Climbing up the back side of the mountain (opposite the famed mile-high swinging bridge) this trail is fee-free and easy-to-access with its own parking lot. For more things to do in the area and places to stay, go to our Banner Elk Guide. As America’s highest suspension footbridge, the Bridge was actually built to provide visitors easy access to the inspiring view from the Grandfather Mountain … An alternative to taking the ladders up MacRae Peak (5,845 feet) is to opt for the more sheltered Underwood Trail. — Designed by – Charles Hartman Jr. of Greensboro, N.C.— Construction – Fabricated in Greensboro and then reassembled on top of the Mountain. Our favorite hike is going out along Grandfather Trail and returning along Underwood Trail. Purchase tickets at the gate. Several lofty alpine hiking trails begin from this parking area. The most scenic route is taking the Blue Ridge Parkway north from Asheville (about 90 miles from downtown, allow 2.5 hours) to Milepost 305 - take the US 221 Highway/Linville exit just before the Linn Cove Viaduct. The attraction side of the mountain, which includes the Mile High Swinging Bridge, is accessed via Grandfather Mountain Entrance Road. William B. Umstead. There is no charge for accessing the State Park from the trailheads here. One of the main advantages of the modern building materials is that they do not have to be painted. 168 reviews of Grandfather Mountain "Grandfather Mountain is a place that will take your breath away. Grandfather Mountain has long been a popular North Carolina destination. Viewing areas give you an up-close perspective of the animals. Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. […] Or you can take the ladders to MacRae Peak and take the Underwood Trail back (it's easier to go up the ladders than go down!). While guests will still be able to enjoy Grandfather Mountain’s many wonders, including the Mile High Swinging Bridge, environmental wildlife habitats and hiking, the park will be operating in a modified capacity to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Just down the mountain a bit are environmental habitats and nature museum. I loved that upon entry to park they give you a CD to listen to as you drive to the top with information and history at points during your drive. Grandfather Mountain Highlands Region | Linville & Avery County. The 360° degree panoramic views from the bridge are mesmerizing. The bridge has been in place since 1952 — and for just as long it’s excited the thousands who’ve walked across with the thrills of mile-high elevation. Yuri wanted to run on the bridge, but we stopped him, so that it wouldn’t disturb other people. Linville, NC 28646. This is a favorite photo opportunity for visitors, as is the breathtaking panoramic view it affords. The name ”Mile High Swinging Bridge” was framed by former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. Wildlife Habitats & Nature Museum Grandfather has environmental habitats for black bears, river otters, cougars, eagles and elk. This is probably the most iconic portion of the park! A short drive from the Parkway on US 221 South is the park entrance. Or continue for 1.5 miles to reach Calloway Peak, the highest point of Grandfather. Located near the fun small town of Banner Elk, the longtime attraction has many things to do and see. Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge was built in 1952 at a cost of $15,000. This measure aims to help limit the number of guests in the park at one time, in accordance with the state of North Carolina's social gathering guidelines. From witnessing the black bears, to walking across the Mile High Swinging Bridge – there’s plenty of easily accessible adventure here. Please note: the Grandfather Mountain attraction (Mile-High Swinging Bridge) is managed by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Club members have the opportunity to enjoy various Bridge games among the company of good friends and make new connections over some friendly … See the mountain views from the Mile-High Swinging Bridge atop Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. Admittance fees are charged at the main gate. This challenging hike is about 6.2 miles round-trip, gaining 1,800 ft. in elevation. The Mile High Swinging Bridge, America’s highest suspension footbridge, was built to give visitors easy access to the breathtaking view from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak. While geologists believe that Grandfather Mountain was formed about 300 million years ago, some of the rock formations on Grandfather Mountain are even older than the mountain itself, dating back 1.1 billion years. Located near the fun small town of Banner Elk, the longtime attraction has many things to do and see. It's a great spot for a picnic! What a great trip I had. About the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The backcountry of Grandfather is now a North Carolina State Park. Underwood TrailSplitting off the Grandfather Trail near the half mile marker, the Underwood Trail bypasses ladder climbs on MacRae Peak, rejoining the Grandfather Trail at MacRae Gap, about a mile out. The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. Top Things to Do at Grandfather Mountain. The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. A true landmark of a pioneering spirit, the Mile High Swinging Bridge welcomes all visitors to admire 360-degree panoramic views from Grandfather Mountain. Please visit their website for their current operating status. The term “mile high” refers to the structure’s elevation above sea level (5,280 feet). Mile High Swinging Bridge — As the name suggests, the Mile High Swinging Bridge is a mile above sea level and offers you a thrilling platform for admiring the 360-degree panoramic views at Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountain range (elevation 5,946 ft.), is 70 miles from Asheville, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the mountain’s best-known pastimes is a walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The route follows the crest of Grandfather Mountain from the Hiker's Parking Area near the summit, about 2.4 miles to Calloway Peak (or do a shorter hike to MacRae Peak). The Mile High Swinging Bridge is the central attraction at Grandfather Mountain. Follow the Underwood Trail back to the Swinging Bridge. Grandfather Mountain Swinging Bridge. Hugh Morton inherited Grandfather Mountain in 1952 with a dream of creating the Mile High Swinging Bridge, according to Our State. An elevator gives visitors in wheelchairs access to the Bridge. Drive to the ridgetop with a gift shop and the Swinging Bridge. Grandfather Mountain is a popular tourist attraction located atop one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This bridge was a highlight in our Grandfather Mountain experience. The bridge is at an exact elevation of 5,280 feet, or 1 mile. There are chutes where progress is hand-over-hand and some extra steep sections where you use in-place cables and ladders. Admission for adults (ages 13-59) is $22, seniors $18 and children (ages 4-12) $9 each. This 220 foot suspension bridge over an 80 foot wide cleft will take you up to Linville Peak for a 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It gives you amazing views everywhere you turn. It is Grandfather's abrupt rise above the valley floor that causes the change in elevation and climate conditions that supports such a diversity of life. Grandfather’s Unique Ecology; Sustainability at Grandfather; History of the Mountain; Media; Connect. Mile 5.9 – Across the Mile High Swinging Bridge is the 4th named peak on Grandfather Mountain – Linville Peak (5,295 feet). The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. The Linn Cove Viaduct is a 1,243 feet (379 m) long, concrete segmental bridge which snakes around Grandfather Mountain in western North Carolina.Completed in 1983 at a cost of $10 million, it was one of the last major construction projects on the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs 469 miles (755 km) linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once inside the park there are numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, bar-b-que pits and grills (bring your own food! Special Information. While many choose to drive to the summit and take it all in, even the drive can be a bit stomach dropping. About the Mile High Swinging Bridge The Mile High Swinging Bridge, America’s highest suspension footbridge, was built to give visitors easy access to the breathtaking view from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak. 163 reviews of Grandfather Mountain "Grandfather Mountain is a place that will take your breath away. It was a blustery windy day as well as foggy the higher up into the mountain. Grandfather Mountain supports sixteen distinct ecological communities, each supporting its own unique web of life. Guests at the attraction may access the State Park trail system from the Swinging Bridge. Whether you cross it to challenge yourself, for the scenery, or to admire this engineering masterpiece, the experience will make your trip to Grandfather complete. And don't forget the camera! Receive Our Newsletter; Grandfather Mountain Videos; Reviews The term “swinging” refers to the fact that suspension bridges are free to sway. The new Top Shop provides elevator access to the Mile High Swinging Bridge, making the span accessible to people with disabilities for the first time. At the stoplight turn left and follow US 221 North to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain (about 30 miles). 2020 UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, Grandfather Mountain is requiring that guests book their visit in advance through their online reservation system. Take Exit #85. While it is not as tall as Mt. It is built around the mountain and is an engineering marvel. Generally, state parks are following the phased reopening statewide. Getting ThereThe fastest route (70 miles) from Asheville is taking I-40 East to Marion, NC. The Woods Walk picnic area located on the right about 1/3 of a mile up the summit road has a water fountain and restrooms. Phone 828-733-4326 for reservations. Surveys show that the journey to the other side is always considered the highlight of a trip to Grandfather Mountain. Menu. Read above for using this trail as an alternate return from MacRae Peak. It’s a truly awe inspiring attraction that’s just close enough to make it a reasonable day trip activity. The Mile High Swinging Bridge has captured imaginations since Grandfather Mountain’s original owner, Hugh Morton, installed the suspension bridge in 1952 across a chasm near the peak. Guests purchase tickets at the foot of the mountain and drive up the crooked drive. The Grandfather Mountain attraction borders on Grandfather Mountain State Park. Here's the fall view of Grandfather Mountain from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Guided tours and guided hikes with the Mountain's naturalists are available for an additional fee. Everyone traveling in western North Carolina should visit it once. The mountain attractions are operated by a non-profit foundation and one ticket price includes everything. The trail makes a steep, rocky loop under the crest line around Raven Rock Cliffs. What to do at Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge. 2050 Blowing Rock Highway Turn left at the bottom of the ramp and go one mile to a stoplight. A true landmark of a pioneering spirit, the Mile High Swinging Bridge welcomes all visitors to admire 360-degree panoramic views from Grandfather Mountain. Erecting the bridge took three weeks, a process slowed by inclement weather created by a hurricane off the North Carolina coast— Cost – $15,000— Dedicated – Sept. 2, 1952 by North Carolina Gov. All guests and passholders planning a trip to Grandfather Mountain must now purchase their tickets or book a reservation online. You will definitely want to set aside the whole day for a trip there. Park Entrance Street GPS Address: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646. A highlight of a visit to Grandfather Mountain is crossing the “Mile High Swinging Bridge,” a 228-foot suspension bridge that spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. You should try to drive over the Linville gorge viaduct, which is the finishing piece of the blue ridge parkway. In 1992, Grandfather Mountain was accepted into the international network of biosphere reserves. Special activities and programs with the Mountain's naturalists are presented daily during the summer months and included in the admission. Also, take warmer clothing since it is often 20 degrees cooler on the summit than in Asheville. Grandfather’s lofty heights offer guests opportunities for rejuvenation, excitement and family memories in a natural haven that will endure forever. The mile-high swinging bridge has been in place since 1952 and offers 360-degree panoramic views from Grandfather Mountain. Former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker coined the name ” Mile High Swinging Bridge” at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. In addition to being one of the top scenic attractions in North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain is recognized by the United Nations as a nature Biosphere Reserve of global importance. There are several hiking trails at Grandfather, but once you cross the bridge, you mainly just have an amazing view of the Linville gorge. Attractions there include the mile high swinging bridge, the nature museum, wildlife walking and habitat viewing, and more. Here's the fall view of Grandfather Mountain from the Blue Ridge Parkway. For something sweet, check out the Fudge Shop! The park entrance fee is a little high, about $15 dollars per vehicle, but they do offer AAA discounts. Surveys show that the journey to the other side is always considered the highlight of a trip to … The Mile-High Swinging Bridge is the highest suspension footbridge in America constructed so that people could enjoy the spectacular view from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak. The bridge is a mile above sea level and America’s highest suspension footbridge. Location: Across from the Peddlin' Pig restaurant - GPS address is 4198 NC Highway 105 N, Banner Elk. Children under the age of four are always free. To go to MacRae Peak, it's a butt-kicking two-mile round-trip hike. Each year, it attracts about 250,000 tourists who spend the day hiking, viewing animals, visiting the nature museum and picnicking. There is an elevator making it accessible for all and a gift shop at the top. Profile TrailThis popular trail to the top of Grandfather Mountain begins from N.C. Highway 105, near the intersection with N.C. 184 in Banner Elk. The Top Shop has three floors with gift shop and snack bar. Once inside the park there are numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, bar-b-que pits and grills (bring your own food! The top section is very strenuous and rocky as you reach Calloway Peak (5,946 ft.) with breathtaking views. Allow two hours for this short hike packed with amazing scenery. The summit is known for extreme weather year-round including high winds (they set a record of 121 MPH in February 2019). Today the Bridge thrills visitors with its mile-high elevation. Now Grandfather Mountain employees will not have to hang out over the gorge to paint the span. Follows the length of Grandfather Mountain's summit ridge from the Attraction area near the Swinging Bridge to the summit of Calloway Peak. Free admission to the Grandfather Mountain State Park trails is also available from locations outside of the tourist attraction. Bring your own picnic, or purchase hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, chicken tenders and more to go from Mildred's Grill restaurant at the Nature Museum. The original Cherokee name for the mountain was “Tanawha,” meaning “a fabulous eagle.” It was named “Grandfather” by pioneers who recognized the face of an old man in one of the cliffs. Scottish GamesDon't miss the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Grandfather Mountain is a globally-recognized nature preserve and home to the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge. [COVID-19 Update: Grandfather Mountain is scheduled to be open during the summer and fall of 2020, but with certain limitations and protocols in place.For full details, see this article. Mile High Swinging Bridge. If you're looking for a challenge and hoping to escape the crowds at Grandfather Mountain, this is the hike for you. To reach Grandfather's highest peak, continue to Calloway Peak for a five-mile round-trip trek. Travels through a spruce-fir forest, up and around rock walls and pinnacles, and through open meadows. The Mile High Swinging Bridge, America’s highest suspension footbridge, was built to give visitors easy access to the breathtaking view from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak. The cables, floor boards and side rails were all replaced using galvanized steel. The park entrance fee is a little high, about $15 dollars per vehicle, but they do offer AAA discounts. However the bridge is only 80 feet above the gap between the parking lot and Linville Peak. Everyone traveling in western North Carolina should visit it once. Take hiking shoes with a good grip since you will be walking on rocky surfaces. Picnics More than 100 picnic tables and grills are scattered throughout the park. Location Cross the bridge to reach Linville Peak. At Grandfather Mountain, “Wonders Never Cease”. See the latest on seasonal things to do and events in this High Country town with Grandfather Mountain, ski resorts, restaurants, Wildcat Lake, hiking, wineries, places to stay and more. Arrive by 11 AM if you plan to get in some hiking, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy the amazing views. Mitchell, it offers more rugged terrain and dramatic vistas from its rocky summit. Banner Elk is a quaint mountain village between the, The first alpine coaster in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains opened in, Opening day for 2020 is November 21st!The village of, Find Updates and Reopenings in Asheville & Western North Carolina. Hiking the Summit TrailsMore than 12 miles of regularly maintained trails range in difficulty from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry challenges. When you reach MacRae Peak, climb a short ladder to get atop the rock for 360-degree views. It begins as an easy stroll across the Watauga River and through the woods. A aquarium-like area allows you to watch the playful otters above or below the water. Part or all of the attraction is sometimes closed due to frequently inclement weather in the late fall, winter, and spring. It is about 50 yards from the building to the bridge, and a bench is located near the bridge. Grandfather TrailAn upper mountain ridge trail of astonishing variety, running in and out of wind-dwarfed spruce and fir, across or around rock walls and pinnacles, and into open spaces with views of mountains unfurling in every direction. Quite often, fog and clouds cover the summit. The drive to Grandfather Mountain was a beautiful and amazing drive. After climbing down from MacRae Peak, continue on the Grandfather Trail about 1/4 of a mile to the Underwood Trail. Located beside Sugar Mountain (elevation 5,236 feet) is the famous Grandfather Mountain (elevation 5,946 feet) with the popular mile-high swinging bridge. What is Grandfather Mountain? Being winter the hiking trails were closed. The bridge has been in place since 1952, and for just as long it’s excited the thousands who’ve walked across with the thrills of mile-high elevation. Grandfather Mountain is a globally-recognized nature preserve and home to the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge. A favored activity at Grandfather Golf and Country Club is participating in weekly card games in the clubhouse. The bridge doesn’t feel like it’s constantly swinging, but once you stop walking you can feel it lightly swaying back and forth. The bridge was rebuilt using the original towers. If you are hiking at the top, park at the Black Rock parking area near the summit. — Redesigned by – Sutton, Kennerly & Associates Engineering of Asheville, N.C.— Rebuilt by – Taylor & Murphy Construction Company of Asheville, N.C.— Cost of rebuilding – $300,000, © 2021 GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN : Wonders Never Cease. Join the Bridge Club Enjoy greater access to the wonders of Grandfather Mountain, save on your visits, and help build a bridge to the future so that generations to come can experience nature and beauty the way we do today. TicketsGrandfather Mountain is open daily, weather permitting, except Thanksgiving & Christmas Day. 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