A short drive from Beech Mountain in Linville, NC is Grandfather Mountain NC, home to the Mile High Swinging (or Singing) Bridge. As you enter, you are given a CD that tells you about the mountain and what you are seeing. It’s a terrific guided tour and sets the stage for a day of exploring if you’re visiting outside the ski-season.
Our visit to North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain started out cold, but clear. The Grandfather Mountain weather can be tricky and we soon we watched as the fog and rain rolled in, keeping us from checking out the many hiking trails. I’d like to go back and do these, as I’ve heard great things about Grandfather Mountain’s hiking trails and really wanted to try the ones with ladders and cables. For those who prefer a leisurely walk, Grandfather Mountain has those too.
Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge
We did walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, which used to swing, but after being rebuilt, it’s known more for it’s singing as the wind blows than swinging. Be prepared for cooler temperatures at the top of the mountain. We went in October and you definitely needed a warm coat and a hat to block the wind. I would assume that even in summer, it can be much cooler at the top of the mountain.
Grandfather Mountain Nature Museum
After we warmed up a bit in the gift shop at the top of the mountain, we headed to the Nature Museum (and another gift shop). The Grandfather Mountain Wildlife Habitats are just outside the Museum. We saw cougars, black bears, deer and otters playing in the water. We picked up a Junior Ranger booklet too.The activities include a scavenger hunt through the nature museum and questions about the animals in the wildlife habitats. Finish the activities and get an official Grandfather Mountain NC button at the Entrance Gate. After a quick stop at the fudge shop where we tasted several delicious varieties, we toured the Nature Museum. We learned more about the animals that live on Grandfather Mountain, as well as the flora and fauna. The museum is small and not as interactive as some, but it’s a great overview of what you can find just outside the doors.
Even though we didn’t get to spend as much time outside as we would have liked, Grandfather Mountain was worth the trip and I can’t wait to return and tackle those hiking trails. For the true outdoor adventurer, the Grandfather Mountain State Park opens has 2,456-acres of backcountry with spectacular hiking and backpacking.
Beyond Hiking at Grandfather Mountain
If you happen to be at Grandfather Mountain or in Linville NC in July, check out the Highland Games, NC gathering of Scottish Clans that happens at Grandfather Mountain.
For more information about fun activities in North Carolina’s High Country, see our post on Fall at Beech Mountain.
What: Hiking Grandfather Mountain NC
Where: Grandfather Mountain, 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646 | 828-733-4337
When: Between 8 am and 7 pm depending on the season, check the website before your visit