Grandfather Trail Extension - Mountain

Blowing Rock, North Carolina 28605

Distance2.2mi
Elevation Gain2,765ft
Trailhead Elevation5,028ft
Top5,918ft
Elevation Min/Max5023/5918ft
Elevation Start/End5028/5028ft

Grandfather Trail Extension - Mountain

Grandfather Trail Extension-Mountain is a hiking trail in Avery County, Watauga County, and Caldwell County, North Carolina. It is 2.2 miles long and begins at 5,028 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,765 feet. The Top Shop Hiking Trail Parking Lot parking is near the trailhead. The Cliffside camp site, Raven Rocks (elevation 5,735 feet), and the Watauga View viewpoint can be seen along the trail. The trail ends near the Calloway Peak (elevation 5,919 feet) viewpoint. This trail connects with the following: Profile Trail, Underwood Trail, Black Rock Trail and Daniel Boone Scout Trail.

Grandfather Trail Extension - Mountain Reviews

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7/16/2018
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3/10/2012
The other reviews of this trail are spot on. I have had this one on my list for a few years, it is strenuous but far from boring. I'm thrilled to have finally made the trip and can't wait to share it with friends and family. One note on the earliest review from 2002 - Grandfather Mountain is now part of the State Park System so there are no trail use fees and parking, at least along Hwy 105, is free!!
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3/21/2011
Note that we went in late March. Though the temperature was mild, is was WINDY. We first did the touristy thing and crossed the Mile-high bridge (in gusts of 50 mph), but we really came for the hiking. We started on the well-marked Grandfather trail on the north side of the parking area. The first part was pretty easy going, and luckily sheltered from the wind. At the junction with the Underwood Trail, we decided to bear left and take the 'protected' route. This trail is mainly in the woods and involves a pretty strenous climb up a set of stone steps...some natural and some engineered. At the top of the climb in the only ladder on this trail, not too intimidating. At MacRae Gap, we kept right and climbed up to MacRae Peak. The actual peak involves a ladder climb onto the actual summit rock...an adventure in the high winds. But the 360 view was worth it. We headed back to the parking area on Gradfather trail, rather than back-tracking on Underwood. If it's windy, you'll feel the full force on this 'unprotected' route, much following the rocky ridgeline on the way down. For the faint-at-heart the series of ladders down is a bit intimidating, but once down it's fairly easy back to the start. If we'd known the details of the ladders, we'd probably do this loop counter-clockwise. All in all, it's a great little hike. Make sure you grab a trail map at the entrance.
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5/23/2010
The Nuwati trail is really very pretty with a couple of pretty streams to cross with huge boulders and a couple of teensy waterfalls (I'd say the highest is maybe 3 ft, but the streams with all the massive rocks are gorgeous). You'll need to cross the streams walking over rocks (it's not marked here, so you may think it's the end) to get to Storyteller's at the end, and then scramble up the rock for the great view. You should really do this if you can, the view is really pretty. When we were on our way back down the Nuwati towards the Boone Fork trail, we encountered a couple who had just run back in our direction from about 50 yards ahead. They had just come across a large black bear that was sitting on the trail. They hadn't known what to do, so they were basically just waiting it out for the bear to move on. The best thing I can tell anyone who comes across a black bear is to just make a lot of noise, they don't like it and will usually take off. We walked with them, clapping our hands and yelling, which hopefully didn't bother any other people in the area, but it was neccessary at the time. Please be aware that the signs that say "you're in bear country" aren't kidding. They're there. Gorgeous hike, the Nuwati trail.
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5/10/2010
Fantastic hike! We started at the Boone Fork Parking area on the parkway, took the Tanawha Trail up to Daniel Boone Scout Trail to the peak and returned via Scout Trail to Cragway, and then Nuwati, and Tanawha back to the car. Tanawha Trail is a nice warm-up. Don’t miss the hiking/camping permits required at the Nuwati trailhead before continuing on to Scout Trail (we did pass a ranger on the way down from the peak that asked if we had a permit.)The scout Trail is strenuous but not too bad, a little boring until you get higher up, but then lots of nice rocks and views. There is one pretty steep rock to climb up just before the viaduct view (we lost the trail for a bit because the white blaze is midway up the rock.) There are 3 ladders and a wire handrail required to reach the peak; I don’t think a dog would be able to do it. While our hike was in May and the high this day was 57F, it felt colder and we saw ice near the top. Calloway Peak is well worth the climb and a great spot for lunch. Cragway Trail was a great surprise! The trail hugs the rocky edge and there are several large rocks to climb out on for photo ops, great views of the peaks, and fancy little rare Alleghany flowers to avoid trampling. Nuwati is a very easy stroll back to the car with little wildflowers and a couple of streams. There is a bridge over some nice little falls right near the parking lot. We started around 9am and finished around 3pm. This time includes a leisurely lunch and exploring at the top, each viewpoint, and each camping area as well as frequent stops to breathe in nature and snack. Also check out the craft gallery at the Moses H Cone House about 6 miles south of the parking area.
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7/15/2009
you will definitely pay a lot for this one, but there is a zoo at the top, and great views!
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8/6/2008
Grandfather Mountain has the most spectacular and challenging trails that I have found east of the Mississippi. Me, my wife and kids hiked the Profile Trail up to MacRae Peak on 8/4, then my wife and I returned without the kids to hike the Profile Trail again. This time we took a left on the ridge line and checked out Callaway Peak. Both peaks atop Grandfather yielded spectacular views! Then we hiked down the Daniel Boone Scout trail which was a very beautiful hike thru old forest. If you look closely, you might spot the plane crash about 20 - 30 yards off the left side of the trail a mile or so below Callaway. Later on down the DB trail, there is a great view of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Viaduct. Then we took the Cragway trail to the Nuwati (very pretty forest and streams) and then finally the Tanawha trail over to Holloway Mountain Road. By this time we were totally spent but had not arranged a ride so hiked another four miles back to the Grandfather Campground where we were staying. This was by far the longest hike we have ever done, at 17 miles, but the contrast in scenery going up one side of Grandfather, across the ridge line, down the other side, and finally thru horse pasture with it's own awesome views of Grandfather make this hike second to none!
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8/15/2004
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11/2/2003
Grandfather Trail is a wonderful hike! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a challenging but breathtaking hike. There is also a wild animal refuge at Grandfather Mountain so do your part to fatten up the domesticated Black Bears.
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10/31/2002
This is a really neat hike. You have to climb several ladders up the side of the cliffs. The trail is rock 90% of the time. Not a trail for the faint of heart, this hike provides breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The biggest drawback is the 10.00 you have to pay to enter the private Grandfather Mountain area. Definately a highly recommended hike.
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Grandfather Trail Extension - Mountain Photos

Trail Information

Blowing Rock
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
The Blue Ridge Parkway 199 Hemphill Knob Road Asheville, NC 28803-8686 (828) 271-4779 (828) 298-0398
Local Contacts
USGS Grandfather Mountain. The best map for the hike is the Grandfather Mountain attraction trail map, downloadable from the attraction website and available free at the Grandfather Mountain entrance.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018