Fodor's Expert Review Grandfather Mountain
Soaring to almost 6,000 feet, Grandfather Mountain is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 305. The state parks system owns 2,456 acres of Grandfather Mountain and has conservation easements for 4,000 acres, but another part is privately owned and managed. Admission is charged for the private section, which is famous for its Mile-High Swinging Bridge, a 228-foot-long foot bridge that sways over a 1,000-foot drop into the Linville Valley. Winds as high as 121 mph have been recorded at the bridge. The Natural History Museum has exhibits on native minerals, flora and fauna, and pioneer life. There are 12 miles of hiking trails and some 100 picnic tables.