Linville, North Carolina

Hike the Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain

6.2 Miles Total - 2300 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Kelley Dodge

Escape the crowds at Grandfather Mountain. A challenging hike with great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains! 

If you're looking for a challenge and hoping to escape the crowds at Grandfather Mountain, this is the hike for you. 

Climbing up the back side of the mountain (opposite the famed mile-high swinging bridge) this trail is fee-free and easy-to-access with its own parking lot. 

The trail, marked with orange blazes, begins in a shaded forest along the Watauga River. You will begin your ascent just 1/4 mile in as switchbacks carve out the mountainside.

Continuously climbing, the trail offers little level ground to catch your breath. However, there are a number of overlooks that provide great views of Grandfather Mountain (as well as an excuse to stop for water). 

At about 2 miles the trail passes the Profile Campsite (permit required) and wide, stone stairs begin. Further up the trail you'll pass a spring and then begins a VERY steep, rocky, root-filled ascent. Though only about .4 miles, this is the most challenging part of the trail. Hiking poles are strongly recommended as it is easy to slip or lose footing.

At Calloway Gap the Profile Trail meets the Grandfather Trail. Turn left and hike the Grandfather Trail for about .4 miles to Calloway Peak. The final ascent to Calloway Peak requires climbing a few wooden ladders (most only have 3-4 rungs).

Calloway Peak is the tallest of four summits in the Grandfather Mountain area, so you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are large, flat rocks at the summit to enjoy some snacks before heading back down. 

Read More


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great Hike

Tough little hike. Great views. Disappointing to see houses coming up the side of Grandfather mountain. Great views at the top.


This hike had been on my N.C. hiking bucket list for a while and I couldn’t have picked a better day to do it. There was time ice, snow on the peak and absolutely no one at the bridge bc they had it closed due to weather - all in March of last year. So we had the entire place to ourselves. The wind can be pretty brutal, so layers are essential. I’m not sure I would call the trail “dog friendly” because of the numerous ladders. My dog weighs 65lbs and there’s no way I’d be hauling him up there. With stops for snack and lunch at the swinging bridge, we finished the hike in a little over 5 hours.

Winter Wonderland

I did this hike about a week after a decent snow in Boone. Made it a beautiful winter wonderland! I think I had about the prefect week - everything was still covered in snow - not yet slush and ice. Coming back down it started to get a little more slushy. The view at the top is beautiful to see all the layers of mountains! On a clear, dry day, I'm told you can see the Charlotte sky line from Calloway Peak. It's a great way to hike the area while the Blue Ridge Parkway was still closed for snow maintenance. I was taking my time enjoying the snow on my way up and about 3.5 hrs up, about 5 hrs round trip.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Blue Ridge Parkway

Julian Price Campground

Overview Located along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in the lush green expanses of North Carolina, the Julian Price Campground is a top destination for boating, hiking, fishing and more. Whether it...

Newland, North Carolina

Linville Falls Campground

Overview Located in a dense pine canopy, within hiking distance of Linville Gorge and along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls Campground is an ideal location for your next family campin...

Boone, North Carolina

Boone KOA

Hampton, Tennessee

Dennis Cove Campground

Overview Dennis Cove Campground will close for the season on Monday, October 14, 2019. Dennis Cove Campground is a secluded campground along Laurel Fork Creek at an elevation of 2,650 feet in Cart...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike Grandfather Mountain SP Profile Trail

    The Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park can be comparable as the "Grand Canyon of the East". The trail is a rough 3.10 mile hike straight up taking an ascent of 1,775 feet. Each mile takes an avid hiker about an hour to complete. Here...

    3.1 miles 1775 ft gain

  • Hike Rough Ridge

    The trailhead for Rough Ridge will be on your righthand side when driving the Blue Ridge Parkway from Boone, NC. This trail gets busy in the warmer months, but parking usually is not too much of an issue. This trail is not open in the winter.Rough...

  • Hike to Rough Ridge on the Tanawha Trail from Beacon Heights

    If you're feeling frisky, set your alarm for the early am and park at the Beacon Heights Parking area about 30 minutes before dawn. Put on your head lamp and hike the short trip to Beacon Heights, bask in the glory of the warm morning sun, then he...

    8.2 miles

  • Explore Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Beacon Heights is the perfect hike when you're on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Linville and Grandfather Mountain, Milepost 305.2. The trail is a steady climb uphill for less than a half mile. The last section being fairly steep and rocky. Once at...

    0.5 miles 200 ft gain