Last weekend I went to Grandfather Mountain, near Boone, N.C., with my daughter and son.
One of my favorite pastimes is to explore the wonderful state I have lived in since 2006, with day trips to new places–especially things that involve the outdoors. Visiting Grandfather Mountain has been on my North Carolina bucket list for a while, and I hadn’t been to Boone yet.
It is located in the northwest part of the state, and the area is absolutely beautiful. Grandfather Mountain’s peak is the highest point along the Blue Ridge, reaching an elevation of 5,946 feet.
Grandfather Mountain is a privately-owned park, and admission is charged. In addition to hiking trails, there is a small nature museum, and several outdoor live animal exhibits including bears, bald eagle, and otters.
You can hike or drive up to the top. The summit is fairly easily accessed from the parking lot via 50 stair steps, or you can take an elevator. Once there you can cross the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The 228-foot steel structure is America’s highest suspension footbridge.
The views were spectacular, even with less visibility due to rain and fog. In fact, the clouds–which were surrounding and below us–made the view even more dramatic.
We didn’t stay very long at the summit, however, because a thunderstorm quickly started moving in. We high-tailed it back across the bridge and down to the car, fast as we safely could, and made it with about two minutes to spare before the heavens poured down and winds blew. We waited out the deluge before we carefully drove down the mountain, slowly navigating its hairpin turns.
I was surprised at how many people were there, given the bad weather. Grandfather Mountain is one of the state’s most popular tourism spots.
There is so much to see and do in the Boone area, we hardly scratched the surface. I can’t wait to go back for hiking, and to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway when the leaves peak in the fall.