Standing proud in the heart of the Appalachian mountain range, Grandfather mountain is one of the tallest peaks in the region. Lying west of picturesque town of Boone and easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway the area is a popular destination for tourists looking to access a the glorious landscape view and untouched beauty of the contained within.
Centered within the state park, Grandfather mountain rises to a height of 1812m above sea level. The peak itself it actually named Calloway Peak and stands just north of the main visitor center. Located at the visitor center is one of the biggest attractions within the park, The swinging bridge. Suspended at a height of around 5200 ft above sea level the suspension foot bridge spans between to peaks which lead to one of the steepest cliffs of grandfathers ridges. Once crossing the bridge onto the exposed rocky outcrop the views are spectacular and the whole of the skyline opens up looking across to the Grandmother Gap, Linville and the ridge town of grandfather itself.
The state park is also home to a small wildlife park which is focused on preservation of the local ecology and wildlife and is home to seven wild habits housing native animals including black bear, bald eagles, river otters and cougars. Its has to be noted that unfortunately Cougars no longer live in the wild within the state park area and are becoming increasingly rare throughout the Appalachian mountain range.
The grandfather wildlife park is located about half way along the entrance road which finally leads to the visitor center at the peak. Accessible from the same car park as the wildlife attraction is a large eco-friendly lodge building which is home to a small restaurants selling delicious treats where there is the opportunity to dine outside on a balcony with a view of the beautiful valleys below.
Once you arriving at the upper car park and location of the famous swinging bridge you will find another lodge containing a souvenir shop and tourist information. Within the lodge you will be greeted by very informative park workers who will be able to advise on the various trails and answer any questions you wish to ask regarding the park.
The Grandfather state park due to its high elevation is unfortunately only usually open seasonally and opening times are subject to change. Access is still available to hikers and trail walkers entering at various points from the highway but services will be very limited or closed when the main access road in shut to traffic.
Getting to the park:
The entrance is located along the Blowing Rock Highway – US-221 between Linville and Blowing rock. The nearest exit from the Blue ridge parkway is mile marker 305 where the road joins US-221, if heading to Grandfather via this route once joining the highway head south towards Linville.
If travelling from the north or south we recommend going via the Blue Ridge Parkway for the most scenic view.
- Linville – 2.5 miles – 5mins
- Blowing Rock – 15 miles – 30 mins
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