Grandfather Mountain Trails, (Linville)

Go to http://www.grandfather.com for more infomation.


Crest Trails

Grandfather Trail......................Blue Blazed....................2.4 miles (3.8 km)

An upper mountain ridge trail of astonishing variety, running in and out of wind-dwarfed spruce and fir, across or around rock walls and pinnacles, and into open spaces with views of mountains unfurling in every direction. The jumbled-up, rocky features of this trail are so massive and distinct they appear to have cropped up by mistake–then decided to hang around for another millennia or two.

The route follows the crest of Grandfather Mountain from the Swinging Bridge Parking Area out 2.4 miles to Calloway Peak. It was along this trail two centuries ago that explorer botanist Andre Michaux broke into song thinking he had arrived at the high point of North America.

The pace is often slow. There are chutes where progress is hand-over-hand and some extra steep sections where hikers use in-place cables and ladders. An alternative to taking the ladders up MacRae Peak is to opt for the more sheltered Underwood Trail (see below).


Underwood Trail junction.......... 0.5 mi (0.8 km)
MacRae Peak ................... .....1.0 mi (1.6 km)......2 hrs. round trip
MacRae Gap .........................1.1 mi (1.7 km)
Attic Window Peak..................1.2 mi (1.9 km)......3 hrs. round trip
Indian House Cave ..................1.3 mi (2.1 km)
Alpine Meadow ......................1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Calloway Gap ........................1.9 mi (3.0 km)
Cliffside Campsite ...................2.0 mi (3.2 km)
Watauga View ........................2.3 mi (3.7 km)
Calloway Peak .......................2.4 mi (3.8 km)......5 hrs. round trip


Underwood Trail.........................Yellow-Blazed................0.5 mile (0.8 km)

Splitting off the Grandfather Trail near the half mile marker, the Underwood Trail bypasses ladder climbs on MacRae Peak, rejoining the Grandfather Trail at MacRae Gap, about a mile out. The trail makes a steep, rocky loop under the crest line around Raven Rock Cliffs. Going out along Grandfather and returning along Underwood makes an excellent loop hike from the Swinging Bridge.

East Side Trails

There are two points for accessing East Side trails. Most hikers use the Boone Fork Parking Area at mile 299.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The alternative is the A-su-tsi Trail which begins across from Serenity Farm on US 221–the only winter access when the Parkway is closed.

From Boone Fork or Serenity Farm parking areas, hikers can follow the Ta-na-wha Trail south to the Nu-wa-ti and Daniel Boone Scout Trailheads. Built and maintained by the US Park Service, the Tanawha Trail winds easily
along the mountainside parallel to the Parkway. No fee is charged for its use and no camping is allowed along its length.


Daniel Boone Scout Trail.......White Blazed.........2.6 miles (4.2 km) from trailhead

Ascending about 2,000 feet over 2.6 miles, this hike begins at the Tanawha Trail and climbs to the summit of Calloway Peak (5,964'), the highest point in the Blue Ridge Range. About half way up, at Flat Rock View, hikers reach the junction of Cragway Trail.

The upper half of the Boone Trail is rough-going but spiced with some exquisite views, including one of Price Park and one of the Linn Cove Viaduct. Just before Calloway Peak, in-place ladders and cables help hikers through steep sections. (Closest permit outlet: Grandfather Mountain Country Store at the junction of US 221 and the Holloway Mountain road.)

Daniel Boone Campsite and Cragway junction......1.3 mi (2.1 km)........2 hrs. round trip


Briar Patch Campsite ...................................2.0 mi (3.2 km)
Linn Cove Viaduct View................................2.2 mi (3.5km).......3.5 hrs. round trip
Hi-Balsam Shelter .......................................2.3 mi (3.7 km)
Raven’s Roost Campsite ...............................2.4 mi (3.9 km)
Calloway Peak ...........................................2.6 mi (4.2km).......4.5 hrs. round trip


Nu-wa-ti Trail .....................Blue Blazed...................1.2 miles (1.9 km)

This trail, meaning “medicine” in the Cherokee language, follows the print of an old logging road 1.2 miles. It's an easy but rocky hike, ending at Storyteller's Rock and a truly spectacular view of an isolated valley some geologists say was carved by a glacier. Along the way, there are stream crossings, a solitary stand of Quaking Aspens, and reminders of  logging
days gone by.

Nuwati Spring ....................0.2 mi (0.3 km)
Nuwati-Cragway Jct..............0.6 mi (1.0 km)
Streamside Campsite .............0.7 mi (1.2 km)
Storyteller’s Rock Campsite,
Refuge Campsite,
and Boone Bowl View ...........1.2 mi (1.9 km)


Cragway Trail ......................Orange Blazed.............1.0 mile (1.6 km)


A steep, strenuous hike with lovely vistas. Boulders and crags jut out here and there opening up elevated (and elevating) views of the Boone Fork Bowl. This trail links Nuwati and Boone Trails and makes a fine loop-hike, passing through rhododendron and blueberry thickets. A hiking option coming down the Boone Trail when returning to cars is to follow Cragway Trail to the Nuwati.

Lower Crag ..........................................................0.3 mi (0.5 km)
Top Crag .............................................................0.4mi (0.6 km)
Flat Rock View and junction with Boone Scout Trail ..........1.0 mi (1.6 km)


A-su-tsi Trail.........................No Blaze.....................0.4 mile (0.6 km)

Asutsi means “bridge” in the Cherokee language. This short, easy trail (0.4 miles) links Serenity Farm on US 221 and the Tanawha Trail, providing alternative access to Nuwati and Boone Trails. Winter access to the East Side Trails.