Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain Is Part Of The Beautiful Appalachian Mountain Range

This fascinating Mountain is the highest point in the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains, which in turn is one of the important chains of the Appalachian Mountain Range. 

A View Of Grandfather Mountain

It is situated near Linville Gorge at the junction of three counties in North Carolina. They are Watauga, Caldwell and Avery County NC. The mountain stands 5,946 above sea level and is best known for its famous "mile-high swinging bridge."

Until 2008 the mountain was in the private ownership of Hugh Morton who had inherited it from his grandfather. The mountain was not named by Morton for his elderly relative but had received its name many years previously. Some pioneers travelling the area saw what looked like the face of an old man in the shape of the rock cliffs of the mountain, hence the name.

The Famous Mile High Swinging Bridge

Hugh Morton had the swinging bridge built in 1952. It joins two prominent peaks on the mountain and gets its name from its tendency to sway in high winds.

A Black Bear Similar To Mildred

Morton also developed part of the mountain as a nature preserve creating an environmental habitat for animals and birds.

Its first occupant was a female Black Bear called Mildred, which he had purchased in 1968 intending to release back into the wilderness on the mountain.

However, the bear refused to leave and so became a familiar sight to the many visitors.

The habitat has since expanded and is now home to Cougar, Deer, River Otters and Eagles

Hugh Morton sadly died in 2006 and in September 2008 his heirs sold a large tract of the undeveloped land on the mountain to the state. These 2,600 acres have been turned by the State into the 34th of the North Carolina State Parks

Visitors are able to camp and hike through Grandfather Mountain State Park but free permits are required. They are available to fill in at the head of all the trails in the area. There are eleven of these and the hiking can vary from extreme to a simple stroll.

Trails on the eastern side of the mountain can be visited from the Boone Fork parking area near milepost 300 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Trails on the west are visited from a point near the intersection of NC 105 with NC 184. Look for a sign saying "Profile Parking."

A View Of Grandfather Mountain From Another Direction

Grandfather Mountain consists of four different named peaks all standing over 5,000 feet high. They are Linville Peak, (5,295 feet) MacRae Peak, (5,844 feet) Attic Window Peak, (5,949 feet) and the highest, Calloway Peak. (5,964 feet)

As well as a number of small streams and creeks, two main rivers have their source on the mountain. Flowing westward is the Watauga River and eastward is the Linville River which cuts its way through Linville Gorge and into Lake James.

To visit the mile-high swinging bridge and the environmental habitat there is an access fee, which is well worth the admission according to the reviews. Presently it is around $15 for adults and $7 for children. To get there you need to find the Grandfather Mountain Entrance Road which is located at 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville NC 28646.

If you are interested in reading about some of the other state parks in North Carolina then a wonderful resource is the American-State-Parks website.