Grandfather Trail

At A Glance

Most Difficult

2.4 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 2.4
Steepness: Hilly
Tread Condition: Very Rough
Blaze Color: Blue
Hikes That Use This Trail: Grandfather's Profile


Follows the length of Grandfather Mountain's summit ridge from the Attraction area near the Swinging Bridge to the summit of Calloway Peak. Travels through a spruce-fir forest, up and around rock walls and pinnacles, and through open meadows. There are steep, hand-over-hand sections and some rock outcroppings which must be negotiated carefully with beefy, in-place ladders. Despite its heavy use and beginnings within a tourist attraction, don't underestimate the seriousness of this trail. Its exposed sections present a real risk if you should lose footing, and the roughness of the trail is taxing even to experienced hikers. Should you attempt it, you'll be rewarded an experience you'll never forget.

Intersecting Trails

  • Daniel Boone Scout
  • Profile
  • This trail is located in the Grandfather Mountain State Park area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Grandfather Mountain State Park trails list page.

    All Photos from the Trail

    Gallery Permalink

    GPS Map

    Map Information

    Download GPS Data

    Click on a route, trail, or point on the map and select the GPS Data tab to download its data.

    Data Formats

    KML (Google Earth)

    KML is the main file type used by Google Earth. If you have Google Earth installed, clicking the KML link should open the trail or point directly in Google Earth for viewing. This is the native file format used by Google Earth, but many other map applications can use and understand KML as well, so if you're not sure which one to download, KML is a good bet.


    The GPX format stands for GPS Exchange - a free, open, XML format for exchanging GPS and map data. GPX is compatible with Google Earth, many other mapping programs, and most GPS devices (such as Garmin). Load the file directly into your GPS to help find your way on your next trip!


    GeoJSON is a newer, lightweight data exchange format which can be used to quickly share map data and may have a smaller size than KML or GPX. Many professional mapping and GIS applications support the GeoJSON format.

    About the Map


    Base Layers

    Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.

    WNCOutdoors Base Layer

    The WNCOutdoors Base layer is provided by It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

    Trail and Marker Overlays

    Trail layers and downloadable data are all original works created by WNCOutdoors with guidance from a variety of sources, including ensembles of our own GPS tracks, user contributed GPS tracks, official maps and GIS data from government agencies, and field observations. WNCOutdoors data is made freely available under the Open Database License - you are free to copy and use it for any purpose under the terms of that license (summary).


    • Hover over a trail to see it highlighted. Helps to see start and end points for an individual trail.
    • Scroll and zoom the map before printing, and that view will persist into the printed image.
    • Click a trail for more details and to download it individually.

    Trail Segments

    Trails are often made up of several connecting paths which may have different characteristics, allowed uses, and seasons. This trail is divided into multiple segments as follows:

    Grandfather Trail - Parking Area to Grandfather Tr. Ext.

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 0.34 mi

    Grandfather Trail - Grandfather Tr. Ext. to Underwood Tr.

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 0.19 mi

    Grandfather Trail - Underwood to Underwood

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 0.44 mi

    Grandfather Trail - Underwood Tr. to Profile Tr.

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 0.72 mi

    Grandfather Trail - Profile Trail to Watauga View

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 0.29 mi

    Grandfather Trail - Watauga View Spur

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 169 ft

    Grandfather Trail - Watauga View to Calloway Peak

    • Allowed Uses: Hiking
    • Length: 425 ft

    Total Calculated Length: 2.11 mi

    This value is derived from our underlying map data, and it may not match officially published information.



    Average Rating: 3.7 (rated 25 times)

    Rate It Now:


    No comments yet.

    Add a Comment

    Your email address will not be displayed, is kept completely private, and is only used to fight comment spam.

    All fields are required.