The Grandfather Trails


Lisa and I

Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits – anonymous

I have really been wanting to do this trail. When it came time a couple weeks ago I chickened out because I watched a you tube video about the hike. I decided this was the day. I can say I was nervous. I even told Mike I was going to Brevard Hiking because I knew he would worry and thinks this dangerous trail is crazy. 😜

We left when lisa got off work at 7:00 am. We drove up to Grandfather Mountain via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Grandfather Mountain is privately owned and cost $20 to get in. There are trails that you can hike in and out for free. We didn’t research that so we paid and parked at the trail head. To hike they ask you to fill out a permit. Just so if your car is still there they know who is missing. The sign at the trailhead says experienced hikers only. Correct footwear should be worn.

Right from the start this trail shows you what it’s made of. Up we go on a rocky trail. It twists and turns as it goes up and we reach a big rock that we can climb under. We are all excited and go up there to get some pics then it’s my turn.

I turn around and figure out this is just the trail! So up over this we go and down the other side! This was nothing compared to what’s to come!

The trail has views everywhere. It’s so beautiful. We can see Mccrae’s peak and I took this pic showing where we were going to go.

Then we come to a fork in the trail. Go left and take the Underwood trail around McRae’s Peak (it comes out just above) or go straight up the Grandfather Trail. That’s the way we are going! A series of ladders, cables and views! The Underwood trail only has one ladder. We didn’t know it at the time but that trail is a beast to go up. Hard steep rock climbs.

This trail is very technically challenging. If you don’t like heights don’t do it. It is safe as long as you pay attention and are comfortable with the climb. Our first obstacle is a cable up a slick rock face.

The first ladder climb comes after the trail takes you through a kind of cave area. Under big boulders. It’s pretty cool.

A little bit after the next ladder is way in the back of a split rock up a steep rock face! It’s really cool in there and not especially wide.

Lisa went first and as she reaches the top she yells! I’m halfway up the ladder like what the! She goes “it’s beautiful!” Scared me! Maybe cause I’m still a little nervous at this point.

When I get to the top of the ladder she is right, the first of many awesome views!

The rocky trail keeps going up through some woods to more ladders. Another amazing view.

The next ladder goes up to a rock that looks like I could not possibly get off the ladder on to that rock but it was not as bad as I thought. This was an area where we get our first 360 degree view! It’s breathtaking!

We climbed on this rock outcropping and took more pics.

From this side the only thing in the way is the Sugar Top resort at Sugar Mountain.  It is the largest thing and you can see it from everywhere.  I’m not sure who approved it but it doesn’t look good.

My husband says it looks like the Hollywood Sign and wrote it on this pic!

By this point we’ve barely gone a mile and it’s taken us about and hour and a half. We have taken so many pics and enjoying every drop of this trail but it’s really slowing us down!

There is one point where this trail goes around a rock and the trail is a couple feet wide and on the other side is a deathly fall. It’s a little intimidating to say the least but doable for sure.😬

From here we are right in front of McRaes Peak! I’m not gonna lie it is so intimidating. Lisa is dying to climb up there. There are people right above us taking pics. To get up there there is a ladder at the far end that u climb us the climb up the slanted rock face to the peak!

Lisa goes up first and I stay back to take pics. Plus I’m a lot nervous at the point! But If she can do it I can do it! Right?

She comes down and I’m eating my sandwich getting some fuel for this! This is a view of me on the rock and me looking back down to where Lisa is!

It’s crazy! I had a hard time climbing to the top but it was all in my head because coming back down was fine.

That pic is looking over the Linville Area and that is the Blue Ridge Parkway. We took a ton of pics and decided it was time to get going. We kept talking about how we are taking more pics than hiking! So down we go. The first thing we see not 20 feet down the trail is this!

Lisa has to go up there! She says “I think I could climb up there!” And she does. She’s like it’s a trail I swear! But seriously what an awesome pic! She comes back down and forces me to go up there! Pier pressure! So of course I do! It’s awesome!

This is me and she is motioning me closer to the edge! Nope this is where I draw the line! Haha!

So finally off we go down the trail.

We finally reach the split where you can go left to the profile trail or straight to Calloway peak. It’s a mile and a half. This turned out to be the hardest part of the trail.

This was big boulder climbing, steep rocky. Hard hard hard!

It’s real hard to believe we have only gonna a mile or so. It’s been a couple hours. I guess most of our time has been enjoying the view and taking pictures. The next part was cool. Up a ladder through some boulders and up another ladder.

The next picture. Is a cute little area that nearly killed me! It was really like walking up a rockslide! Turns out it was easier going up! Lisa finds it to be an adult playground!

At the top is a nice rock outcropping for me to rest. Time for my PBJ! I need some protein! Lisa went up the trail to the next rock ledge where I took a pic of her. She took one back at me. She always have to hang on the edge! I am not that comfortable!

There is still more ladders but the forest is getting thicker. It’s still rocky but luckily we are pretty much under a canopy of cover. I’m sweating up a storm at this point. I’m thinking I don’t want to see Calloway peak but someone pier pressures me into it! 😜

We did go down to Watauga view. It was a rock outcropping with the same view. At this point I’m tired and done! It’s still playtime for Lisa. There was a cavern between two huge rocks that she wants to climb in and play! “Waiter, I’ll have what she’s having!”

It’s just a short way to Calloway Peak, a couple ladder Climbs and we are there. It looks like a storm cloud is coming and when we get to the top it faces the Linn Cove area but it’s covered in clouds. I eat my second sandwich and I am ready to go!

So back down we go. When we get to the rocky area I find out how hard going down is! It seams much steeper to me. Lisa of course loves it!

This time we are going to take the Underwood Trail around McRaes Peak. We turn on the trail and it is a beast!!! I am so glad I am not climbing up this sucker! It goes 1 mile down to the parking area with one ladder.

The Underwood trail is a whole different trail. It is a completely rock trail! I’m not sure we were ever on flat ground. At this point I am so exhausted I don’t even take any pictures. I was too tired to pull my camera out!

We run into one couple going up. I’m thinking geez people your gonna die! It was only like a mile but it felt like forever! I swear it felt like we were hiking down a dried up waterfall!

We finally arrive at the parking area and Lisa wants to go to the swinging bridge. First I go into the gift shop to get a caffeine drink! Then I take the elevator to the third floor so it’s a straight walk to the bridge. Guess what she says? She says “we’re not going to a waterfall next are we?” What?! “Well If were taking the elevator i guess you don’t want to catch a waterfall”. OMG! She is like the energizer bunny! I hate her! 😜

I just wait there for her to cross and go check out the view and drink my sundrop.

We get back in the car find our directions and head out, to a waterfall! It was about 30 minutes away so I had some rest time and it was only about a half mile of the trail.

Wow! All I can say is that was the most fun hiking I’ve ever had! I conquered my fears and had a great time doing it.

I’m hungry!

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