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Grandfather Mountain, NC

Updated on July 31, 2018

Home of Mile High Swing Bridge

The highest peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and part of the Appalachain Mountain Chain, is Grandfather Mountain, located near Linville, North Carolina. Most famous for its Mile High Swinging Bridge which was made in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1952. It was then taken to Grandfather Mountain where it was reassembled.

Crews worked three weeks to rebuild at its permanent home on Grandfather Mountain. The bridge was remodeled and the boards and rails replaced with galvanized steel in 1999. On a clear day views of up to one hundred miles can be seen from Grandfather Mountain. Top wind speeds have been recorded on the mountain, with two hundred miles per hour as the highest ever number reached.

Many (myself included), remember Mildred the Bear. Mildred, and two other bears (male & female), were brought to Grandfather Mountain in 1968. The black bears were originally intended to be released back into the wild together. The male ran off into the woods, never to be seen again. Mildred refused to leave the mountain. For her own safety mountain officials recaptured her and placed her in an enclosed habitat.

Mildred became the greeter for Grandfather Mountain on a daily basis. Mildred and her two cubs, Mini & Maxi, posed for pictures with tourists on a routine basis. In 1973 the trio were moved to An environmental habitat was built for them in1973, on one of the prettiest areas on the mountain. Mildred was a resident of Grandfather Mountain for twenty four years.

Mildred's legacy still lives on at Grandfather Mountain. The habitat has been expanded for visitors to also enjoy separate habitats to include cougar, deer, otters, and even two open air habitats for Bald and Golden Eagles, and is considered to be one of the most humane and truly natural types around.

An old photo of Mildred posing with a girl scout.
An old photo of Mildred posing with a girl scout.
Mildred, Mini, & Maxi
Mildred, Mini, & Maxi

In 1990, a 2,200 acre exhibit area was opened to educate the public about the other interesting areas of the mountain's history. They include features showing the meteorology, geology, and animal and plant life of Grandfather.

Grandfather Mountain has visitors of all ages each year. Enjoy everything from nature walks to serious hiking with more than twelve miles of hiking trails. The movie "Forrest Gump", where Forrest runs on a curvy mountain road, was filmed at Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain is a wonderful outdoor adventure for children and adults of all ages to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy the museum restaurant and gift shop. Plan a day and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy dining at one of the over one hundred picnic tables and grills found throughout the park. .


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