Monday, February 26, 2007

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is a must-see for anyone who lives in or visits this part of the country. It is known for its Mile High Swinging Bridge, a 228 foot suspension bridge built between two peaks of Grandfather Mountian. Come prepared for much cooler temperatures and for ever-present strong winds. You can always check the temperatures and conditions at the bridge on this website. Once you cross the bridge you reach a rugged mountain offering 360 degree panoramic views. Above is a picture from late Semptember.

As you first drive in, stop off at the overlooks to the left which offer terrific views of the mountian. As you continue on up the mountain, to your right will Split Rock and Sphinx Rock which are fun areas to explore. Immediately after that is the Nature Museum and Wildlife Habitat featuring bear, deer, cougars, otter and eagles. Grandfather Mountain also features some of the best hiking I've found in Appalachia. The park is privately owned so there is a fee to get in. The cost is $14 for adults, which isn't too bad considering you can spend an entire day hiking and seeing the sights. If you live in the area, you might as well get an annual pass for $35. At first, I was put-off by the prices and that it's privately owned. However, as I learned more of the history of the place and of Hugh Morton, the visionary and conservationist who protected as well as promoted the mountain, I came to appreciate the arrangement. It's difficult to express in words what Grandfather Mountain is like -- here are the three words that first came to mind: thrilling, inspiring, and magical. I know that sounds a bit cheesy and I'm sorry to sound like a billboard for the place, but if you love nature and Appalachia, you'll love Grandfather Mountain.

Directions: See their website. It's 2 miles outside of Linville on Highway 221 (going towards Blowing Rock, NC). It's right next to MacRae Meadows (see yesterday's post!).

1 comment:

  1. Bring some money this place is no longer cheap. Worth the drive.Go only during good clear weather.


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