who arrives at the mountain with a tree atop their vehicle or a receipt from a local tree farm will receive $2 off each adult admission and $1 off each child admission.

This offer is valid when booking a visit online at www.grandfather.com or when buying tickets in person, if available.


Located in the Nature Museum and Top Shop, Grandfather Mountain’s gift shops carry a variety of artisan crafts and goods, as well as signature Grandfather Mountain souvenirs, from apparel to hiking gear to drinkware and all things in between. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com/shopping.

One of the most popular items is something truly unique to the mountain — animal art, as in artwork actually painted by Grandfather Mountain’s habitat animals.

Looking for a gift that’s warm and fuzzy? While Grandfather Mountain’s resident animals are not for sale, the Adopt-an-Animal program is the next best thing. Photo by Luke Barber | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation


Looking for a gift that’s warm and fuzzy? While Grandfather Mountain’s resident animals are not for sale, the Adopt-an-Animal program is the next best thing.

The program allows participants to symbolically adopt any of Grandfather Mountain’s furry or feathered residents, including black bears, river otters, cougars, bald eagles, elk and more.

By adopting an animal, individually or on behalf of a friend, family member or loved one, the sponsor will receive a special gift package. Gifts vary, depending on the donation level, and can include photographs, plush toys, plaster footprint castings, day passes and more.

Visit www.grandfather.com/adopt to learn more.

Animal Wish List

Make our animals’ season merry and bright by treating them to gift items and enrichment treats.

To see what the animals are wanting this holiday season, visit their Amazon.com wish list at https://bit.ly/gfm-wishlist. For more information, email habitats@grandfather.com.

One of Grandfather Mountain’s resident river otters takes a brief break from frolicking in the snow. Since the mountain is open year-round, weather permitting, visitors can also see most of the park’s habitat animals in winter settings. Photo by Frank Ruggiero | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Treat your favorite animal lover to an up-close-and-personal experience with Grandfather’s resident animals.

Hosted by Grandfather’s knowledgeable and experienced keepers, Behind-the-Scenes Tours show guests where the park’s resident animals sleep overnight, while sharing the ins and outs of what it takes to care for the animals year-round. Behind-the-Scenes Tours are offered April through October, but can be booked in advance.

Wanting to book in advance and give the tour as a gift for the holiday season? Please call the Nature Museum Gift Shop at (828) 733-1059 to purchase over the phone. Note: Park admission will also be required to enter the park the day of the tour.


Think the views are sweet? Try the Grandfather Mountain Fudge Shop.

The park’s eco-friendly fudge shop boasts a colorful assortment of homemade fudge and confections, available in classic and seasonal flavors. Best of all, it’s only a phone call or email away.

To place an order for pick-up or home delivery, call 828-733-6518 or 828-733-1058, or email fudgeshop@grandfather.com.

Season Passes

For a gift that keeps on giving, shoppers can purchase an annual membership to Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club.

Bridge Club membership offers unlimited, free admission to Grandfather Mountain for a year, exclusive discounts on and off the mountain, invitations to special member programs, a Bridge Club car decal and more. Group passes are also available.

To learn more, visit www.grandfather.com/bridgeclub.


Grandfather Mountain is owned and operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain.

All of the park’s funding is derived from admission, souvenir sales, food and beverage sales and donations, 100 percent of which goes right back into the mountain, ensuring its pristine beauty is preserved for generations to come.

Charitable giving also benefits the park’s many educational programs and initiatives, such as the Field Trip Scholarship Fund in Memory of Nathan Pribble, which helps groups from underfunded schools come to Grandfather Mountain’s “classroom in the clouds.”

Those hoping to contribute in their or someone else’s name may do so by visiting www.grandfather.com/donate, which allows them to sponsor a particular project or donate to a cause of their choosing. Those wishing to establish a legacy gift may do so at www.grandfather.com/estate.

Winter Hours

Grandfather Mountain is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day in winter, weather permitting, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ticket sales end at 3:30 p.m., and trails close at 4 p.m.

Guests are required to book their visit online at www.grandfather.com. With the exception of this year’s choose-and-cut Christmas tree promotion, discounts and coupons are valid only when booking online.

During times of inclement weather, park opening is delayed until all roads and paths can be cleared of snow and ice. As such, those planning a trip are encouraged to contact the park’s Entrance Gate before visiting to confirm the day’s conditions.

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com.

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