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Grandfather Mountain - One of North Carolina's Most Popular Attractions

Updated on September 21, 2007

Located near Linville, North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain is the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountain chain, one of the primary ranges in the Appalachian Mountains. At an elevation of 5,964 feet, visibility can extend up to 100 miles away. On clear days, it is possible to see the skyline of Charlotte. Grandfather Mountain is privately owned and operated.

In addition to being a scenic travel attraction, the mountain is also a nature preserve that is recognized globally. Environmental habitats exist for wildlife such as black bears, bear cubs, river otters, cougars, eagles, and deer.

Grandfather Mountain is probably best know for its mile high swinging bridge, built in 1952. The bridge was constructed to provide access for visitors to the view from Linville Peak. It is called "mile high" in reference to the structure's elevation (5,305 feet) above sea level. The term "swinging" refers to the fact that the 228-foot suspension bridge is free to sway, which it does during high winds. The journey across an 80-foot chasm to the other side is considered by most people to be the highlight of a trip to the mountain. The bridge was fabricated in Greensboro, NC and then reassembled on top of the mountain. Erection of the bridge lasted three weeks.

The process was hindered by poor weather resulting from a hurricane off the North Carolina coast. The bridge was rebuilt in 1999, using the original towers. Galvanized steel was used to replace the floor boards, side rails, and cables.

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are held each year at the mountain. The Highland Games are a celebration of the Scottish ancestry of the pioneers who settled in the area. Visitors from all around the world come for the Scottish games and music.

Grandfather Mountain also features:

  • Alpine Hiking Trails
  • Natural History Museum
  • Picnic Tables
  • Restaurant & Gift Shops
  • Activities and Programs with the Mountain's Naturalists

The entire area around Grandfather Mountain is a popular year-round vacation destination possesing a variety of attractions, activities, lodging and dining options.

Interesting Facts:

  • The mountain has experienced some of the highest winds ever recorded in America, with speeds over 200 m.p.h.

  • In order to complete the Blue Ridge Parkway by taking it across Grandfather Mountain, the Linn Cove Viaduct was constructed around the mountain in order to avoid disturbing the delicate balance in the ecological communities that exist on the mountain's slopes. The viaduct has won numerous design awards and is the most popular section of the 470-mile Blue Ridge Parkway.

Grandfather Mountain is located in northwestern North Carolina, 17 miles south of Boone and Blowing Rock and 70 miles northeast of Asheville.

The entrance is located on US Highway 221, one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.

Linn Cove Viaduct
Linn Cove Viaduct


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