Grandfather Mountain is a mountain, a non-profit attraction, and a North Carolina state park near Linville, North Carolina. At 5,946 feet (1,812 m), it is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the major chains of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by the south side of the mountain and also passes over the nearby Grandmother Gap. It is located at the meeting point of Avery, Caldwell (highest point), and Watauga (highest point) counties.
The attraction side of the mountain, which includes the Mile High Swinging Bridge, is accessed via Grandfather Mountain Entrance Road, which begins at 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646. Admittance fees are charged at the main gate, and are as follows: adults $20, seniors $18, children 4–12 $9, and children under 4 are free. Admittance specials take place several times yearly. Part or all of the attraction is sometimes closed due to frequently inclement weather in the late fall, winter, and spring.
Hiking and camping are free in the "backcountry" area now designated as a state park; the required permits are available at all trail heads. Those intending to enter or leave the park via the attraction must still pay admittance, however. In years previous when the whole mountain was privately owned, hikers and campers were required to pay fees. Park regulations are enforced by patrolling state park rangers. Fire is prohibited at many of the higher elevation campsites, due to high winds. The 11 trails on the mountain vary in difficulty, from strolls through the woods to some of the most rugged and intense hiking found in the Eastern U.S.