Monday, September 3, 2012

Grandfather Mountain MacRae Peak

One of the great challenging hikes at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is the trail to MacRae Peak (5,845 feet). MacRae Peak is one of 3 peaks on what is known as Grandfather Mountain. The hike to MacRae Peak at Grandfather Mountain is spectacular as it offers stunning views over the North Carolina high country. This is an out and back hike, but can be made into a loop if you want to also see the Mile High Swinging Bridge. For more pictures of this hike at Grandfather Mountain, make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: The entrance to Grandfather Mountain is located on US 221, two miles north of Linville, North Carolina, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. The street address for the entrance is: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646. The road to the summit is referred to as Grandfather Mountain Entrance Road, Linville, NC. Once inside Grandfather Mountain follow the road to the Grandfather Mountain trails parking area, there is a sign for the parking area just before you reach the Top Shop area at the end of the road. For a map of the location where Grandfather Mountain is click Here. For a map of trails at Grandfather Mountain click Here.

Description of Hike: This is a rugged hike up to one of the tall peaks at Grandfather Mountain. The trail to MacRae Peak is strenuous as it is rocky in portions and utilizes a series of ladders to scale a series of rock faces up to the summit of MacRae Peak at Grandfather Mountain. This hike is best done as a loop with the Mile High Swinging Bridge from the trails parking area. This hike with the loop has roughly 800 feet of elevation gain and is 2.6 miles roundtrip. If you want a shorter hike without going to the Mile High Swinging Bridge take the Grandfather Trail Extension from the Trail parking area and make a right when you intersect with the Grandfather Trail and follow all the way to MacRae Peak. This shortened version of the hike still gains roughly 800 feet of elevation and is approximately 1.8 miles roundtrip. Our hike to MacRae Peak via the Grandfather Trail, did not utilize the Underwood Trail, as the Grandfather Trail is a more direct route to MacRae Peak. The hike to MacRae Peak is a strenuous hike that offers amazing views at the summit. There is a fee per person to enter Grandfather Mountain, for current costs click Here.

Further Thoughts: This was a great hike. The trail is well maintained and the ladders attached to the rocks receive frequent maintenance, which is a good thing! While hiking to the peak, we saw several people out working on some of the ladders, which made us feel safe. MacRae Peak offers amazing views to those who reach its summit. It is also a very windy place, even on most clear days. Bottom-line when doing this hike, make sure you dress appropriately and to pay attention to the weather as it can change quickly. 

MacRae is climbable all year around. But in the winter you would need full on snow and ice gear at times. MacRae Peak is not as high as western mountains but conditions can get very rough. Summer can have bad thunderstorms and lightning strikes are a serious concern. It can get real windy up here too. Use common since when doing this hike. Despite the strenuous nature of this hike and potential weather concerns, this is a must do hike when visiting Grandfather Mountain for those that are looking for a challenging and rewarding hike.

The views on Grandfather Mountain are more than just another pretty picture. As you breathe the crisp air and scan the surrounding hills, you will feel far away from the cars of the world. Perhaps it's because Grandfather Mountain's peaks loom almost 6,000 feet above sea level, revealing unrivaled landscapes that calm any hikers spirit. A pristine haven for diverse wildlife and rugged topography, the mountain will expand your horizons and protect your peace of mind, too. This is a must do hike and we definitely recommend a visit to Grandfather Mountain.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 800 ft. (Strenuous), Distance: 2.6 Miles (Strenuous).

Time to Complete Hike: 2 - 2.5 hours.


MacRae Peak (This Post)

Mile High Swinging Bridge

View Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge and MacRae Peak in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a great hike! Love the feeling of calm that comes from pristine air.


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