It's not every day you get to start your hike already on top of a mountain, but the Grandfather Trail, or Grandfather Mountain Trail, does just that for you. Starting in the Grandfather Mountain State Park, the treacherous trail is a difficult one with rocky parts to climb over and ladders to scale. The trail is made from packed soil and has a 72-inch width throughout the trail's length.
The trail starts at the top of Grandfather Mountain, which also counts as a visitor center and tourist attraction. To get inside the parking right next to the trail, there is a fee for visitors, but its free to park at one of the other trailheads and hike up to the trail. The visitor center hosts restrooms, water fountains, benches, and even a small museum to view. After you and Fido are ready to go, you'll be met with a rocky terrain right at the start, having to climb over small boulders and rocks to get up the first stretch.
The trail begins to even out a little after you get past that first area, with flat walkways along the top of the ridge. You and Fido will mostly be covered in shade thanks to the surrounding spruce and fir trees. There are plenty of breaks in the trees along the way to see some pretty views, but nothing will be as good once you get to Calloway Peak, which is the end point of Grandfather Trail. Be prepared to possibly carry your pup, as there are more steep inclines over rocky terrain and ladders to climb up to get to the peak.
Once you're at the top though, the view is a gorgeous one, with a full on sight of the surrounding blue ridge mountains and valleys inside Grandfather Mountain State Park, which boasts over 2,456 acres of mountains and ridges. Once you and Fido are ready to come down, you can view another landmark: The Mile High Swinging Bridge. The bridge is a major tourist attraction since it offers a 228-foot suspension bridge for visitors to walk on, which spans a chasm that reaches down nearly a mile.
It's an extra sight to see and will be sure to end the great experience of being on Grandfather Mountain, but even if you don't see it, the hike alone is worth it thanks to its stunning views and fun terrain to climb up!