Key reasons to visit
Grandfather Mountain's 13-mile trail system offers amazing diversity, at times threading through blueberry patches, around house-sized boulders, up one of eleven ladders used to traverse steep sections, or down a stone staircase fashioned from a dried-up stream bed. Considered the best alpine hiking in the South, a hiking party can cross through a dozen or more ecological communities and pass through a variety of forest types and climate zones on a single outing.
The Virginia Big-eared Bat is only one of 73 rare or endangered species that thrive at Grandfather Mountain. Discover more about the place The Nature Conservancy considers the most biologically diverse mountain in the East.
Spruce-fir forest, unexpected populations of northern species such as the Saw-whet Owl and Northern Flying Squirrel, and an average mean temperature of 45.9 degrees testify that Grandfather Mountain is one of the few places south of Canada to encounter life in the boreal climate zone.
Hiking Grandfather Mountain doesn't have to be frightening to couch potatoes! The Bridge Trail was added in 1996 as a way to channel visitors toward a shorter, more gradual outdoor challenge while fulfilling the visitors' desire to tell their friends that they hiked Grandfather Mountain. The Woods Walk was added in 1997 to make nature accessible on an even more moderate level.
The unique ecosystem on Grandfather Mountain sustains the most diverse population of nesting birds in the Southern Appalachians. Grandfather Mountain responds to the exploding interest in bird-watching by offering bird walks led by area ornithologists and staff naturalists.
Due to a combination of geology, geography and climate that supports 16 distinct ecological communities in less than 5,000 acres, Grandfather Mountain is recognized as one of the most biologically diverse tracts of land on the planet. Twelve miles of well-maintained trails give guests access to this spectacularly varied backcountry terrain.
Mountain Moves Muir John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and father of America's National Parks, began to jump about and sing upon reaching the top of Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather celebrated the 110th anniversary of this memorable moment on September 26, 2008.
The Cherokee called it "Tanawha" or "Great Hawk," and held its high peaks in great reverence, as did Daniel Boone and other frontiersmen who climbed and hunted its slopes. The mountain continues to inspire works of art in the hill and valley communities beneath it. Included in The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina, a guidebook to an artfully meandering system of routes that take travelers to the front porches and showrooms of the region's master crafts people, Grandfather is one of 58 stops on the "High Country Ramble."
Colorful tents encircle a highland meadow, hundreds of tartan banners fill the air, and brawny kilt-clad champions come forth, like Braveheart, to compete with heavy stones and the trunks of trees. The world's largest annual gathering of Scottish clans is not in the highlands of Scotland, but rather, in the highlands of North Carolina.
July 9-12, 2009 and July 8-11, 2010
Always held on the second full weekend in July. The earliest the Games will occur is July 6-9 (in years when the first of July falls on a Saturday) and the latest it occurs is July 12-15 (in years when the first of July falls on a Sunday).
US Highway 221, two miles north of Linville, NC, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.