Western North Carolina is spectacular with natural mountain beauty and Grandfather Mountain epitomizes this. As their brochure states,
“A mountain majestic enough for the greatest adventure – or the very smallest.”
The road to the mountain is curvy and steep. Be attentive in the drive as this trek is not for the ill equipped. Then this vision appears and the saga of the drive is forgotten.
A short jaunt from this vision is the sign for the venue and information cabin.
Learned the mountain was sold out for the day, however, in checking further the ranger found a cancellation so was able to visit. WHEW! Since numbers are limited due to covid, the site has a web site for reservations, http://www.grandfather.com. Be sure to book prior to the journey. Cost for the visit is expensive for families, there is a base fee then per person charge, but worth it. Recommend starting early in the day as there is better chance to see the animals in their habitat at this time.
After obtaining tickets, and passing through the booth, the adventure begins…
The first stop off.
This is a short and easy trail for those wishing a reprieve from the drive. Beyond this trails become steeper and are for moderate hikers. There are picnic benches throughout the site with impeccable views. Bring a lunch as the cafeteria is currently under renovation. And warm clothes are a must. Was glad to have warm mittens, a scarf, and ear muffs. Bring the same as with increasing elevation weather changes are fast and unpredictable.
Famous rock formations that children will love to explore.
From this parking lot there is a paved walk to the Animal Habitat or you may drive to a parking lot closer to the Habitat. Was told several years ago there was a tamed bear that roamed the Animal Habitat, however she has since passed. This area also has an open Fudge Shop, with candies, cocoa, or coffee. The adjacent cafeteria building has open rest rooms with a short exhibit regarding the area and an over priced gift shop.
Back to the Habitat..
The Otters and Bears were hiding during the visit. Here’s what is available in signage and sculpture.
On to the Mile High Swinging Bridge..
Parked in Bridge Trail parking lot for a hike to the Bridge. Seeing this sign changed my thoughts as the trail was moderate, steep, and laden with rocks. The time was 3:45 so back tracked and drove to the Bridge.
Once at the Bridge the weather became intense with strong winds. Tried to go over the Bridge however due to balance concerns decided to observe from afar. Here are some pictures.
While there rangers were busily chaining the entry to all hiking trails surrounding the Bridge. This can be understood and would not want the job of trying to find adventurous hikers after hours on this mountain.
Here’s the garb worn at the top.
What an amazing visit and day..
Catch me in my next adventure..