Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Prominence: 2426 ft, 739 m

Elevation: 5946 feet, 1812 meters

True Isolation: 14.7 mi, 23.66 km
Elevation Info:NAVD88 Elevation: 5946 ft / 1812 m
Highest SummitCalloway Peak
SubpeaksAttic Window Peak (5880 ft/1792 m)
MacRae Peak (5846 ft/1782 m)
Linville Peak (5305 ft/1617 m)
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)36° 6' 42'' N, 81° 48' 40'' W
36.11163, -81.811184 (Dec Deg)
426992 E 3996635 N, Zone 17 (UTM)
CountryUnited States
State/ProvinceNorth Carolina
County/Second Level RegionWatauga (Highest Point)

Search Engines - search the web for "Grandfather Mountain":
     Wikipedia Search
     Microsoft Bing Search
     Google Search
     Yahoo Search

Other Web Sites
     Calloway Peak at SummitPost
     Grandfather Mountain at ListsOfJohn
     Grandfather Mountain at Summits on the Air (Amateur Radio) Trip Report for Caldwell, NC by Ken Oeser Trip Report for Caldwell, NC by Bob Packard Trip Report for Caldwell, NC by Jerry Brekhus Trip Report for Caldwell, NC by Patrick Craft Trip Report for Caldwell, NC by Don Desrosiers Trip Report for Caldwell, NC by Edward Earl Trip Report for Watauga, NC by Ron Tagliapietra Trip Report for Watauga, NC by Roy Schweiker

Weather and Snow
     National Weather Service Forecast
     NOAA Snow Depth Map

Lists that contain Grandfather Mountain:
     USA Lower 48 Drainage Basin High Points (Rank #28)
     Eastern USA Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence (Rank #37)
     Eastern U.S. County High Points over 4500 feet (Rank #13)
     Appalachian Mountain Range4 High Points (Rank #5)
     USA Lower 48 Range4 High Points (Rank #78)
     Fifty Highest Eastern CoHPs (Rank #11)
     Top 10 County High Points Grid for U.S. States (Rank #142)
     2000-foot Prominence CoHPs - 48 States (Rank #197)
     Southeast USA Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence (Rank #13)
     100 Highest Eastern CoHPs (Rank #11)
     USA/Canada Range4 High Points (Rank #139)
     Southeast USA Top 50 by Prominence (Rank #13)
     Eastern USA 5000-foot Peaks (Rank #40)
     USA Lower 48 Range5 High Points (Rank #418)
     North Carolina 5000-foot Peaks (Rank #36)
     North Carolina Peaks with 1000 feet of Prominence (Rank #9)
     High Points of Counties in 13 Original States (Rank #10)
     North Carolina County High Points (Rank #9)
     Southern USA Peaks with 1000 feet of Prominence (Rank #13)
     Southern USA CoHPs (Rank #18)
(Peak is on over 20 lists; Not all shown here.)

Ascent Info

Total ascents/attempts logged by registered users: 345
     Show all viewable ascents/attempts (Total: 305)

Selected Trip Reports:
     1977-08-10 by William Musser
     2003-04-08 by Michael Devall
     2009-08-08 by Ben Lostracco
     2010-05-30 by Sam Roback
     2010-12 by Matt Lennon
     2011-09-13 by Dennis Stewart
     2011-11-13 by Ken Jones (GPS Track)
     2012-02-11 by Shannon Dillmore
     2012-05-12 by Wilson Eury
     2013-04-14 by Bradley R (GPS Track)
     2013-10-20 by Vic Hanson
     2015-05-17 by Tomoko Nakajima
     2015-11-08 by Lee Newton (GPS Track)
     2015-12-12 by Tom Layton
     2016-02-19 by Bryan Marchant
     2016-03-12 by Dylan Addis
     2016-03-22 by Zachary Robbins (GPS Track)
     2016-10-09 by Bradley R (GPS Track)
     2017-07-10 by Eric Davidson
     2017-07-22 by Tom Layton (Unsuccessful)
     2017-10-01 by Chris Gilsdorf
     2018-06-02 by Bruce Erickson
     2018-11-04 by Josh Super
     2019-04-03 by Henry Pharr
     2019-09-21 by Ariel Jacala (GPS Track)
     2019-11-10 by James Barlow (GPS Track)
     2019-12-06 by William Sanderson
     2020-02-15 by Justin P (GPS Track)
     2020-06-21 by Stav Basis
     2020-10-07 by Scott Leslie
     2021-04-25 by Evan L
     2021-10-13 by Derek English (GPS Track)
     2022-09-17 by David Winston (GPS Track)
     2022-12-17 by Chaney Swiney (GPS Track)

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Grandfather Mountain
     Elevation Ladder from Grandfather Mountain
     Prominence Ladder from Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is both the highest mountain on the main Blue Ridge crest, and the most spectacular. All higher peaks in the southern Appalachians are on subsidiary ranges to the main Blue Ridge, such as the Black Mountains, Smokies, and Great Balsams.

A substantial part of Grandfather's summit ridge is wide-open rocky pinnacles with an incredibly steep and rough trail winding its way over the rocks, often with ladders. Rising 4500 feet above the valleys of the Piedmont to the east, the views from the crest are spectacular. It's not surprising that early explorer Andre Michaux thought he had scaled the highest mountain in North America after Grandfather's first ascent in 1794.

Grandfather Mountain is privately owned, and has considerable tourist development at its southwest end. A short toll road leads to a visitor center, museum, and a pedestrian suspension bridge spanning a rocky gap between two low rocky pinnacles. A network of trails leads from this tourist area and from other trailheads (which avoid the toll road), but a hiking permit, available for a small fee, is necessary for any hiking or camping.

The Ridge Trail is by far the most scenic and important. It leaves the visitor center/museum area and climbs northeast over the awesomely rugged Attic Window Peak (5949') and McRae Peak (5939'). (The USGS map calls this area of the mountain by the name of "Raven Rocks".) The trail over these two peaks is one of the most rugged in the country, and is not reccomended for those afraid of heights or rickety ladders scaling sheer cliffs. After this section Grandfather Mountain reverts to standard Southern Appalachian mode, namely a rounded, forested crest. Calloway Peak (5984', the highest summit of the mountain) has some views cleared through the trees nearby, but is still in the trees. There are some nice spots on the ridge further northwest, too, but the Attic Window/McRae area is still the highlight of any trip to Grandfather.

The Blue Ridge Parkway skirts the southeast slopes of Grandfather Mountain up high on the Linville Cove Viaduct, the last section of the entire Parkway to be finished, in 1987. A visitor center almost underneath this long, curving bridge caters to those who want a close-up look at this engineering marvel.

Grandfather Mountain features a swaying suspension bridge as part of its many attractions (1991-10-26).
Web Map LinksPeakfinder Panorama
GeoHack Links   CalTopo   MyTopo   Bing Maps
Google Maps   Open Street Map
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 2426 ft/739 m
  Optimistic Prominence: 2466 ft/751 m
  Line Parent: Grassy Ridge Bald
  Key Col: Cranberry Gap    3520 ft/1073 m
IsolationIsolation Page  (Detailed isolation information)
   Distance: 14.7 mi/23.66 km
   Isolation Limit Point: 36.0967, -82.0733
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Grassy Ridge  (W)
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: Appalachian Mountains
Range3: Blue Ridge Mountains
Range4: Southern Blue Ridge Front (Highest Point)
Range5: N NC Blue Ridge Crest (Highest Point)
Ridges/DividesAppalachian Divide (Highest Point)
South Blue Ridge (Highest Point)
Drainage Basins
Santee (HP)
Atlantic-Eastern USA
Atlantic Ocean

South Fork Holston
Gulf of Mexico
Atlantic Ocean
OwnershipLand: National Forests in North Carolina
Topo MapGrandfather Mountain O36081a7 1:24,000
Route #1 Maintained Hiking Trail
Trailhead: NC 105?? 4020 ft/1225 m
Vertical Gain: 1926 ft/587 m
Data SourceGPS Reading or LIDAR
Dynamic Map

 Grandfather Mountain    Other Peaks
Click Here for a Full Screen Map

Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
This map from the Caldwell County GIS site shows the double summit of Calloway Peak. Contours are 5 feet, so both summits are 5920. Only the eastern knob is in Caldwell County, whose borders are shown as the wedge on the right. The western knob is the corner of Watauga and Avery counties, whose borders are not shown on this image (2015-12-12). Photo by Tom Layton.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The Watauga GIS map (with unlabeled 5-foot contours) shows the Watauga-Avery corner west of the summit contours, which is almost certainly incorrect. Note that the line crosses the 5920 contour on the western knob but only the 5915 contour on the eastern knob. (2015-12-12). Photo by Tom Layton.
Click here for larger-size photo.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
looking NE towards Calloway Peak, the highest summit on Grandfather Mountain (2022-12-17). Photo by Chaney Swiney.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
This rocky outcrop nestled into the forest is the true summit of Calloway Peak. Better views are found at the nearby eastern peak (2022-12-17). Photo by Chaney Swiney.
Click here for larger-size photo.

This page has been served 36675 times since 2004-11-01.

Copyright © 1987-2023 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service