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Hiking Grandfather Trail to McCrae Peak with The Hiking Hippie

This past weekend was full of adventure. From waking up at 4 a.m. to see the sunrise, to hiking Grandfather Trail on Grandfather Mountain. We had an amazing time, but we do want to give you some insight about the hike before you may decide that you want to try it out based on the pictures you see posted in groups around social media (this may or may not be the way that we found out about this hike).

First, if you are afraid of heights, we DO NOT recommend this hike. The mountain is 5,946 feet high and it is the highest eastern point of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Now, we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t visit the mountain, we are just saying that you shouldn’t hike this trail. The mountain offers many beautiful views along with picnic tables, animal habitats and more! The  mountain itself is child friendly. 

Second, if you have children or pets with you when you visit, we also DO NOT recommend this hike. There are cables that you have to use to get up certain points of the mountain and there are also ladders that you have to use. We were nervous at certain points of the hike ourselves so we definitely do not think that children need to go on this hike. 

Lastly, if you do not have footwear with good griping, we DO NOT recommend this hike. This hike is strenuous. It requires footwear that is sturdy. There are sections of the trail that are wet and there are sections of the trail that are VERY close to the edge of the mountain. You do not want to risk your life by hiking a trail that you are not suited for. We strongly recommend hiking boots for this trail.

Now, if you can bypass the list above knowing that none of that applies to you, maybe you should go check this trail out for yourself!

The beginning of the trail is steep. You walk through rocks and continue your way upward for a while before leveling. Throughout the first part of the hike, it is fairly easy. It is a typical rocky terrain with upward and downward slopes until you reach the first cable located on the trail. This cable is used to help you get up the mountain. We found the look of this to be more challenging than the actual act of getting up the mountain. You can see how steep it is and the cable in the picture below. 

Once you get past this, there is a ladder shortly after that you have to use to climb up the mountain. The first two ladders are not so bad, but the next three ladders can make this hike a little terrifying if you aren’t prepared for it. We have a picture of one of those two ladders  below. 

We also do want to let you know that there is a tighter space between this ladder and the next because you are between a split in the mountain. We had space to get between the rocks, but our packs were rubbing the rock at certain points. You can see the space I am referencing in the image below.  It doesn’t take long before you are then on the next ladder which is pretty easy to hike up like the one pictured above.

After you get past these ladders, the hike is much like it was at the beginning, more upward and downward hiking and going around rocks. It isn’t until you reach 3 staggered ladders that the hike can get a little intense (it was for us anyways). We only have a picture of the second ladder which is pictured below. 

We were standing next to the third ladder when this picture was taken. This ladder is on the side of the mountain. If you look over to your left, all you see is the trees around you. We found that to be a little scary but some might find that adrenaline rush exciting!

Once we made it up the ladders, that’s when we really saw the beautiful views. The colorful trees just immerse you as you are on top of the highest peak on the Blue Ridge (as stated in the first paragraph). Below is one of the pictures we took while on top of the mountain. 

We fell in love with the views but we also do want to inform you that while you are hiking up to this point, you are still very close to the edge of the mountain so please be careful and cautious when hiking this part of the trail. 

The next point that you will run into on this hike is McCrae Peak. This is a HUGE peak that you can climb a ladder to stand on top of. 

After this, we turned around and headed back to the entrance.

Overall, it was unlike any hike we have done so far! We were scared at different points of the hike, but it was definitely a fun and thrilling hike. We highly recommend this hike to those who feel comfortable with everything listed above and are looking for a hike that is unlike any other.

Happy Hiking!

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