State Park

Grandfather Mountain State Park

In 2008, an agreement was reached for the state parks system to acquire 2,456 acres along the crest of Grandfather Mountain to become a North Carolina state park.

Commonly referred to as the “backcountry” of Grandfather Mountain, the property which makes up Grandfather Mountain State Park is protected under easements conveyed to The Nature Conservancy in the 1990s.  These agreements restrict State Parks from cutting any roads or erecting any buildings on the protected property.  Therefore, until the State acquires additional acreage on which to build traditional park facilities, amenities at Grandfather Mountain State park are limited to hiking trails only.

At Grandfather Mountain State Park you can trek across a scenic landscape that is home to more than 70 rare and endangered species and 16 distinct natural communities.

Hiking and Camping permits are free and mandatory. Hikers and campers must be able to produce a valid permit when on state park trails or campsites. This permit system ensures safety for hikers and helps us protect the natural resource. Hikers and campers must leave the white copy of the permit in the permit box located at the trail head and keep the yellow copy in their possession. Permits can be obtained from the Profile Trailhead parking area located off of Hwy 105 and along the Tanawha Trail before accessing the Nuwati and Daniel Boone Scout Trails located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

There are three entry points to the hiking trails in Grandfather Mountain State Park. Hikers should be aware of their timing and hiking ability when hiking the trails at Grandfather Mountain. NC State Rangers and Grandfather Mountain attraction staff will not provide rides from any of the trail heads to or from another location. It is the hikers personal responsibility to make appropriate accommodations to get from one place to the other.

West Side – From NC 105 near its intersection with NC 184 in Banner Elk, the trailhead for the Profile Trail offers parking. Near the ridge area, the Profile Trail connects to other trails in the system.

East Side – From the Blue Ridge Parkway area, there are two points of access. Most hikers use the Boone Fork Parking Area at mile 299.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The second is the Parkway’s Asutsi Trail, which is located 1.6 miles south of Holloway Mountain Road on US 221 (the only winter access when the Parkway is closed). From either of these points, hikers can follow the Parkway’s Tanawha Trail south to reach Grandfather’s Nuwati/Daniel Boone Scout Trailhead. (Note: no camping is allowed on trails of the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway).

Grandfather Mountain Attraction – A parking area for hikers located just below the summit area has short connectors that link to the ‘backcountry’ trail system. You may also use this parking area to access the shorter trails within the attraction. Entrance fees apply to all hikers who use this parking area and this entry to the backcountry trail system and hikers must return to their cars at least one hour before the attraction closes.

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  • Last summer I returned to Grandfather Mountain after a more than 40 year absence and the return trip was even more magical than the initial trip. I was able to appreciate the majestic views of nature and all it's splendor with my grown son and my mother. We spent an adventure-filled day stopping at every spot mentioned on the CD and enjoyed a great deal of time in the animal habitats, especially the bears. My son's nickname is Bear, and frankly he resembles at least one of Grandfather Mountain's bears. We went up to the top by car since the hike was a little tough for my mom, however, she and my son crossed the Mile High Swinging Bridge together while I recorded their experience. Upon their return I crossed solo and was able to appreciate the views from the bridge and mentally check "GM Mile high Bridge" off my bucket list. My hope is to be able to visit Grandfather Mountain as often as possible and during every colorful season of the year to watch Mother Nature show off one of her greatest treasures.

    Palm Harbor, FL
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