AVERY COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Exploring nature in North Carolina often includes a visit to the mountains.
Landis Taylor, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, says Grandfather’s 11 hiking trails have been a big draw to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen a big growth in attendance numbers and also in the number of folks that are hitting our trails. From 2019 to this year, our hiking numbers are up 27%,” Taylor said. “Grandfather Mountain is a great place to enjoy nature. it’s a very rugged mountain but it’s also very accessible so you can kind of pick your adventure.”
This time of year, hikers can experience breathtaking views of leaves changing colors.
“Because of Grandfather’s heights, we offer a great vantage point to see the fall color actually go into the piedmont below. So, you’ll be up at the top near the swinging bridge, even though there’s not color around you right then you’re looking at color kind of expanding down into the valleys, which is a pretty cool phenomenon to see.,” Taylor said.
The trails range in difficulty– from family-friendly walks in the woods, to using ladders and cables to scale steep ridges.
Whatever your comfort level is, Taylor says it’s important to plan ahead. Think about the trail that’s best for you, know the weather and bring extra water, snacks and extra layers of clothing.
A rain jacket and sturdy hiking boots are also recommended. The mountain’s Natural Resource staff has prepared too.
They have repainted blazes, added new sets of rock steps to difficult terrain and worked to manage the surface of the trails.
To plan your trip to Grandfather Mountain, visit www.grandfather.com.