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Grandfather Mountain :: Linville, North Carolina

May 5, 2010 by  
Category: Landmarks

If you ever need a dose of breathtaking nature, look no further than Grandfather Mountain, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This state park in Linville, N.C., boasts one amazing view for those who aren’t afraid of heights. Grandfather Mountain is famous for it’s Mile High Swinging Bridge, aptly named because it sways at 5,280 feet above sea level over an 80-foot wide gorge. It is America’s highest suspension foot bridge. When walking across the 228-foot Mile High Swinging Bridge, you are guaranteed to feel a thrill as you take each step. Being a suspension bridge, Mile High sways and moves with the wind and with each step you, or other guests visiting the park, take. The bridge leads you to Linville Peak, where you can view 360-degree views of this alpine wonderland.

After feeling the rush of the Mile High Swinging Bridge, if you are ready to continue your trek, you have 11 different hiking trails to choose from in varying difficulty. In-park trails are low-intensity excursions through nature while the back-country hiking trails can be much more adventurous and really put you at one with nature in the alpine forest. While walking, you may encounter any number of creatures, from otters and eagles to bears and cougars. Among those wild creatures, 73 of them are on the endangered species list and are becoming harder to find in the wild. If you happen to miss out on the animals in the wild, check out the wildlife habitats Grandfather Mountain has set up for six different species, including black bears and white-tailed deer. (Don’t worry the bears and deer aren’t in the same habitat!) The animals are given a large amount of space to roam, and unlike a zoo, they are already in their natural habitat so nothing needs to be set up or recreated for their comfort.

Grandfather Mountain is home to 16 different, separate ecosystems, some of which are usually only found in Canada’s mountainous regions. Exploring in such a vast array of natural climates is amazing for not just the myriad animals you could find, but also for the habitat itself. From rare azaleas to the sheer rocky bluffs, there is beauty with each step of a path.

After hiking around Grandfather Mountain and feeling the butterflies from crossing the Mile High Swinging Bridge, if you didn’t pack for a picnic, stop off at the restaurant where you can grab some southern fried chicken or take it to go to complete a day with a picnic at the park.

This is definitely one place where you don’t want to forget to bring your camera, because there are amazing shots everywhere you turn. Check before you go to see what amazing nature show will be going on when you are planning to visit. Grandfather Mountain boasts a monarch butterfly migration that is spectacular to watch, as well as the seasonal changing of the leaves in fall. Grandfather Mountain in Linville, N.C., is a memorable trip for anyone looking to get back in touch with nature.

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