Hike North Carolina Travel

A Visit to the Ol’ Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is a very popular tourist destination, known for its “Mile High Suspension Bridge” and scenic beauty that towers over 5,000 feet above northwest North Carolina.

Below, the photo is the representation of what I most expected from Grandfather Mountain.

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Formed more than a billion years ago, Grandfather Mountain contains some of the oldest geological formations on earth. Called Tanawha (“magnificent hawk” or “eagle”) by the Cherokee Indians, the mountain acquired the name “Grandfather” from early settlers who saw the face of an old man’s profile in the outline of the peaks against the sky.

Since I had only 3 days left to spend in North Carolina, I convinced my Uber driver/friend, Rachel, to take me to Grandfather Mountain.

Now, this is the current entrance fee for Grandfather Mountain. Luckily, I had a Southern Highlands Attraction pass so the entry for both me and Rachel was FREE!  Plus, they give you brochures and even an audio tour CD which I think is PRETTY AWESOME!

Remember the movie “Forrest Gump?” If you do, remember when Forrest ran cross-country from the east to the west?

There was a scene where he and a bunch of people ran a curvy, windy road. That very curve is right here in Grandfather Mountain called Forrest Gump Curve. Pretty cool, huh?

Forrest Gump Curve Then and Now

We parked the car and headed for the famous “mile-high suspension bridge.”

Rachel recording the eerie, echoing sounds

The soothing, yet eerie echoing sounds of the winds make up for an amazing, surreal experience despite the crummy weather.

The extremely foggy views from the mile-high bridge

I honestly wish I could send the sound to you guys, but if you happen to visit on a very windy day, chances are you will hear the exact eerie, echoing sounds.

Past the rocks, Rachel and I both scrambled past rocks in order to take more photos. Being the daredevils we are, Rachel and I posed on top of rocks for fun!

After the suspension bridge, we hiked to Macrae Peak. This trail starts past the huge sign that says, “Grandfather Trail” with an emphasis on “This Trail Is Very Difficult.”

Honestly, I believe anyone can do it if they have a pretty damn good willpower.

The trail starts at a steep, rocky incline so be prepared for a leg workout.

We kept trudging uphill until we came across Macrae View.

Keep following the sign until you see Grandfather Gap.

Eventually the trail starts to become more of a scramble as we climbed ladders and even rocks.

We finally made it to the top of Macrae Peak! We took this moment to take photos aside from the strong winds. The winds were so strong that it almost knocked my tiny little body off the cliff.

The foggy view uptop Macrae Peak. Can you tell how strong the winds are?

So if you’re standing near the cliff, be extra cautious as not to slip off the mountain! 

Afterwards, we decided to take an alternative route. This means we used the cables to descend the huge boulders. I recommend if you’re taking this route, you descend the cables backwards. Think of it like you’re Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible.

Later, the trail became even more rocky as we approached what looked like a dried-up river bed. This trail makes rock-hopping much more fun, but be careful as the rocks are quite slick and covered in moss.

Once we passed the piles of rocks, the trail became much more noticeable and we followed the trail until we reached back to the parking lot.

Hike back down the parking lot

Would I recommend Grandfather Mountain? ABSOLUTELY!!! But like I mentioned before, make sure to check the weather beforehand.

Macrae Peak

Distance: 2.5 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1000 ft.

Time: 2-3 hours

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