Attractions > Grandfather Mountain Information

Grandfather Mountain

a fantastic place to spend a day enjoying the beauty of nature

grandfather mountain view

Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This state owned park is home to 16 distinct natural communities, with 70 rare or endangered species, 29 that are globally imperiled. It is a natural animal habitat providing homes to native wildlife which includes black bears, river otters, deer, cougars and eagles. The mountains ecological system is said to be one of the most diverse in the region.

Should you choose to hike Grandfather's trails from the attraction side, driving up from the gate, you have access to all aspects of the attraction while you are there, including four inside park trails. Grandfather Extension Trail, Bridge Trail, Black Rock Nature Trail, and Woods Walk.

Near the top of the mountain, there is an amazing bridge called the Mile High Swinging Bridge that you can walk across. Located more than a mile above sea level, it was rebuilt in 2000 to span an 80 foot deep ravine. On this mountain you can see animals native to the high country such as black bears, deer, otters, panthers, golden & bald eagles.

The Nature Museum has award winning films in the auditorium, you can tour a gallery of excellent exhibits about the area's natural history and also enjoy spending time with a staff naturalist learning about the fascinating life on this amazing mountain. You can even stop for lunch at Mildred's Grill.


Grandfather Mountain was named by pioneers who saw the face of an old man in one of the cliffs. In 1952 Hugh Morton, an accomplished nature photographer, became the sole owner of Grandfather Mountain. His mission was to preserve and protect Grandfather Mountain in its natural state. It is now operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, a non-profit organization.

Things To Do

mile high swinging bridge

The Mile High Swinging Bridge is the central attraction at Grandfather Mountain. 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. The abrupt way the mountain rises above the surrounding area makes Grandfather Mountain appear taller than other higher peaks in the Carolinas. On some days you will be above the clouds and viewing the thick fog from that height is an event in itself.

The Nature Museum Restaurant offers soups, salads, sandwiches and picnic items. The window seats provide a view of the birds crowding the birdfeeders. If you prefer you can picnic at one the over 100 picnic tables and truly experience the nature and outdoors.

Learn about the natural history of the region through the exhibits at the Nature Museum, or by watching one of the nature movies at the theater. The maintained hiking trails offer some of the best alpine hiking trails of the south with 11 trails that range in difficulty from easy to strenuous.

If you are looking for an easier hike you can take the road that leads up to the visitor center located at the top of Grandfather Mountain. The ride up is an adventure in itself. The switchback road is narrow and winding and not for the faint of heart. Each year rock climbers visit Grandfather Mountain to navigate the rocky headwalls of Grandfather backcountry.


Grandfather Mountain is a scenic stop located one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.

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