Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain, By Helen Moss Davis

Grandfather Mountain • Located 20 minutes from The Inn, Grandfather Mountain‘s lofty heights offer guests opportunities for rejuvenation, excitement and family memories in a natural haven that will endure forever. Marvel at 360-degree views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge, stand eye-to-eye with native wildlife in natural habitats and interact with Grandfather Mountain’s friendly & knowledgeable staff.

Grandfather Mountain
Ancient Views, By Helen Moss Davis
The views are ancient. The experiences are all brand new. Anyone who visits Grandfather Mountain discovers a place that inspires awe through natural wonders. You’ll never experience the same mountain twice: today you might come face-to-face with an owl, another day you may see rare wildflowers in bloom. Just talk to one of our naturalists to understand more about these living treasures and learn where to find them. There’s nowhere else on Earth that you can enjoy such a variety of mountain life in one amazing place.

"Grandfather Mountain was recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve in November of 1992. In May of 2009 there were 553 biosphere reserves in 107 countries."

Grandfather Mountain
High above sea level, you’ve never felt so grounded. The views on Grandfather Mountain are more than another pretty picture. As you breathe the crisp air and scan the surrounding hills, you’ll feel far away from the cares of the world. Perhaps it’s because Grandfather Mountain’s peaks loom 4,000 feet above the nearby Piedmont, revealing unrivaled landscapes that calm your spirit. A pristine haven for diverse wildlife and rugged topography, the mountain will expand your horizons and protect your peace of mind, too.

"Watch a nature program on TV with the sound turned down and you will enjoy the beauty and drama, but turn the sound up and you’ll also be enlightened with lots of interesting details that bring extra meaning and interest to the images you see unfolding on the screen. So it is when you visit Grandfather Mountain in the company of one of our staff naturalists."

Grandfather Mountain
A small part of you is still 9 years old. And fascinated by butterflies. On Grandfather Mountain, you become part of a wonder-filled community that invites you to seek out salamanders, become king (or queen) of the boulder, or throw a Frisbee. Never before have you felt so eager to run and play, or had such a perfect place for it. With rocky outcroppings and fragile forest hideaways to explore, it’s easy to tap your inner adventurer. Come find an adventure that’s just your size, at just your pace.

"Grandfather Mountain‘s Partnership with The Nature Conservancy began in 1990. Landowners donated a series of conservation easements to The Conservancy. The easements permanently protect 1,460 acres of Grandfather Mountain ridgeline known as "the backcountry." Combined with adjoining tracts, the approximately 4,000-acre Grandfather Mountain watershed is the largest single holding in the North Carolina system."

For More Information
Calendar of
Planning Your
Photo CreditsHugh Morton, Helen Moss Davis, Grandfather Mountain

The Board of Directors of Grandfather Mountain selected Marion, NC native Penn Dameron to be the first Executive Director of the non-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation effective August 1, 2009. Dameron came to Grandfather after five years as Executive Director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, an organization created in 2003 by the U.S. Congress to protect, preserve, interpret and develop the unique natural, historical and cultural resources of Western North Carolina

Buck Pond, By Hugh Morton
Hugh MacRae MortonHugh Morton was a photographer and nature conservationist who developed Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

Hugh Morton (February 19, 1921 – June 1, 2006) was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. He entered the University of North Carolina in 1940 and took photographs for the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Morton was a prolific photographer who took photographs of all aspects of life in North Carolina. His first published photograph came in 1935, when he was 14; a picture he took of a golfing scene was published as a North Carolina travel advertisement in Life Magazine.

Hugh Morton‘s great-grandfather, Donald MacRae, bought the development rights for the 16,000 acres, 65 square kilometers, around Grandfather Mountain in 1885 from William Lenoir. Morton inherited this property from Hugh MacRae, his grandfather, in 1952 and immediately set out on making the property more accessible to tourists. In his first year, he built a vehicle road to the top of the mountain and built the now famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. In 1968, Morton bought two black bears, one male and one female, to release back into the wild; however, the female bear, named Mildred, could not readapt to the wild and was required to be recaptured and given an enclosed habitat, which was finished in 1973. It now contains bears, deer, eagles, river otters, mountain lions, and other animals. After Hugh Morton died in 2006, his family sold the mountain and surrounding land to the state of North Carolina. It was turned into a state park, officially receiving that status in April 2009.

A View to Hugh
The Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs & Films

The Mast Farm Inn, Historic North Carolina Country Inn & Restaurant, Valle Crucis, NC