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Profile Trail

Difficult
 4.6 (30)

A beautiful Grandfather Mountain trail that leads into the park from Hwy 105.


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Map Key

3.5

Miles

5.7

KM

Point to Point

5,641' 1,719 m

High

3,833' 1,168 m

Low

1,832' 558 m

Up

230' 70 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

85%

Max Grade (40°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Closes during inclement winter weather.

Description

The Profile Trail (marked with Orange blazes) begins at 4198 NC Highway 105 N, Banner Elk NC (GPS: 36.119767, -81.835001) and leads to Calloway Gap on The Grandfather Trail (Blue blazes).

You'll begin by working your way along the Watauga River under a thick forest. The first 1 mile is fairly easy on hardpacked dirt and wood steps and is frequented by less adventurous hikers. After about 1 mile the path gets more narrow and you transition to rock steps. Beginning around Foscoe View (approximately 2.2 miles) the climb becomes much more difficult (steep). At 3.2 miles you arrive at Shanty Spring, with your hike transitioning into a trail of tumble-down rock that joins the Grandfather Trail after a strenuous climb of 0.4 miles. You transition out of hardwoods and into Canadian firs. This upper section is very steep and rocky, and when wet it can be quite dangerous.

Around the 2.5 mile mark there are two established backcountry camping spots - at least one with food bag rigging.

Once you have reached the end of Profile Trail you are at a crossroads you can take Grandfather Trail two ways: left to Calloway Peak (0.4 miles), or right to MacRae Peak (approx. 1 mile), and ultimately the Swinging Bridge (2 miles).

Contacts

Shared By:

J.D. McNoldy with improvements by eric pulaski

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 30 votes

#82

Overall
  4.6 from 30 votes
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Trail Rankings

#82

Overall
150 Views Last Month
4,411 Since Jul 23, 2016
Difficult

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Photos

View from Foscoe View. Signage (not pictured) identifies the peaks in the distance.
Aug 13, 2018 near Foscoe, NC
Grandfather Mountain in the midst of the early spring foliage (or lack thereof) .
Mar 19, 2019 near Foscoe, NC

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Check-Ins

Nov 13, 2020
So Topper
Jun 17, 2020
Howard McGee
Feb 1, 2020
Anthony Figurelli
Profile Trail, Alpine Meadow, Hi-Balsam Shelter, Alpine Meadow, overnight, then out. Snowy conditions, especially towards top. Crampons very helpful.
Oct 11, 2019
Brian Hindman
Sep 27, 2019
Grace Erker
7mi — 6h 00m
Sep 12, 2019
Austin Bush
Aug 31, 2019
Mike Patel
Aug 16, 2019
Paul Catlin