Grandfather Mountain State Park isn’t your typical walk in the park! Even the parks main attractions are extreme. The “singing bridge” boasts of being 1 mile above sea level and the short hike from the bridge to McCrae peak (the closest peak to the bridge) is the most strenuous and dangerous trail I’ve ever hiked, recommended only for experienced hikers and requiring ladders and ropes to ascend the tree-less, windswept cliffs!
Before knowing how strenuous the trails actually were, and upon discovering we could avoid a $18.00/person entrance fee if we hiked in on the back trails, we decided to take the 6 mile route to McCrae peak, All the trails were marked strenuous, but we figured we would be fine if we gave ourselves enough time.
The first four miles were as expected: climbing switchbacks counting off the 2000 feet we needed to climb. However, after reaching Calloway Peak, at 5,964ft, we began the treacherous hike across the Linville Range crossing a few smaller peaks to McCrae Peak. What an experience!
Even after reaching McCrae Peak, we had to make the decent to the parking lot at the Singing Bridge: one full mile of the most difficult trails in the entire park. Thankfully, we were just descending, but still, with water running low, energy depleting fast, and the afternoon waning away quickly, we focused on nothing else but reaching our final destination! It was a long hike, but it certainly was worth it!