Grandfather Mountain, located in Linville, North Carolina, is one of the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Grandfather Mountain State Park is home to a mile-high swinging bridge, the highest in America.
Over Valentine’s Day weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to take a nice long drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were planning on trying to take the Parkway down through Virginia because it was a warm weekend. As you may or may not know, the Parkway can be closed up into the beginning of March due to “inclement weather.” Unfortunately, it was closed this weekend, so we decided to do the next best thing and ride smaller interstates and roads down alongside the parkway.
Every now and then, we would adventure into the country or a section of woods to see what views we could find and what animals we could see. My favorite places were the farms high up into the mountains. You would never know they were there.
At a certain point, we couldn’t be as leisurely, so we drove well after the sun set in order to get closer to our final destination: Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather Mountain stands at 5,946 feet tall making it the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s home to a mile-high swinging bridge. We spent the night in a hotel nearby and woke up bright and early, so we could spend the day at the park and take plenty of photos.
The park has a lot going on for general tourists including picnic areas, a fudge shop, and a miniature zoo complete with bears, cougars, otters, eagles, and deer. Unfortunately, the bears were hibernating and I have recurring nightmares about cougars, so we bypassed the park and continued up the giant drive that leads to the swinging bridge.
The mile-high swinging bridge was built in 1952 by Hugh Morton who owned the land back then. The bridge links two of the mountain’s peaks and is known as the “swinging” bridge due to how much it sways in high winds, making it a little frightening. The plus side is that the bridge is easily accessible to everybody (they have an elevator), and it’s pretty amazing to walk across.
The park also has a ton of trails of varying difficulties located nearby. Some of the trails lead back into the backcountry of the park which is open for camping and patrolled by state park rangers. Just remember that the park, and the parkway, may be closed at certain points during the fall, winter, and spring due to inclement weather.
We weren’t able to take advantages of any of the trails because it was icy up there, but the view from the bridge was pretty spectacular, and you can bet that it’ll be a million times better come summer. Either way, I was able to take more than enough photos! And i would definitely go again if it wasn’t a ten hour drive!