Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain, Linville: Address, Phone Number, Grandfather Mountain Reviews: 4.5/5

Grandfather Mountain
4.5
Mountains • Nature & Wildlife Areas
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Grandfather Mountain’s pristine scenery and sweeping vistas rejuvenate mind and spirit. At an elevation of 5,946 feet, Grandfather is recognized as one of the world’s most diverse nature preserves. Be exhilarated by the altitude and panoramic views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge; stand eye-to-eye with bears, cougars and otters in natural habitats. Dine in the restaurant or find a scenic picnic spot, browse the nature museum, wander the trails, go behind the scenes of the animal habitats, visit with knowledgeable naturalists, and stop for a treat at the fudge shop. Fill your day with family memories at place where wonders never cease.
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4.5
2,181 reviews
Excellent
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Very good
445
Average
100
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41
Terrible
29

benton2569
Willington, CT618 contributions
Oct 2021
As others have noted YOU MUST BUY TICKETS ONLINE - in advance of your planned visit. The website is pretty easy to use. You must select a planned time arrival time also. Tickets are $21 a person (not cheap). There are reduced rates for seniors, veterans and kids. They ay there may be extra tickets available at the entrance but I wouldn't chance it.

Even though this is pricey it is still a great experience: the drive up the windy road with hairpin turns and gorgeous views, the mile high swinging bride, hiking trails, gift shop (and rest rooms), snack bar and a nature center (currently under construction) with a small animal park (bears, elk, otters, cougar and eagles).

Bring some food or pack a lunch. - there are several places to park that have picnic tables and fantastic views of the countryside. Also bring a jacket and dress warm for the Swinging Bridge - it is over 5k feet above sea level. Temperatures are is much cooler at the top of the mountain plus It gets windy and the weather is constantly changing. At $21 per person you want to take your time and enjoy the views.

FYI your entrance ticket is good all day so you can visit in the morning when it is less crowded and come back for sunset.
Written October 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi, there. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and helpful review! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your visit to Grandfather Mountain. It sounds like you and your group had a wonderful day on the mountain! You may also be interested to know that we're owned and operated by the nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, a nonprofit focused on inspiring conservation. As such, admission and every dollar spent in the park, from gift shops to the restaurant to our solar-powered fudge, goes right back into the mountain, ensuring it'll be preserved for generations to come. Again, thank you for sharing such positive feedback. We sincerely look forward to having you and yours back on the mountain. Till then, happy holidays!
Written December 27, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

melwashere81
Cleveland, TX935 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
Tickets must be purchased online in advance for a specific day and time you will arrive. We decided to arrive when they first open at 8am. Glad we did. It was on a Tuesday and the park was already getting full by 10am. The drive to the top is a bit scary as there are no guardrails and its pretty steep but our little car made it just fine. About halfway up there is parking for the wildlife park and museum but we decided to go there on the way back down. Parking at the top is limited and can get full on a busy day. We arrived early so that wasn't a problem for us. To get to the mile high swinging bridge you can take the stairs or use the elevator. The bridge itself is really narrow. It barely fits two people side by side and there is a limit of 40 people on the bridge at one time. BUT.....the views are completely worth the drive and the scary walk across the bridge. It was a beautiful day when we went and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. I would definitely recommend everyone experience this at least once in their lifetime. There is also a gift shop at the top so be sure to grab a souvenir of your trip up this beautiful mountain.

On the way back down the mountain we stopped to see the animals. The bear was a no show as were most of the other animals as well. Only the eagle was out and about that morning. There is a nice little fudge shop nearby that is wonderful. The museum was under construction so we weren't able to see it but we did hike down to split Rock and sphinx rock. Both were pretty cool but already getting crowded. Overall it was a great way to spend about 2-3 hours and we will definitely be back once the museum is finished.
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share such positive feedback! We're glad to hear you enjoyed your visit and appreciate your pointers for future guests. Regarding the animals not showing up, you may be interested to know that they reside in environmental wildlife habitats, most of which are built around actual native environment, offering the animals acres to roam as they please — even if that means being out of sight for a bit of privacy. For your next visit, I'd suggest checking out an animal encounter, during which our habitats staff will deliver a brief presentation on a particular animal before giving them an enrichment, which can be a special treat, favorite food or unfamiliar scent — basically something interesting to break up their day and keep them active and intellectually stimulated. This also affords guests a prime opportunity to see the animals up close and personal. Again, thank you for the kind and thoughtful words. We look forward to having you and yours back on the mountain in the future. Sincerely, Frank Ruggiero Director of Marketing & Communications Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written August 20, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ShamrockSoldier
Beverly Hills, FL64 contributions
Apr 2021
If you are scared of Covid, don’t go. If you want to insult people for wearing masks, don’t go. It is a bit pricey, however, it is a day trip and they provide a CD with a tour to guide you through the mountain. There are a lot of interesting and geographical things to explore during your time there. There are places to have picnics and grill and you can check out Forrest Gump curve while you are there. They are currently working on improving areas around the mountain so people need to have patience. The restaurant is a decent place and the gift shop is what you’d expect. Take the time and explore the area. Not the best with children as with the top it can get tricky.
Written April 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review! We are glad that you enjoyed your time on the mountain! Our staff is always wearing masks and take whatever steps necessary to ensure the safety of our guests. We do limit our total number of guests in the park due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We now take online reservations in order to only have a certain amount of people in the park at one time. On weekends and special weeks like Spring Break, we always encourage reservations so that you are ensured a spot for the day— this also helps with crowd control. We also do require masks for guests as well and keep social distancing signs scattered throughout the park to ensure safety. As for our prices, you may be interested to know that we're a nonprofit organization, with a mission of inspiring conservation of the natural world. As such, all of our funding is derived from admission, souvenir sales, food and beverage sales, and donations, and every single dollar goes right back into maintaining and preserving the mountain for future generations. We do, however, offer numerous discounts, such as AAA, military, senior citizen, etc., which can apply to every member of one's party. We hope that you visit again soon! Sincerely, Natalie Brunner Marketing & Communications Associate Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written June 3, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ARL2601
Arlington, VA215 contributions
Nov 2021
It was painfully windy at the top the day we went, making actually walking out on the bridge impossible. I would have appreciated some kind of weather/wind condition advisory being posted somewhere before purchasing the $22/person tickets. Literally no one was able to spend any amount of time outside at the top. Smaller cars were being gently lifted in the gusts. The elevator was broken. And the nature musuem/center was closed for renovations - which to be fair was posted on the website - but we didn't realize constituted most of what there is to do.

So all we had left was drive the 2 miles of curves and listen to the USB stick guided tour, which was interesting, but not worth $22.

Go only in nice weather and check status of exhibits/habitats.
Written November 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi, there. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and feedback. I'm so sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your visit to Grandfather Mountain. Regarding weather, we'll close the bridge and top area when gusts reach a certain level, and it sounds like the day you visited must have been close. As such, I'm sorry you weren't able to enjoy the full experience. Just so you know, during those of inclement weather, when the bridge and top are closed, we do post a notice on the front page of our website and ticketing page. We also apologize for any inconvenience you experienced due to our museum renovations. We do offer other activities, however, including environmental wildlife habitats, which are home to rescued black bears, cougars, elk, river otters and bald eagles; access to 12+ miles of hiking for practically any skill level; a Junior Ranger program for the kids; 100+ picnic areas; a restaurant; gift shops and more, all included with admission. During the busier times of year, we also offer daily nature programs, an eco-friendly fudge shop and special events, also all included with admission. Regarding the nature museum, the aforementioned renovations will nearly double its size with all new, interactive state-of-the art exhibits, educational classrooms, a new auditorium, outdoor pavilion and more, meaning there will be plenty of alternatives for outdoor fun, should the weather not cooperate. Again, thanks for taking the time to write and share your thoughtful feedback, and again, apologies for any inconvenience. We look forward to having you and yours back on the mountain in the future.
Written December 27, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

DisneyDarwin
Spring, TX1,104 contributions
Oct 2021 • Couples
We were on a long summer trip and did only a minor amount of research before visiting Grandfather Mountain. Therefore, we thought we were visiting a state park or other public park, not a private tourist attraction. The ladder can range from somewhat cheesy to downright terrible, but this was not the case at all. The mountain has a long proud heritage of private ownership, and they have done a good job to accentuate the views and nature at every opportunity. they give you an audio guide for the drive up the mountain which is informative, and let you know that there is a LOT there. We only spent a few hours, but this could easily be a full day destination. There is a nature center and also abundant hikes and sights on the way up, before you get to the main attraction. At the top, there is a good gift shop before you get to the Mile High Bridge and those incredible views. Alone, those are worth your time and money. Shortly after our walk around the top, they started herding people off the mountain because a storm was coming and lightning strikes are a big deal there. I was impressed that they had seasoned meteorologist at the top, and they were hyper sensitive to safety. lastly we toured they’re a little museum on the second floor, which had tons of info and great pictures on the history of the mountain over the decades. On our way down, we got to see a great lightning storm in a monsoon.
Written October 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for such a kind, thoughtful and generous review! We sincerely appreciate your taking the time to share such positive feedback, but more so, we appreciate your visit. By visiting Grandfather, you've helped support our nonprofit mission of inspiring conservation of the natural world — and it sounds like you had a great time doing so! Thanks again. We look forward to having you and yours back on the mountain in the near future!
Written December 31, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

rxlaw
maryland64 contributions
Jul 2021
Yes, you have to pay the $30 admission fee to get on the bridge, but having access to the mountain (without having to hike in from outside) is so worth it! FYI - you need to make a reservation (buy tickets online). I highly recommend getting there earlybecause it gets really, really busy later on. When we got there at 8:30 am, there was maybe 10-15 people there which allowed us to get nice views & pics of the mountain from the bridge. We got to enjoy the scenery and watch the clouds move in and out (completely covering the bridge and mountain to having a clear view of everything). The real reason for getting there early is so you can hike to MacRae's peak without interruption (lots of areas where it's 1 way, narrow trail or ladders, cables where you have to yield or wait for others to pass). If you decide to do the hike, use the Grandfather trail to go up. Beware there are 7 ladders (almost straight vertical to get up some big rocks) and a couple of cables. Others have mentioned bypassing the ladders by using Underwood trail BUT you will miss some AWESOME views and rock formations so if you can handle the vertical challenge, DO Grandfather trail on the way UP (if you're afraid of heights you definitely don't want to take this trail down i.e. looking down a vertical ladder is going to be a lot togher) then go DOWN using the Underwood trail (only 2 ladders). We've done a lot of hiking & MacRae's peak & Grandfather trail was an entirely different experience and well worth the work (3.5 hrs. round trip but we stopped to take a lot of pics).
Written July 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi, there. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a positive, thoughtful and descriptive review! We sincerely appreciate your kind words and recommendations. However, it's worth noting that our admission fee is actually $22 per adult and $9 per child, along with various discounts offered for senior citizens, military, AAA, etc. Again, many thanks. We look forward to having you and yours back on the mountain in the future. Take care, Frank Ruggiero Director of Marketing & Communications Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written August 20, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jenizreal
Burlington, NC2 contributions
Sep 2020 • Family
I went to Grandfather Mountain with my kids ages 8-19 in September of 2020 and we had a blast. I wish the attendant who gave us the CD would’ve explained to us to put it in our CD player right then because we missed out on that part of the experience. She just handed it me and I wasn’t sure what it was for until I had a chance to stop and read it. By that time, it was too late. That was my only complaint about this experience.

We stopped at a parking lot (not sure of the name) so we could hike up “a little trail” to the Mile High Bridge parking lot. It was more of a challenge than we anticipated, but fun nonetheless.

The views at the lookout on the other side of the Mile High Bridge were breathtaking. I was slightly terrified as I am scared of heights, but I still enjoyed myself. My kids were hopping around without fear and that frightened me even more. With that being said, we’re still going back this week for Spring Break.

The kids wanted to hike the Grandfather Trail, which is for more experienced hikers. We opted for a shorter trail and still got a taste of the hiking experience with ropes and some hand over hand climbing. They want to do the most challenging hike when we return this week, but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea because we are all out of shape due to Covid and laziness.

We’re probably going to give it a try. We will go visit the bridge early so that we have time to attempt the hike to the top. I recommend starting the hike as early as possible because from what I’ve seen on YouTube, it takes 4 hours minimum to complete it.

We loved our trip to Grandfather Mountain and highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about going!
Written March 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for the fantastic review! We are so glad that you and your family enjoyed your trip to Grandfather and are visiting again soon! Let us know how your hike on the Grandfather Trail goes! While it is a strenuous hike, the views are very rewarding! We hope to see you back real soon! Sincerely, Natalie Brunner Marketing & Communications Associate Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written June 3, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Erika R
Raleigh, NC12 contributions
Sep 2020
We had a wonderful time at Grandfather Mountain. For our family of four it cost
$ 88.00 and while I know some people feel it's a little pricey, we thought it was well worth the price!

The drive up the mountain is gorgeous and they give you an audio CD that tells the history of the place which is very informative. At the top of the mountain they have a small zoo with otters, bears, eagles and cougars. They have a snack bar, nice gift shop and clean restrooms.

We all walked across the mile high sky bridge which whistles in the wind but thankfully doesn't swing much. It felt extremely safe and the park staff were nice and helpful.

We will definitely be back to visit when the leaves change and in the spring - I'm sure both times are gorgeous and the views would be incredible! One note: Bring a jacket because the temperature drops significantly the higher up you go.
Written September 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for the fantastic review! We are so glad you and your family enjoyed your visit to the mountain! As for our prices, you may be interested to know that we're a nonprofit organization, with a mission of inspiring conservation of the natural world. As such, all of our funding is derived from admission, souvenir sales, food and beverage sales, and donations, and every single dollar goes right back into maintaining and preserving the mountain for future generations. We do, however, offer numerous discounts, such as AAA, military, senior citizen, etc., which can apply to every member of one's party. We hope to see you back here soon— The leaves are stunning in the fall and is definitely worth another visit! Sincerely, Natalie Brunner Marketing & Communications Associate Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written January 13, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

trinhard
Bellingham, WA93 contributions
Sep 2021
By far the best part of the place is the easy access it provides to the fabulous hike along the ridge to Calloway peak. The hike itself is essentially all in the State Park, but the only access to the ridge from the State Park involves a long hike in with a lot of altitude gain. So essentially you wind up paying a very high parking and access fee to come in via this facility. The swinging bridge is hokey relative to the views you get from the rocky pinnacles on the trail, and the animal exhibits are not much more than a glorified zoo with quite large enclosures. But the ridge trail itself is great. It is not for the timid or unprepared, and progress is very slow - expect to go no more than 1 mile per hour due to the steep rocky scrambles, ladders and cables involved. So arrive early and plan to be out for the bulk of the day, with clothing to cope with all conditions. The price is worth paying, although it sticks in the craw to pay so much for convenient access to public property. The private owners are clearly making a ton of money, and you wonder about their non-profit status.
Written September 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback! You're right, the hikes are fabulous! Great choice of words, too, as Grandfather Mountain's Native American name is "Tanawha," which roughly translates as "fabulous hawk." However, I'm sorry to hear you didn't seem to enjoy the Mile High Swinging Bridge is hokey. It's often a highlight of many people's visits, as it offers 360° panoramic views of the entire WNC High Country, while suspended 80 feet above the ground a mile high above sea level. Regarding our animal habitats, you may be interested to know that they're actually environmental wildlife habitats, most of which are built around native environment, offering our animals ample room to roam as they please, even if it means being out of sight for some privacy. We feel this is paramount, considering all of our animals are rescues, having either been orphaned or injured in the wild or previously born into captivity, therefore unfit for release into the wild. I'd also like to provide some additional info about our nonprofit status. The park is owned and operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. Our funding is derived only from admissions, retail, food and beverage and donations, and every single penny spent on the mountain goes right back into its preservation, maintenance and our educational mission. From an educational standpoint, we offer outreach to schools, clubs and organizations, field trip opportunities (including a field trip scholarship for underfunded schools) and much more. While we hope guests explore the hiking we have in both our park and the adjacent Grandfather Mountain State Park (which is an entirely separate entity, unrelated to our organization), we also hope they take advantage of the many amenities we have to offer on our side of the mountain, including not only the bridge, but our habitats, museum (currently under extensive renovation but slated to reopen in early 2022), daily programming, Junior Ranger program, picnic areas, special events and much more — all included with admission. You can learn more about our history and nonprofit mission by visiting our website. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, as well as your helpful tips about traversing the trails. We appreciate it, and I'm sure our readers will, too! We look forward to having you and yours back on the mountain and seeing you on the trails. Sincerely, Frank Ruggiero Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written September 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

3lionsfan
Boone, NC340 contributions
Jul 2020
Truly one of my favorite places on the planet. Nothing else like it. Would consider it great for all ages. My two daughters loved it when they were kids and now at college-age they still love it. Some people complain about the price ($22 for adults) but I consider it an incredible value. We spent five hours on the mountain during a recent visit: crossing the bridge for photos and just taking it all in, visiting the Top Shop before heading out on a hike, going out to MacRae Peak on the crest trail, lunch at Mildred's, the animals in their habitats, and the fudge shop.

If you are worried about the social distancing aspect, we were very impressed how they handled traffic on the mile-high bridge; a worker at each end sending folks across so there was no passing. Masks were required for that and while in the Top Shop (gift shop and restrooms at the top). Also in Mildred's Grill. The whole time we were hiking I couldn't wait to have a cheeseburger and fries at Mildred's. So good!

Finally, at least for the time-being reservation are required. They are limiting their capacity so place your order online in advance. The museum and theater are currently closed but Mildred's and the gift shop in that building remain open.
Written July 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks so much for the great review! We are so glad you and your family enjoyed your time here on the mountain. The famous Mile High Swinging Bridge offers some truly stunning and unparalleled views of the Western North Carolina High Country, and we're so thrilled that you continue to visit and share it with others! I will make sure to pass along your compliments to the staff. We hope you and your family continue to stay healthy and safe during these times. Thanks again for visiting and we hope to see you and yours back on the mountain again real soon. Sincerely, Natalie Brunner Marketing & Communications Associate Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Written July 8, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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